Tuesday, May 7, 2019

MidEast to MidWest

Half year down into our new life in the Midwest, I think this site needs a much deserve update.

I've started this blog to jot down joyous events, both trivial and grand. This serves as a journal to look back on when I'm feeling nostalgic and when I'm just feeling lonely. This makes me realize how blessed I am after all. So, I've consciously just post the happier episodes and occasions in the past which I've lost track to see the past year. Notice when my last post was? That was how bad my mood and mind was that I failed to see how lucky I still am.

Last year, we finally received the news that we can be scheduled for immigration interview.  However, it will be in Saudi Arabia and we were already living in the Philippines. It took us a few more months again to transfer our documents and reschedule our interview to a more convenient Embassy for us. We've waited for this for so long that we didn't expect it to even happen. More of, our bank account wasn't really ready for this to even happen. We needed medical exams and updated documents (passports, licences, immigration fees, etc) which cost quite a lot. After interview, we will  also be needing airfare tickets. With more speed bumps and financial pressure coming our way, we almost lost hope that we can make our American dream happen. But we were surrounded with people who were willing to give us a hand (a hand full of money) and we made it through. Thank God.

We finally migrated to the Midwest -- North East Central to be exact. We moved here with 2 luggages of hand me downs each and nothing in our pockets. Hubby and I didn't know how to start. But I've always believed in Divine intervention and HE did make it happen. Fortunately we have relatives, whom we have never met, who fed and took us in while we don't have a home yet. They even gave us clothes to survive winter, which is I realized by now that is pretty much all year round here. We were then again surrounded by strangers who just wanted to literally throw stuff, the exact stuff we needed when we finally found a home. Then basic necessities just kept on pouring in via Walmart Pick up from other relatives. See how magical God works?!

My small family of three experienced nothing to more than enough. I am thankful for that everyday and I will pay it forward somehow. I pray too that our life here will always be safe and comfortable as we have always strive and hope to be. 

"Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually falling into place."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Welcome Aboard My Best Day Ever

This post is dedicated to all the people who made "it"all happen and this is long overdue.

As a way to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we decided to have another wedding -- in the church this time. We've been postponing this because of disagreements in wedding details such as color, theme and venue, and my unworkable budget. I like too many things but I didn't like to spend. However, 10 years is too long to evaluate and decide when, where and how to do our church wedding. It is about time that we do this right, specially now that our little one can finally be part of the entourage. Our church only allows children 5 years old and above to participate in the wedding's entourage. 

When the idea of a yacht cruise party is feasible even with my unworkable budget, both of us got excited. Finally, something we both liked. Besides, it is somewhat a getaway vacation with all our family without breaking the bank. We worked around that idea of yacht party to finalize other details. The church where Sweetie wanted to be married even before he met me was near the bay, the color I imagined was suitable to the sunset, there's a newly opened restaurant that coordinated and harmonized the entire event. Resources was tight but our family got our back and we finally made it happen. We even had fireworks to cap off the event, thanks to a nearby mall. As Paulo Coelho put it, "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it".

    We opted for the small chapel inside the Basilica since I wanted our wedding to be an intimate affair. The staff of Manila Cathedral takes wedding ceremony very seriously and would require you with a lot of documents and with a definite deadline. But they never fail to gently remind you of these things and we really appreciate that.  Php 10,000

Reception Venue: M/Y Shanti of Realship Yachts
    Like the staff of Manila Cathedral, people from Realship Yachts are easy to deal with. They were very accommodating and you just feel comfortable having them in your wedding planning. Their suggestions were very helpful in making this celebration special. All our guests loved the laid back and unique wedding reception experience.   Php 28,000

Catering/ Food: Orange, Harbor Square
    If we had push through with our original date, we wouldn't have had our meal here. They recently opened and the place was just a  2minute walk from where our yacht docks. The restaurant is facing the bay so we enjoyed the view of the bay while dining (minus the seasickness if ever we had our meal in the yacht).     Php 10,000++ consumable for food and drinks in their private function room
view from Orange, Harbor Square

    We also had cakes and coffee from Starbucks which we brought to the yacht. This was a good idea since most of the guests are coffee drinkers.    Php 2,800 ++ for 2 traveler kits and 8 cheesecake slices
Somewhere there is the Starbucks Coffee traveler and cheesecake slices that serve as our wedding cake :)

Photography: Family and friends
    We cancelled our original photographer and videographer because of frequent changes of our wedding. I couldn't let them hang on without definite plan from me. Totally my fault. Like our other suppliers, they are very accommodating and easy to talk to. Very reasonably priced too. I'll definitely get them again (if they would allow), when I get married again (to the same person, of course.)

Attire: Ready to Wear (Marks & Spencer for the Suit, Promod for gowns)  Php 10,000++  for complete suit, gowns for 6 and 5 barongs

Transportation: Our very reliable Pearly Snow White

Hair and make-up: DYHS Salon and Nail Bar

Accessories: DIY (bible, arrhae, ring holder, flowers and veils) Php 1,000++

Souvenir: DIY snacks, bought/ DIY foldable fans (not in picture) Php 1,000++
Invitation/Decor: DIY    almost free

Cost of the entire wedding: priceless :)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Celebrating Us

We've been together for over a decade and it's time that we make this official in the eyes of God and our family.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Edible Garden: Upo or Bottle Gourd

Just a quick update of my edible garden... This is the bottle gourd or white squash that I grew in my tiny edible garden from kitchen scraps. This vegetable usually grows long but mine just went rounder and rounder. I guess I need more space and should have let the vegetable hang so it will grow longer. I let this vegetable sit on the ground 'coz I was afraid it will fall off and hit someone. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Edible Garden Update

After several months of watering and weeding (when I feel like it), my bottle gourd vine finally bore fruit, I mean, vegetable.

I planted the seed from kitchen scraps a few months ago. The vine grew so long that it has reached the second floor balcony of our house. This is the first time that I planted something that actually bore fruit. Everything else were not fruit bearing like the lettuce I grew in water and this kangkong I grew on soil.
Kangkong plant I planted months ago. I already "harvested" and put them in several dishes I cooked.

Now, I realized that I have a green thumb after all. If I'll be blessed with a bigger garden, I'll grow more vegetables and fruit bearing trees from kitchen scraps. My garden will be so amazing with all the greens and colors of these edible plants. 
I hope that other people will be inspired too to use their kitchen scraps and plant them. Even a small soiled space will do. These will be good for our environment and for our pockets too. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Outstanding Little One

Our little one used to be so naughty that we have to make her face the wall or stand stand outside the room to think about what she has done wrong and how she can mend her ways. Now, she has earned a different kind of "outstanding" that make us so proud that no words can describe. This is not just our little one's achievement but an accomplishment of our family as a whole. (Yes, I'm also taking credit for this one 'coz I've been such a hovering mother . The next ones will be hers alone 'coz I plan to let her be more independent and take control of  everything she does.)
Thank you, Sweetheart for always doing your best and not letting us down. We are so proud of you!
Congrats, Sweetie. We are doing good at this parenting job. 😉

Friday, October 21, 2016

Praying the Rosary

October being the month of the rosary, it is only fitting that our little one can learn how to pray the rosary. It all started with her learning how to read. Since she has read (&memorized) most of her children's books, I introduced to her the little book of prayers. The words in the prayer book will surely increase her vocabulary and, as what I've recently told her, each prayer she says will add to the step of the stairs going to heaven. She was so hooked reading and praying all the common prayers that we decided to teach her how to pray the rosary. I had never prayed the rosary with her before because I thought she's not ready for the long and repetitious prayer. She would not last the entire rosary without being her usual self --moving and talking incessantly. Surprisingly, we were able to finish it. She was so excited and enthusiastic leading and answering the prayers as she held on to the beads of the rosary. The timing was just really perfect that I introduced the rosary to her when she was most interested. She has even listed the intentions she would like to pray for when we pray the rosary. I think we will be praying the rosary everyday with her.

Thank you, Lord and Mama Mary for this wonderful daughter you have given us. She continuous to surprise us for all the right reasons. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Keeping Promises at All Cost

We had to bring our daughter to the emergency room a few days ago because she looked really sick after bouts of vomitting and loose bowel movement. She thought that it will be just a quick doctor's visit. She even complained why the doctor is taking so long coz she is already late for school. She was very cooperative, not even a single tear when the nurse was inserting IV line for rehydration, because she wanted the hospital visit as quick as possible. She really didn't like to miss school. I'm amazed at her dedication to study and how much she value education. Then I remembered her dad promised her to give her anything, like a Disneyland trip, if she gets high grades. She knew that getting high grades in school means completing all school works and not being absent.
I guess, more than studying, our daughter really likes to go visit her favorite princesses that she would even go to school sick just to keep her deal with her dad to go to Disneyland. Her commitment to keep promises and perseverance to get what she wants is just too much to expect from her very young age. I'm truly amazed. I'm not sure if her character has to do with our parenting but I'm just so proud of what she is becoming as she grows older.

 Thank you Lord for this wonderful daughter. Keep her safe and healthy at all times. May God bless her always.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Of Bestfriends and Heartbreaks

Our daughter has always been excited to go to school. She's excited to learn, play and most specially, to see her classmates. She's most fond of of her seatmate, Orange. Most of her after school stories are about her, what they did, what they talked about, why she's late or absent, how they look a like and how her other classmates are confused with them because they look like twins. Our daughter would also tell us that they argue at times but she would always say nice things about her because she is her best friend. All her classmates are naughty except, of course, her and Orange. It is so cute that our daughter found her first best friend after just 2 days of knowing her. My daughter is happy to have a best friend. She even gave her a special friendship bracelet the other day to remember her by --- not that she's going away anywhere.

Things have (quickly) changed though.  "Mom, my other classmate gave Orange rubber band and she said I'm not her best friend anymore.", our little one said.  I felt the sadness in my daughter's voice. My heart sank. It feels like this is her first heartbreak. Just the other day she was thinking of what to give Orange for her birthday then a day after she's not her friend anymore. They didn't even had a fight. Orange just decided that she's not my daughter's best friend anymore. She tried to be strong as if she's not really affected by it and rarely talked about Orange anymore. I told her that maybe Orange will change her mind and they'll be best friends again or maybe she will find another one. I'm still feeling heart broken while saying those. She said she's just upset but she'll be fine. She even convinced me that she has other friends anyway, like Selena. I thought she wouldn't want to go to school anymore because of it. She still wanted to. (Thank God!)

Our daughter is really matured for her age. She can gracefully accept rejection and move on easily. I hope she keeps that attitude until she's a grown up -- where there'll be more heartbreaks and rejection.

Sweetheart, always remember this... all your other best friends will come and go as they like (and I can't protect you from heart breaks such as this) but I promise you, mommy and daddy will be your bestest best friend forever and ever and nothing can ever change that. We love you so much.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

First Month in Big School

Nothing excites me more now than seeing my child's "stars" and "excellent" when she comes home from school. What a relief it is to know that our little girl is adjusting well and doing good in her first taste of big school.
I can still remember when we went to take her entrance exam. We were so nervous that our little girl will not talk or answer the test questions. I have no idea if she will respond positively with other people teaching or testing her abilities. She was previously homeschooled. She passed with flying colors but I'm still worried that she will not be able to do well with new teachers and other children.
After 3 weeks of waking up very early and traveling 3-4 hours a day just to get to school on time, my little preschooler seem to enjoy and nothing is going to stop her from going to her big school. She is always excited to see her classmates and participate in class. Results of her homeworks and seatworks also show that she's learning (more songs and nursery rhymes), improving (her hand writing) and doing really well.
I hope she'll always be like this in her academic years -- eager to learn and actively partipating. I also hope too that we can keep up and support all her schooling needs -- bringing her to and fro, providing supplies and answe
ring her endless questions.

Thank you Lord for your graciousness.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Emergency Preparedness

There was a metro wide emergency earthquake drill this morning jist in case a big earthquake strikes. Most schools,  including where my child studies, government and private offices, and transport services participated in this #MMShakedrill.  People were asked to duck, cover and hold then asked to leave their buildings to safety. I'm glad that this has become a nationwide (many provinces also participated) practice as you really never know when a disaster comes. More people are now aware what to do and how to help others in cases of emergency. Even little kids are now taught what to do when emergency strikes. At least I'm more at ease now that my child knows what to do even when I'm not around.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

First Day High

I'm back again at my old school. Our little one is officially a student here and I'll be here outside waiting for her to finish classes. Two days ago was her first day in school. Thank God,  there were no first day of classes drama. I think she was excited to meet new friends and ignored us the moment she stepped inside her classroom. Though we still assured her that we'll be waiting outside. I think it was us, the parents, who are having separation anxiety.
I hope she enjoys learning and her new school. I hope she'll have new friends and have memorable experience. And I hope we learn to just let go and not to worry about her because she's not our little baby anymore. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Shipping Our Stuff Home

 This is the 5th and last balikbayan box we sent from abroad. Thanks to Makati Express, all our prized (more of sentimental) possession were shipped safely to our home.
We sent them a few weeks before we travelled back home. As expected in sea freight shipment, they came 6 weeks after they were picked up from our home in the Kingdom.  I don't have pictures of the other boxes, but all of them looked like this. The boxes contained our clothes, small appliances, exercise machine and tons and tons and tons of toys. Maybe 3 out of 5 boxes had our little one's indispensable toys. All of them came complete and in perfect condition. From all the horror stories of OFW sending balikbayan boxes to Philippines, I didn't expect it will be possible to really bring all our stuff back home.
Now, I won't miss our life back in the Kingdom. Having all the things we have there will remind us how lucky and blessed we are that we were given an opportunity to make a life and start our family there... and I'm forever grateful for that.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Starting My Edible Garden

I have always dreamed of having  my own self-sufficient farm where I can generate my own energy and grow my own food, but I do not have the land, the turbines and solar panels, and farming skills yet. This dream will have to start with just a small veggie garden on a tiny pot in our house. (Well, I need to start somewhere.)

Fortunately, my husband's aunt brought home some Chinese Kangkong seeds a few weeks ago. I think she got the seeds from her boss who has his own vegetable garden. The seeds look like these after I removed them from the dried kangkong buds.

I directly planted some of the seeds in moist soil and some I placed in water to help the seeds germinate faster.
Day 1
Day 1
There's very little change on the second day, but on the third day, you can see that the seeds that I placed in water have bigger sprouts than the ones I put on the soil. I guess, Chinese Kangkong really loves water.
Day 2
Day 3
Day 3
Day 4
Day 4 (I already planted here the seeds that sprouted in the water)
Day 6
On the sixth day, the Kangkong plant is already showing some leaves which I'll probably re-plant on a bigger pot.Then, hopefully we can harvest soon. Yay! (I love Kangkong!) 

I can see that there's a great possibility that I can really make this edible garden work.  This gives me hope that I can grow other plants like peppers, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables that I can serve on our table. And probably with luck and hard work, my self sufficient farm will come true soon. (Fingers crossed)

Day 10

Sunday, May 22, 2016


We have been busy re-starting our life here in the Philippines -- renovating the house, buying a new car, finding a new job and enrolling our little one to school. This also means we have to apply and renew personal documents and identification through government offices, that has been notorious for it's inefficiency. Surprisingly, everything we needed was done quickly and smoothly. Good job Pinas!
First stop was my student driver permit. I had to get one only now since I wasn't able to get a real drivers license before', because it will take me forever or a "token" to hasten the process of getting a driver's license. I tried my luck of getting my student permit in Lingayen, where we had a short vacation.  The LTO Lingayen District Office accommodated my application even if it was almost 4:00 pm already. I finished everything before the office closed, without "tokens" or charming my way. Just because of that, I regained my belief in the system of Philippine government offices.

How to get student driver's permit:
1. Must be 17 years old; physically and mentally fit to operate motor vehicle; can read and write in English, Filipino or applicable local dialect
2. Submit  requirements (duly accomplished Application for Driver's License (ADL) form, original and photocopy of NSO birth certificate, and medical certificate from licensed physician stating that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to operate motor vehicle) to the receiving LTO personnel  to evaluate documents
3. Once approved, applicant will be called for capturing photo and signature.
4. Pay fees at the cashier when called.
5. Claim student permit card with receipt at the appropriate window. 
*Within 30 days after issuance of SP to one year, the SP holder may apply for non-professional or professional driver's license

DFA NCR East proved me right too. We had to renew the little one's passport and scheduled our appointment via online here. I was expecting that there will be some delays or long queue, but there wasn't. It only took us about 30mins to finish everything from assessment, encoding, taking photo and paying.  The office was very accessible too, as it was inside a mall, very clean and has perfectly working AC.

How to renew passport for minors
1. Set appointment in the nearest or most convenient DFA office for applicant
2. Arrive on time and present your confirmed/ printed application form at the information counter to get a queue number
3. Submit requirements to the Processing Area when number is called (confirmed appointment, printed application form from DFA appointment system, original and photocopy of NSO birth certificate, most recent or expiring passport,  photocopy of the data page (page2), valid IDs, original and photocopy of  NSO marriage certificate, original and photocopy of  passport of mother (see other requirements here)
3. Pay fees at the passport Processing Area
4. Go to Encoding area for photo and signature capturing. 
5. Choose how you would like to claim your passport ( pick up at the DFA office or delivered via courier)

Hubby and I also got our police and NBI clearances. Processing them was also a breeze. If Philippines had always been like this (and there's no traffic), we could have returned home long ago. LOL.

*Sign up and log in at NBI Clearance to apply and pay fees for your NBI clearance. You will still need to go to NBI office for photo capturing and claiming your clearance.
*Go to your nearest Police Station to get your police clearance. Bring Community tax certificate and Baranggay clearance, where you can both get from your local Baranggay Hall.

Anyway, I'm just glad that we are back and everything, so far, is making this transition very easy. Hoping that everything will go better and better as we live our life here again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Always our Home

Last month, we left our home for the past 4 years. We are a bit sad that we are not going to see anymore the place where our little girl grew up --- made her first step, said her first word, bumped her head for the first time, learned to read and write, and so on. We are thankful for this place because it has brought us together as a family. We have learned that having each other is enough to have a happy life. We have also learned to appreciate and make the most of what we have.
We also made good friends there that we didn't expect. They are people who would go out of their way just to make sure that we are safe whether at home or on the road. They are the people who we thought didn't care, but are the first ones to miss us even if we haven't left yet. We are going to miss all of you too.
We will always be thankful for the opportunity to have worked and lived, started our family and experienced memories that have changed us there. Wherever we go from here, this Kingdom will always be our home.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

My Sky Bridge Experience

This is my second time to go up the Sky Bridge here in the Kingdom. The first time was several years ago when the entrance fee was half the price of what it is now. (That was a very quick price increase!) The Sky Bridge is one of the must see places here in the Kingdom. It stands at 300 meters, 65 meters in length and overlooks the entire city of Riyadh.

 The most special about this second trip is that I get to experience it with my family

 and this romantic surprise...
Marry me again
view from the 99th floor

I knew about the ring since we've been planning a fancy ceremony to celebrate our anniversary this year. I just didn't anticipate that he would actually get down on one knee in front of strangers, strangers who don't usually see proposals like this as they have different proposal and marriage practices. He was so nervous that he wasn't able to say his speech. It doesn't matter. I'll always say Yes to him anyway. I wanted to cry but I was laughing the entire time. I was just so happy that someone will do such a romantic thing for me. I truly chose the right man.
 I love you, Sweetie.

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