April 27, 2012

Finally, Manila!

It's so great to be back home!

We left Phnom Penh at 10am and arrived here in Manila around 6:30pm. No, the flight wasn't that long. There is no direct flight to Manila from Phnom Penh. So we had to go to Bangkok first to catch our connecting flight to Manila.


At Suvarnabhumi International airport earlier. EJ was so full of energy and was just so excited to reach Manila.

We checked-in at Marriott Hotel Manila. We love the room and the service. Thanks to Jeck at the front office who gave us complimentary wifi in the room!


After resting for 30 minutes we went to Newport Mall which is adjacent to the hotel and had dinner there. Loved the vibe but did not like the fact that it's practically a smoking place.

Anyway, we're back in the hotel now. It's almost midnight and I am still wide awake. Just so giddy to be back home, I guess.

Yay, home sweet home!

April 24, 2012

Sleepover

When I see people complain on twitter how hot it is in the Philippines, I have this urge to tell them.."ah, wala kayo sa Phnom Penh!" Hahahaha!!!


Beautiful Cambodia country side. I took this several months ago already. But this is how it feels like now. Hot!

Yeah, it's been hot lately and I am not complaining even with the occasional migraines I have due to heat.

It's actually our aircons at home who had the nerve to conk out on us. The aircon in the bedroom and the living room have stopped blowing cold air. Both still work but the air that comes out is as hot as the air outside. Probably there's no more freon or something. It's useless turning it on.

We have already told the landlord to fix the ACs but the response is slow. I don't know when they are going to fix it.

Temporarily we are sleeping in EJ's playroom. EJ said he loves it because he has always wanted to bring his toys to the bedroom and now he doesn't need to. It's perfect for him. He actually asked if we could sleep this way for a long time.

Hubby and I feel like we are both on a sleepover.  We just need chips, beers, some music  and it would be a perfect sleepover. Hahaha!!!

With the temperature rising, people are bound to easily flare up. So it's a good thing, I find our current set up cute and funny.

April 21, 2012

Weekends are Cheat Days

It's 3pm now and I am still full from the sumptuous lunch we had at Trasak Pa-Em, our favorite Khmer restaurant.

I can hardly smile here from trying to conceal my tummy. LOL!

Hubby and I were just talking last night about the places we will miss once we leave Phnom Penh. No, we're not leaving anytime soon. But if we will leave the Kingdom, this is one of the places we will definitely miss. To be more specific, we will miss the food in this restaurant. Yeah, it's that good but bad from the point of view of someone on a diet. LOL!

Hubby and I are supposed to tame our appetite now as we are going to prepare our tummies for the yummies awaiting us in the Philippines. Unfortunately, we couldn't resist the lure of the food from this resto. And besides, weekends are best spent eating. Don't you agree?

We're now in Himawari Biz Cafe. I am drinking green tea in the hopes that the rich, creamy and fatty food I consumed for lunch will be melted and flushed immediately out of my system. Hahaha! I wish.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend! Cheers!

April 17, 2012

Quiz

EJ only speaks English. He knows some Filipino words and understands some Filipino words but he can't communicate in Filipino....yet.

It's our fault, of course.

We had an understanding before, when EJ was still a baby that one of us (either hubby or I) will speak to EJ in Filipino and the other one speaks in English. I am sure we did that at the start but along the way, we have forgotten about it.

EJ was born in Pasig City. But the longest he has stayed in the Philippines is probably 3 months.

All his life, he's lived abroad. I know it's not an excuse for him not to speak FIlipino but we must have thought it's convenient for him to speak in English because he'll be speaking it with his friends and in school.

But now, hubby and I are trying to correct that little by little by teaching EJ Filipino words everyday.

Aside from the task of counting down our next vacation (in Filipino words), I also quiz EJ everyday about the Filipino words he's learned. I am sure at one point, he must have said to himself, I need to read reviews first. LOL!

EJ's drawing of the Philippine flag

EJ is doing well learning Filipino. I know it is not yet late for him to learn the language. He is still young and his memory is very sharp. We just need to remember to teach him everyday.

April 15, 2012

Another Baby in the Family

Welcome to the world, Cleophee Jaira! You are so adorable! Look at those chubby, chubby cheeks! I can't wait to pinch them. LOL!

She is my fourth niece and my sister's first born. Congrats Kol and Ayie. What a beautiful baby girl you have!

Kol, now that you're done with maternity dresses, it's time to buy some swimsuits as we are going to hit the beach when we get home!

CJ or Yufe (her nickname is still in debate) was born last April 5, 2012. The pictures were taken a day after. But she looks older than a day old, don't you think so?

This is one reason I can't wait to go back home.

Now, we have four pretty girls in the family. There's no reason for hubby and I to add a little girl anymore. As if. Hahaha!!!

See you soon Cleophee Jaira!

Chaul Chnam Thmey

Today is the last day of the Khmer/Cambodian New Year or in Khmer language Chaul Chnam Thmey (literally translates "enter new year").

The Khmer New Year is a 3-day celebration that started last Friday, the 13th until the 15th, today. But in the corporate world, the holiday is extended until tomorrow. The schools are even closed until Friday. Lucky EJ, they have a long holiday!

For me, Khmer New Year (KNY) usually means summer is almost over and it's going to be umbrella, umbrella stands and boots time.

The three days of KNY (from Wikipedia):

Maha Songkran

Maha Songkran, derived from Sanskrit Maha Sankranti, is the name of the first day of the new year celebration. It is the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one. People dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines, where the members of each family pay homage to offer thanks for the Buddha's teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three times before his image. For good luck people wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed.

Virak Wanabat

Virak Wanabat is the name of the second day of the new year celebration. People contribute charity to the less fortunate by helping the poor, servants, homeless, and low-income families. Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery.

Tngay Leang Saka

Tngay Leang Saka is the name of the third day of the new year celebration. Buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water. Bathing the Buddha images is the symbol that water will be needed for all kinds of plants and lives. It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can obtain from them best wishes and good advice for the future.


This is our third KNY and the first time we just stayed put in Phnom Penh. The first one, we went to Angkor Wat. Last year, we went to Hongkong and Macau. This year, we decided to just stay home and avoid expenses as we are going to Philippines next week.

With the locals gone home to their provinces and the expats on to nearby cities and countries for a mini-break, Phnom Penh is really quite. It's my first time to see the city so still. It's almost a surreal experience. Even here in our subdivision, I think we are the only one who has not left the city. LOL!

To all Cambodians, Happy Khmer New Year! May you have a wonderful time with your family and loved ones celebrating this holidays.

April 11, 2012

Fifteen More

Fifteen more days until our next vacation to the Philippines. Yay!

We've given EJ the task of counting down. Every morning, I wake him up with the question, "how many more days before our trip to the Philippines?"

We are that excited! Well, we're always excited every time we go back to Philippines.

I am looking forward to a lot of things. Family bonding, reunion, shopping, fiesta, food, etc, etc.

Speaking of food, I can't wait to eat these:

Inihaw na bangus (grilled milkfish). There is no bangus here in Cambodia so I only get to eat this every time we come home.

Kinilaw na pusit (fresh squid salad). Yum! I am drooling already.

My goal is to eat all the food I have not eaten here and still not gain weight. It's going to be a tough challenge but I am determined not to slip again.

See you soon, mahal kong sinilangan!

April 10, 2012

Easter Sunday 2012

Like I mentioned below, we went to Raffles Hotel Le Royal to celebrate Easter Sunday. It has become a tradition now. Well, sort of. I always look forward to the easter egg hunt. LOL!

This year's table set-up wasn't that elaborate unlike the past two years.

The easter bunny chocolate which we took from one of the buffet tables and brought home. Hahaha!

At first, EJ said he doesn't want to join the egg hunt. But when he saw his classmate, he changed his mind.


Hey boys! Listen to the instructions! And get your egg basket (paperbag).



That's three eggs already! Great job, baby!



Over here, EJ. Faster!



He found 7 eggs in all. Let' see if you win this year...


He may have not won first prize but he was tied with another kid for second place with both of them having 7 eggs. The first prize had 9 eggs. Well done, baby! Congratulations!

Now it's time for photoshoot. LOL!

Like last year, they still had bunnies set up in the garden for the kids to pet.

My two handsome boys. Hubby has shrunk a size or two. Congrats hon!

It was a fun-filled Easter Sunday. Thank you Lord for all the beautiful things around us.

April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday, The Last Two Years

This is our third Easter in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. And if everything works out, we'll probably still be here until next Easter.

We went Easter Egg Hunting at Raffles Hotel Le Royal the last two Easter Sundays and this time we thought we'd continue the tradition.


Easter Egg Hunting 2011


EJ found 13 eggs last year and he won first prize! We're actually pressured to defend his title his year. LOL!


Easter Egg Hunting 2010. EJ only found 3 eggs that time so he did not win any prize.



There were eggs on our table so he was perfectly happy.


I hope EJ wins again this time. But he said he won't join the game anymore. Did he feel the pressure to win? Hahaha!!! Win or lose, we'll have fun.

Happy Easter to all!

April 7, 2012

Postcards: Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills

When Kuala Lumpur's heat becomes unbearable, locals and expats head to Berjaya Hills, formerly known as Bukit Tinggi.

The name was changed to Berjaya Hills after the company developed the place. It is just an hour's drive from KL and makes for a pleasant weekend getaway.

One weekend, when we were still living in KL, we went there and stayed at Colmar Tropicale in Berjaya Hills. It's a french-themed resort complete with medieval french villages.

Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills

Windows

Clock

Magnetized

There are entertainments and other activities to make up for the outdated facilities. And if you're like me, being with the family on a lazy, breezy, foodie weekend is enough to make you smile.

April 6, 2012

Uncertainty is Our Middle Name

The other side of an expat life is the uncertainty of it all. You cannot make long term plans. Goals, yes. But not plans.

We have been expats for over six years now and every time my husband's contract is about to end, I feel this sense of being lost. Where do we go next? Shall we stay for one more year (depending if contract is extended)? Shall we move back home?

It's always like that. And the intensity of that sense of being lost never diminishes. In fact, it has intensified, I guess.

Some say it's part of the excitement of being an expat. In a way, yes. But if you have issues about control (like me), then it's not really that exciting, is it?

My husband's contract here in Cambodia will end on June. He's been told by his boss that he'll be extended. The boss said it's guaranteed. So I thought he has signed the contract already but it turns out he hasn't. I don't know know exactly why but it seems like there's a reorganization in the process or something.

Anyway, I am a little worried.

We are going on a vacation end of this month and we will be back just a month before my husband's contract expires. What if they change their minds and not renew my husband's contract? Possible? Yes. But hubby said, it won't happen.

I reminded him about his contract in Malaysia, his second expat job.

He resigned from his post in Maldives, accepted the job in Malaysia and signed the contract. While we were in Philippines preparing to go to Malaysia, he got a call from the company in Malaysia that his contract is being put on hold. For how long? They don't know.

So yes, it's possible that a company changes its mind about a contract. But thankfully, hubby got a call again after a week and he was told to proceed to Malaysia asap to report for work.

It ended well but what if it did not? It would have ruined a perfectly laid-out plan for us, however short term it was.

I am not worried about hubby being jobless after his contract expires here (of course I am worried, silly me!). But modesty aside, he is one of the best in his field. I am confident he'll find a job anywhere he wanted (Naks! Hon, can you find job in Dubai or Bangkok or Malaysia again? LOL!)

What I am worried though is about EJ's schooling. He'll graduate from his current school this June. And he'll move to Kindergarten or Year 1 next school year (starts August). As early as now, we have to find a school and make reservations for him. But with the current situation, I don't want to do that and waste money (through deposit) if hubby's contract is not extended or if he finds a job somewhere else.

So what to do?

Hope for the best and prepare for greatness. LOL!

Hubby said I should take it easy. I guess I should follow his lead. Life is too short for worrying over small things. I should give up the need for control. It's too stressful.

With that said, I cannot wait for our vacation to start! It's just 20 days more and my first night back in Manila will be in Manila Marriott Hotel.

"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere." ~Glenn Turner

~~

Happy Easter, my blogging friends!

April 4, 2012

Sick Wednesday

We're on our way to the doctor. EJ has missed school again since Monday. This time he has diarrhea.

I really hate it when he gets sick. I always wish it's me who's sick instead of him.

I can see he's lost weight. He's still active but he has no appetite. And when he does, he complains of stomach pain right after eating even if he only ate a little amount of food.

I know that diarrhea usually goes away on its own. And the most important thing is to keep him hydrated (i've given him ORS or oral hydration solution already) but still I worry.

Oh, the traffic has eased. We're in the clinic now.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!