August 31, 2008

Temporarily on Hold

Just a few more questions to be answered and we're ready to make our big decision.

It has been a really confusing week. Lots of thinking, discussions, and research.

I've read a lot of blogs from expats and migrants alike. I've checked houses for rent, second-hand cars for sale (even Harley parts...hehehe kidding), schools for toddlers, etc.

I've stayed late 2 nights in a row just reading everything I can about New Zealand.

I even asked EJ: "Do you like to go to New Zealand?" And guess what his answer is?

Find out on my next post...

LOL.

August 30, 2008

Life is What You Make It



Our existence has been rocked by a new offer that came hubby's way. Instead of being happy, it made us rethink our priorities and goals in life as a family.

I'd like to thank the one up above for this continuous job offer hubby is getting. Just before coming back here from Manila, hubby got an offer to work in Vietnam. It was actually a fantastic offer complete with sickleaves and vacation leaves and 13th month pay with an additional bonus. We (emphasis on the "we" hehehe) declined it because the net take home pay is still lower compared to what he receives here in KL. The huge chunk of the salary will be eaten by the Philippine taxing system (because he will be under Philippine employment just deployed in Vietnam) at 32%. If only it was not taxable!

We moved on and thought nothing about it. Until this recent offer came.

Hubby has been offered a permanent job in a telecommunication company in New Zealand. First thought "Wow." But right now, what it has done is create havoc in our existence. Okay, that is an exaggeration. Seriously though, we couldn't make up our minds.

A mental pros and cons are running through my mind the whole day. But I just can't see which one is tipping up the scale. Hubby is not sure either. He is playing it cool by just watching the US Open. How can he concentrate? I surely can't.

What's really keeping us from accepting the offer is the salary. And that's an honest answer. By any measure the offer is already on the high end but modesty aside, it is just half of what hubby is getting here. So why are we making it difficult then? Because hubby's work here is not permanent. He is contracted to work for one year extendable depending on the need of the company. And he feels he is not needed after his contract expires on February of next year.

It is not like we're going to get broke once his job contract expires. There are still many options: go into business, live in the province and rent out our condo in Manila, go back into Manila workforce, etc. And I am sure there will be other opportunities that will come our way.

But should we grab this opportunity now? I know a lot of Filipinos want to migrate to NZ. They even pay heaps of money just so they can get in. But here we are, still undecided.

There are so many things to consider: happiness, money, well-being, EJ's future, family, friends, etc.

Oh how I wish to be a kid again!

PS. Comments and suggestions are highly appreciated.

Remembering Those Times

We've passed by a clinic this morning. On their glass window, I saw a picture which reminded me of myself about three years ago.

I guess I have mentioned this in my other blog that I had an acne breakout when I was still working in the Maldives. It lasted for more than a couple of months. It got me worried. I wasn't really acne prone when I was a teenager. But suddenly I had all the zits coming out of my face. It was a horrible time.

I tried natural remedies (e.g. cinnamon with lemon), I applied some over the counter creams and as a last resort I went to a doctor. But nothing worked. I was so desperate and inconsolable.

But like what I said in my other blog, the minute I stopped obsessing about it the acne started to go away. Maybe I was just allergic to something and I was finally immune from that allergy. Or maybe being madly inlove did have something to do about it.

Whatever did the trick, I was just plain happy.

August 28, 2008

Cappuccino to Go

I checked my watch, it read 8:25pm. Time to go. I looked at hubby, before I can say anything he nodded knowingly. I smiled. I grabbed my purse and a book and slowly headed for the door while praying it wouldn't make a loud noise when I open it.

I was out. I breathed a sigh of relief. EJ didn't notice I was out of the house. I can now start my "me" time.

Orginally I wanted to hit the gym. I have been a slacker for almost a month now. But I decided I didn't want to get sweaty tonight. I was craving for a quite and relaxing time. I just wanted to read a book and drink a cappuccino without any interruption.

With a giddy feeling and a book in one hand, I headed for Border bookstore on the first floor. My favorite Starbucks is inside. I love it there because the staff are very friendly. They love playing with EJ. When I am alone, they always ask me where my "boy" is. Aren't they sweet?

Before going to Starbucks, I checked some books first. "Ahhh"...I thought..."this is how it feels to be able to leisurely check the books, read the back covers without anybody tugging at my pants and saying mommy! mommy! every two seconds or dropping the book and running after a toddler carrying a book outside of the store." I almost forgot this feeling. It feels wonderful but....

I put the book down and went to Starbucks. I plopped myself in one of the couches in the corner. I flipped the book open and started to read. Just after two pages, I stopped. I couldn't concentrate. I was wondering what hubby and EJ were doing. Did EJ cry when he noticed I wasn't around?

Opps...this is my "me" time. I shouldn't be thinking about anything other than enjoying myself. I want this. I need this.

I opened the book again. But instead of words, I see EJ 's image in the book. He was having a good time with his daddy. They were playing with his Thomas and friends set.

That's it, I said. I need a cappuccino. I stood up and went to the counter. The guy behind it smiled and asked me, "where is your boy?" I answered, "at home, playing with his dad." I told you, they always ask me about my boy. When I was about to say my order, my eyes were diverted to the cakes and pastries they have on the side. I thought, EJ would squeal in delight if he sees me carrying a blueberry cheesecake. Before I can stop myself, I was ordering two grande cappuccinos and a blueberry cheesecake....to go.

I couldn't wait to go home. I wanted to be with hubby and EJ. I wanted to be part of their game. I know it all sounds cheesy but I that's how I felt.

"Two cappucinos and blueberry to go!" said another smiling staff. I picked up my order and flew out of there in a sec. When I was at the door outside of our apartment, I listened. I didn't hear anything. I inserted my key card, heard the familiar beep and pushed the door open.

EJ was holding the train, he looked up and shouted "mommy!" rushed to me and hugged me murmuring "hug, hug".

What was I thinking? What could be more important than this?

~~~

I turned my brain upside down the whole day and thinking how to incorporate "used cisco" in my post. Up to now, I still couldn't think of any. LOLz.

August 27, 2008

Surprise Appearance at my Paypal

It is not a secret that I write paid posts on my two blogs. It has been good so far. I have always been paid for what I write. There was only one glitch but it has been resolved now.

Three months ago, I came across Bloggerwave. I was excited to get two opportunities from them and immediately wrote and posted it here. After posting, I waited for almost a month to get approved. By then, I have read from other bloggers that Bloggerwave is a scam. But I really have no way of finding out. I was not mad, just disappointed. I thought, I really didn't lose anyway. I can take the posts down if I want to. But I didn't.

Almost two months after they approved my posts, I still haven't received my payment. I decided to write them, just to see if I get any response. That was three weeks ago and I haven't received any email from them.

But today I was surprised to receive an email from Paypal telling me I have just received a payment from Bloggerwave. I checked my Paypal right away and this is what I found:



They have paid me. Wow! I have forgotten about this already, well almost. So now, I am $20 richer, not much thanks to them.

Will I ever write for them again or recommend them? Definitely not. I don't want to wait that long to receive my payment. I'd stick to Payu2blog. I have been getting a steady and long list of assignments from them and they pay on time, sometimes even ahead of time.

August 26, 2008

Tumble Down T

I cannot wait anymore and I just have to blog about this.

EJ can now identify and recite the alphabet (minus letter T). He can also identify and recite numbers 1 -9!!!

He just turned 2yo two weeks ago. Isn't that amazing?

Sorry, I am just a very proud mother right now.

It may be early or it may not be, but hubby and I are very much excited about our baby's new milestone.

I guess reading really pays off. I would have to emphasize that I did not force him to learn. I did not even teach him, like a teacher should. I guess he got curious with letters and numbers because we always (every night) read to him. And he always enjoy our reading session.

It was just last week when I blogged that he can identify most of the letters. And now, only letter T stands in his way to reciting the complete alphabet. And he still call zero letter O. His little mind still cannot differentiate zero from letter O. But that's okay. I am sure he'll find out soon.

August 23, 2008

My 30th Birthday

A friend asked me how did I celebrate my 30th birthday. I said, we only had lunch and dinner outside. She said, "how genteel!" LOLz.

Nah, it is not like age is catching up on me. If I had my way, I would have celebrated and welcomed my 3oth birthday with a bang. Probably out dancing all night and drinking wine. But when you have a toddler and no babysitter around, you have to make comprises. After all, life is about that.

Hubby, EJ and I met up for lunch at Dome Cafe. Honestly, it didn't feel like a birthday lunch. Hahaha. We always meet up for lunch, almost everyday unless hubby is busy at work. I think he was busy yesterday but he made it to our lunch, which I very much appreciate.

Grace together with her little princess came over. She baked me a cake! I was so touched. Thank you so much, girl. It meant a lot to me. I hope I can return the favor. Just don't expect me to bake. I have no talent in that area. Hehehe.



Late afternoon, it rained. I thought, there goes the rest of my day. When hubby came home from work, he wanted to go out. I just wanted to eat in one of the restaurants inside Berjaya Times Square so we don't have to go outside and risk getting wet. But he was adamant. This prompted me to say "Who's birthday is it anyway?" Hehehe. Anyway, I gave in. I thought he had something up his sleeve. I was imagining, a Prada, Gucci, LV or even a Coach Bag waiting for me. But guess what?



He was just craving for a spicy chicken wings at Pizza Hut. The man! Hahahaha. And I thought I have a present waiting.

So we had my birthday dinner at the restaurant hubby has picked. Well, I couldn't complain. I love their pasta bolognese and was actually loving every bite of it. Yum!

In fairness, hubby told me to buy something for myself as a present. Men can really be clueless, no? But I declined. I actually didn't want anything. But a present is a different story. Hehehe.

Seriously though, I feel like I have everything that I want and more (except for a looong massage, my body is craving for it). Right now, I can honestly say that I am happy. I am in a place where I always want to be.

My sister texted me "Remember, kalabaw lang ang tumatanda (only carabaos get old). I don't feel old, thank you very much! =)

August 21, 2008

Starting All Over Again

If you've been to josiet.com, you'd know I have a project weight loss going on. I started it about a month ago and I have given myself six months to accomplish my target. I thought losing 30lbs or so is doable in a six-month frame. But now, I am not sure. It doesn't mean though that I am giving up. I just want to be realistic and forgive myself for my lapses. Aha!

Okay, okay...I did overeat when we were in Manila. I just couldn't help myself. I was craving for all the Filipino food I missed. We ate in Dampa, we ate in Kamayan/Dad's, we ate in Triple V's meryenda buffet. It was sinful. I'm thinking I should have used an appetite suppresant like Orovo to curb my appetite.

I am going to have a weigh in on August 24, a month after my weight loss project launch. Ngee. I know I am going to be disappointed.

I can start all over again, can't I?

B,C, A?

It means "alphabets" for our two-year old son.

I don't know if it's early for him to be able to identify and say some of the letters of the alphabet (only in capital letters though) but I am just proud of him. I must say I didn't force to teach him. He is very keen to learn and his memory is expanding by the minute (I wish my laptop memory is expanding too. LOLz).

If we are outside and he sees some distinct letters, he'd say B,C, A meaning to say "alphabets". And If I bring him closer, he'd identify those that are familiar to him.

He can say these letters and identify them when used in a word:

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, K, N, O, P, S, U

I don't know how he came to know letters like H, P and S. I don't remember teaching those to him. Hubby swears he didn't teach him as well. Well okay, maybe in passing. You know when I read the whole alphabet?

At home, he would demand for a pen and paper. And he'd say, "B,C,A Mommy, B,C,A". That's my clue to write the letters. At first I just started with three letters ABC and three numbers 123. But lately he wants more. I don't want to overwhelm him so I introduce only one new letter to him very other day. And he's doing quite well. As for number, I just stopped at number four.

With this new development, comes more new words he can utter. Everyday is interesting with a toddler. He can juggle three words now forming a broken sentence, like "plane fly sky" or "like swimming pool" or "mommy, wash hand".

When he say "oh no! /uh-oh" and "ahkay/alright", it's just darn cute.

Just a few months from now, I'm sure I'll be complaining how talkative he is. LOLz.

August 20, 2008

Rain makes me blue

image from lette's flickr

The day after we arrived here in KL, it rained heavily. It looked like a storm. Back in the Philippines, it would have been signal #2. And now while typing this, it is so dark outside. I hear thunder and see occasional lightning. I guess it's rainy season now here in KL.

Rain makes me sad. Always. I always associate it with gloomy feelings and sometimes it brings back best unforgotten sad memories. I don't know why. At times like these, I just want to curl up in bed and just sleep. If only memories are like acne scars, erasable then I would just have to buy acne scars cream, wouldn't I? LOLz.

I wish it wouldn't rain on my birthday.

August 19, 2008

Lancaster Suites: The Good and The Bad

We stayed at Lancaster Suites when we were in Manila for nine days. Will I recommend this place? Hmm...I think I just have to enumerate what I like and didn't like, and let the person decide.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. What I didn't like:

1) Despite the numerous requests to fix the AC leak, it wasn't fixed. I am not sure if somebody went and try to fix it though. But when we checked out, there was still water dripping from the AC.

2) We have to ask for the breakfast coupon every morning. It's fine. The front office people tell us they'd just give it to waiters. Still fine. But what irked me was when we sat down, the waiters still asked for our coupons. Like duh? It really made us feel like we were gatecrashers inside a party and not guests. Obviously, their F&B and FO need to solve some communication problem.

3) Most of the inclusions on the package that we availed were not available. The reason why I booked with them is the free 2-hour babysitting service and the free internet in the room. But when I checked with their front office, an unapologetic girl said, "It's just not available" referring to the free babysitting service. There was no internet on the room too. But at least they have free wifi access on the lobby. Now, I worked in a front office before and I know that's not how you answer. She should have checked my voucher, but she didn't (unfortunately I didn't have the voucher with me that time) or ask their reservations for clarifications. Enough with the ill-trained staff. That's another story. Anyway, granted we booked the cheapest room rate and some of the inclusions weren't really important to us (ie welcome drink, fruit platter, butler service, complimentary water) but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be available, right?

4) It's hard to take a nap in the afternoon because it's noisy. Since, they're still finishing some parts of the building, you can hear the drillings going on. Some contruction people were also milling around. And from the room, we can hear their conversations.

5) I paid Php75 for a an hour's use of iron and ironing board. Okay, this is really no biggie because it's only Php75. But still, shouldn't it be free?


So what made us stay at Lancaster until check out day? They do have some redeeming factors:

1) Their location. It is very accesible. It's just along Shaw boulevard and just a walking distance to Shangrila and Megamall, where we were frequent visitors.

2) While some staff needed more training, others deserve a gold medal. Especially their driver (forgot the name) and the bellman/concierge (Dennis). They were so polite, extremely helpful and made us feel welcome in the hotel.

3) The room is exactly the same on the website's pictures. So I wasn't disappointed. And the pillows and towels were still soft and fluffy.

So there. Just read through and you can decide if you want to stay. I wrote them my feedbacks. Maybe, they will work on their problem areas.

August 18, 2008

What do SAHMs do?

A well-meaning and clueless guy friend asked me: "So, what do you do when your hubby is at work?"

I was at loss for words. I seriously contemplated on how to answer his question. But truth be told, I was a little annoyed and offended.

I would have liked to answer "nothing" so I don't have to explain further. But it's not true! Keeping a house in order is a big work.

If I answered, "a lot", I would have to elaborate every household chores and I would sound defensive.

If I answered, "aside from nurturing and taking care of my baby?", I would sound very arrogant.
So I just answered flippantly "I blog".

Honestly, I'm tired of people asking me what I do to pass my time. And it is not just about that. There's always a subtle insinuation that I really do nothing. As if taking care of the baby isn't a job in itself.

Twice in a Row

We're back in KL. We left Manila at 5pm yesterday and got here in the apartment at 10:20pm. It was a very tiring flight. EJ was uncharacteristically unruly during the whole flight. He spilled his juice on his body, he threw the bottle of water on the floor and he wanted to run around the plane. He was bored and sleepy but he couldn't sleep, try as he might. I guess that's why he was antsy. I am so proud of myself. I didn't lose my temper. Hehehe!

The nine days break in Manila was just as tiring. We were running all over the place. Or I guess I am not used to it anymore. We didn't even accomplish much of what we intended to do, save for EJ's party, the SPA massage, and a little shopping. But we stuck to our budget. It is so tempting to shop and to shop. Good thing before we left for Manila, I did a little budgeting and planning. It came in handy :)

~~~

I lost my phone once again upon arriving here in KL! Grrr..

The first time we arrived here, I think my phone slipped out of my pocket when we were inside a cab. Last night, I think my phone slipped out of my pocket yet again but when we were still on the plane. Both instances, EJ was "magulo". He was all over me, playing with my hair, my shirt, my pocket, etc. I am not saying it's because of EJ. I should have known better. I should have put my phone in my bag. Sigh. Before boarding the plane I even asked my sister to send an eload so I can roam my Smart sim. Now, I don't have a phone and a roaming sim. Another sigh.

~~~

Back to KL, back to my old routine. I'll be bloghopping soon. See yah!

August 11, 2008

Hello from Manila

EJ turned two last Sunday. He's officially a toddler now :)

He's having a blast right now, meeting the family again and seeing lots of kids.

He's constantly showing off, dancing all the time.

I'll get back into the blogging groove only when we go back to Malaysia on Sunday.

August 8, 2008

Joy



Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are ~ Marrian Williamson

August 7, 2008

Cost of Getting a Maid in Malaysia

I am so bushed. What a day it has been. On top of the usual household chores, EJ has been extra spirited too. Running around and flinging toys everywhere. Today I really wished we had a helper.

Unlike in Manila, a househelper/maid costs a fortune here in Malaysia. Okay, that was exaggerated. But me being cost-efficient (in other words, cheap! hehe), I think it's just beyond our budget.

So how much the maids are paid here in KL? If you want an Indonesian maid, be prepared to shell out RM800 monthly (around Php10,000 or $260). But if you'd like your own kababayan (fellow Filipino), then expect to pay RM1,400 monthly (around Php17,000 or $450). We just cannot afford one.

But wait, there's more. Before you get your maid from the agency (the only way to get a stay-in maid), you have to pay the processing fee, visa, plane ticket (return) and a one month advance salary. All of these roughly amount to RM4,000-5000. It's just too expensive for me. I thought there's not much the maid will do for us anyway. Our dirty clothes are brought to the laundry service. The only heavy work the maid will be doing is the ironing. So I said, just give the money to me and I'll be the maid of this house. Hahaha!

But on a day like this, I wish for another helping hand. My back aches from picking up EJ's toys several times a day. I have stiff neck from ironing clothes everyday. Not to mention, my patience is wearing thin from looking after a hyper active toddler.

I need a break. Good thing we're flying to Manila tomorrow!!!

~~~

To those who are going or planning to go to US, particularly Las Vegas, do check out these vegas hotels. Best hotels, great rates!

Happiness



"Happiness is a place between too little and too much" ~ Finnish Proverb


August 4, 2008

Snow Dreams

I have to consider myself lucky to be living in a tropical country. Not that there's anything wrong in cold countries. I just can't probably survive in countries with very long winters. I don't think my body will ever get accustomed to a very cold temperature.

I remember, I had to cut short my vacation in Baguio (northern part of Philippines) because it was very cold for me (around 7-9 degrees) . Instead of a one week holiday, I went back to Manila after 3 days because my body was longing for a hot and humid temperature. Seriously. Hahaha!

But even if I am averse to cold weather, I still dream of going to places with snow. Because I would really like to wear boots and a faux fur or a trench coat! LOL. And I always have this dream of sitting by the fireplace, talking to my love ones, sipping hot choco while it is heavily snowing outside!

Speaking of fireplace, do you know that we can have fire pits instead of the real fireplace? Well, not that we need it in a tropical country a lot of course. But sometimes it also gets very cold during rainy season, just like in my province in Surigao.


It's so easy to see why this one is a top seller.

This one would easily complement our future house.

And this last one is perfect for outdoor's use.


It would be very handy to have these beautiful "heaters" in our homes. I can just imagine using the above during a cold and rainy Christmas, sipping my hot choco and opening presents. Lovely!

Some Updates

I'm a litte tired to update lately. I'm busy with something else. So here's some bulleted update about our upcoming vacation in Manila (serves as my checklist too).

  • After a long debate where to hold EJ's party, we finally settled for Jade Palace along Shaw Boulevard. Kuya Jed actually recommended the place. The price is very affordable. I have yet to see the menu though. We'll do it on Friday.
  • We're still waiting for the cake confirmation. We ordered a 3D Thomas the train cake at French Kiss. They need a deposit but I asked if we can pay the whole price by Friday instead. I am still waiting for their reply.
  • Since we'll only be in Manila for nine days, we've decided to stay in a condotel. We found a newly built condotel along Shaw Boulevard. It's called Lancaster Suites. It's a little bit expensive for my taste but it is just a walking distance to Shangrila and Megamall. Since we'll probably frequent these places, we'll save on the gas or taxi fares. Two hours of baby-sitting is included in the price already. So we'll also take advantage of that. The room comes with a kitchenette. It is kinda nice, isn't it? I just hope the pictures below are the real representation of the room. It would be a bummer otherwise.

  • I don't know why I can't withdraw my paypal funds here in Malaysia. So today I am going to transfer my humble earnings to my Mano Jeff's account so he can withdraw it in Manila. I am still undecided what to do with my money though, hahaha!!

August 1, 2008

Make a Wish

EJ has perfected how to blow a candle. We practiced last night and he wouldn't want to stop! LOL.

Let's see how he'll fare on his birthday next week.



Make a wish, my baby!