Expat-Pinay was Nominated!

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

glasses of water

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

Friendship of ‘Three’

Friendship of ‘Three’

 

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 were 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 for the whole family, as most of their loved ones are back home in the Philippines. However, it is also equally important for them to celebrate it in here since being in this country that long, they had already built a close-knitted ’empire’ of good friends that had become a part of their family. So in order to make this special occasion truly unforgettable, the couple had decided to bring some of their closest family members to UAE to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime celebration. Their presence had 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 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, my 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 during 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 while battling all the 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 some of the tough men I know 🙂 ), 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.

2016-01-25 01.59.23

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.

 

 

Countdown to Transition

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.

better-future-ahead

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!

 

 

The Expat Syndrome – 5 Ways to Cope Up

homesick1

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

Simplified Living

download

I am not really a bookworm or someone who couldn’t sleep without first reading a book. I would say that I am more of a ‘seasonal reader’, although I wouldn’t mind spending extra hour a day in reading, in case I come across of something worth the time. Recently, a good friend AA had recommended a book entitled Simplify by Bill Hybels. The tagline itself which reads,”10 Practices to Unclutter your Soul” was already a statement to reckon with. Is there any single soul that you know of who doesn’t need uncluttering? Knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, we feed our souls with unworthy and nonsensical ideas that left them unhealthy, chaotic, and congested.  Whether we admit it or not, our soul needs ‘healing’. One may ask, how would this book be different from the others who have already written on the same subject? Honestly, my first impression was to laugh and it made me!.. It is not because the contents were funny or unpredictable, but as if the author was directly speaking to me! And I laughed, without being disrespectful, because the realization was so true and reflective to what and where I am right now. It’s a ‘wow, how did he know that?’ kinda laugh 🙂 . You know, when someone faced you with the truth, you couldn’t help but sometimes just laughed at the reality then later, nod in agreement. Believe me when I tell you that this book is very personal and truthful and will definitely make you pause and contemplate. Some of his suggestions are doable through simplified living, however some do require perseverance and conviction. It’s still a long read for me before I reach till the end, but so far, it started hitting me to the core 🙂 .

Quoting some lines from one of the chapters, Bill Hybels wrote, “Simplified living requires more than just organizing your closets or cleaning out your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul.  By examining core issues that lure you into frenetic living, and by eradicating the barriers that leave you exhausted and overwhelmed, you can stop doing the stuff that doesn’t matter and build your life on the stuff that does”.

Note to self: Change is possible.

Other books by the author:

Bill Hybels is also the bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Axiom, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, Courageous Leadership, and classics such as Too Busy Not to Pray and Who You Are When No One’s Looking. Most of his books are available in Amazon.com