Featured

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’ve been 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

Featured

Perk for Non-Indian Wives

 

PIO-OCI

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

A Tree without its Leaves

FeaturedA Tree without its Leaves

 

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 off 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…still in a state of processing her statement in my head.. I remembered even giggling a bit and sort of figuring out if we had 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. 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, one day at a time.

 

google for the image

 

 

Weather vs Provision

FeaturedWeather vs Provision

 

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 the sake of 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 and comforting; like ATM (at the moment) – visualizing a huge bowl of pomegranate-flavored ice cream!!

Happy Blogiversary, ExpatPinay!

FeaturedHappy Blogiversary, ExpatPinay!

2016-02-28-17.44.29.jpg.jpeg

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
Featured

Expat-Pinay is on No. 33!

top100blogs

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 🙂

Featured

The Book Shelter

20160223_151703

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 :).

20160223_214008

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.

20160223_153226

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’!