The Struggle is Real


Last June 15  we celebrated out first year of arrival in Australia. We arrived at Perth Airport via Qatar Airways and the time had just flew by up and now we are here in Newcastle.

To give you an ifea, we arrived here as Permanent Residents. It means, my DH and I took the steps of complying to the set of rules and requirements of the Australian Immigration. We had our English proficiency checked ( IELTS score band of 7.5) , our university credentials assessed, criminal recordbackground checked and health assessed too. It took us 2 years to get the visa as we had to add our LO on the list too. 

When we came here, we are very excited to experience on what Australian lifestyle is. It was a lovely start although we had to face the reality of looking and finding a place to rent, find a job , get the paperwork for government stuff etcetera. But what really hit us hard was the job hunt. I have seen how my DH struggled and also at times frustrated when he gets turned down by one company after the other. When we all had thought that before coming here, out professions have been recognised and suited for the local market. It was not that easy. Perhaps, we came at a wrong time? Due to the downturn of mining , and oil and gas. 

So 3 months have passed and finally a SME offered a job to DH in Central Coast. We moved to Gosford and we are still keeping the fight that we will thrive to the demands and expenses of everyday Australian life.  January 2017, my DH got another offer with a company here in Newcastle. It pays leass but it is a larger company that can help my DH learn more about the industry and better exposure to the so-called “Australian Experience”. 

As for me, I am carrying on my duties as a SAHM and had taken time to take my HLT004 Certificate ( first aide , anaphylaxis and asthma mgt) getting my driving lessons done( unfortunately 2 of my teachers have been in an accident so I am still waiting to get my test) I am also applying for jobs and volunteer positions.

Last week , I was called for an interview for a post in a Childcare. However, I just got a call today that I did not qualify. For reasons that I did not ask anymore. ( I had my qualifications assessed and granted by ACECQA, I have a First Aid Check, a Working with Children Check) so I am just saving myself for further heartbreak by not asking why I failed to get the job. I should be picking up myself and carry on and see what else I can do to hopefully snag the job. 

I will just tell myself that because my LO is still young, It will be better that I stay with her and just be a mum. However, I also hope that soon, I can also get a chance to work and help my husband to provide for our family. 

Right now, I am going to seek possibilities to improve myself to be better and have a higher chance to pass the interviews. Failing is never a good feeling but I will try not to dwell on that. It is time to move on. 

To make things a bit cheerful, I am thankful to Newcastle and Hunter Toy Library for allowing me to Volunteer 2 Saturdays a month. This makes me feel accomplished at least a couple of hours and also giving back to the community where we are at . 

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The Hashtag

I am not going to wash my hands clean and say that I have never used this sign in some of my social media posts. However, I will be very honest to tell you that I have not really understood the concept of hashtagging. I merely just followed a trend because everybody in the damn social media world is doing it. 

And then, I have somehow gotten irritated by this trend. Why? It is because , some of the people I know, have just been hashtagging everything they do and post that most of the time it is either not making sense, super long and worse….spelled wrongly! 

Let me give you some examples of these categories:

1. OTT hashtagging- 

an ott hashtagger will do this:

#lighthouse #summer #newcastle #beach #summer #australia #rocks #scenery #weekend #water #sand #sun #bluesky #whiteclouds #beachlover #nofilter #randomwalks #amazing

…. ok what else ? The whole elements, particles that probably have been in the photo. Also let us not forget the overly used #blessed. 😂

2. Loooong hashtags with CAPITAL LETTER mashups

It is long and makes me cringe . Let me make use of my LOs photo to illustrate it further

#mylittleartistinthemaking

#Iamgoingtobetheonecleaningupthismessafter

#IlovePINTERESTkiddoecraftideas

#creativitykickinginmybabygirl

…… i have seen others that are longer , it can be a paragraph 

3. spelling bee fails hashtag

Okay, the worst of them all is the hashtag with misspelled words. This is common on travel , food and leisure posts. Best advice to share to these peeps is that, research or doublecheck what you hashtag and post. 

#lavandar — 

#validictorian

#wronggrammer

#mindgrain

……. ok enough . that reached my tolerance level . 😆

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Along the Aisles of Toys R’ Us

Hello! I believe it  has almost been 3 months since I posted an entry on this space. Life has been busy up here . Taking my LO to tots gym , playgroup, and next week to a music and rhyme activity. I am also working hard to get my L license to P so I can legally drive in NSW. ( not cheap! But i am learning . Thanks to my instructors) I have improved but my confidencs is not that big yet and I am still  grasping the reverse parallel and the bay parking is still a daunting part for me. 

As we face autumn , it is also time to dig our jeans,cardis and blankies. It also makes me feel like eating all the comfort foods I like from the Philippines and beyond. ( ohmmm self control! Else, my weight loss from 82kg in Nov to 71 now and progressing will be useless!) I am chanelling that into crocheting and helping my bro in his online transcription projects.

As I am beginning to like the life up here in Newcastle, my only wish to make it more enjoyable is that I pass my driving test so it will be easier for me and LO to move around. I am a frequent 13CABS user and I have pretty much familiariased myself with the newie cabbies. 

Another upcoming thing is LO might be joining a Family day care on part time  basis. That will give me time to polish my driving skills , find work or simply give myself a break. At least for few hours. It will benefit me and LO as she is enjoying being with kids around her too. If I get a job , I can put her on Childcare . 

Ok, that’s my quick recap.. I have to go and catch LO before she sneaks out the checkmout area with an unpaid toy on her hand. 

 

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Oops !we did it again….

Oh yeah! Here we are again. Packed , drove, moved, unpacked, sorted. Ladies and gentlemen. We have moved to another place again. 

It was 4th February 2017. A hot and humid day. We have moved from Central Coast to Newcastle. It was a good move as things were handled well by KC Removals and the team was in charge of loading the stuff, unloading , arranging and assembling the items for you if needed. 

This is our 3rd move within Australia from June 2016. As mentioned in my bio page we are experts in moving our lives in suitcases. Now with boxes and furnitures! ( whoo upgrade!! ….blah!) This is a local move and the whole process just took a day to get it done.

I thought that is it. Easy! But it had just started.. We rented a house this time and I must say that inspite of the age of the house, the interior area is beautiful. However, the exterior is like a Jurassic Park. 

Okay, I might have been exaggerating .TBH, it is a nice lawn, it is elevated in 3 levels , with cubby house, sandpit, swing and a tool shed. It is perfect to keep those medical slides with blood samples like in DEXTER. I just cant stand the idea that the AGENT allowed us to move without organizing a lawn and garden cleaner. I am currently going on quotes and BOY oh BOY!! The cheapest I got was 250 dollars and the other one that I dismissed was 550( he did not even look at the property) Anyway, I  meeting 2 other service providers and hopefully I can get this done. 

Next on my list was Internet. Our are has to go to ADSL since theres no NBN service yet. So when I called the provider we used to have,Bam ! Long phone wait! Seriously BELONG internet ! Do you only have one Customer Service Rep for all Australia? That is something I think my hisband is organizing. 

Though this post sounds I am whingeing. Well, yes!! I am telling you guys, that it is Stressful and frustrating. I am trying hard to get the house sorted when it comes to cleanliness( which I think os doing well) but I want to make it look better. I tried to clean it up myself but with a LO running around the area, I get to prioritize and choose my child over dried leaves. 

I will hope fpr the best and get this  stuff sorted soon. For now, deeep breaths!! 

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The GFE


So I signed  up for Stan to stream shows and movies. It is a new player in the streaming biz but Netflix is still the front runner. However, Last week I came across this series in Stan that was produced by Starz ( remember Spartacus: Blood and Sand) called “The Girlfriend Experience” it has only one season that premiered last year. It has 13 episodes so it was an easy binge to watch. 

I wont do spoilers here but after watching this series, I thought that this show is a mirror. The hard reality of studying and paying for a good education, how internships can make or break your self esteem, the lack of genuine family connection, the loneliness behind the luxurious life. When we feel that emptiness, we try to seek everywhere and with anyone to seek pleasure even if it is just temporary. 

The GFE is not for those who have really high moral standards. They might just focus on one side of the main character and say that it is a wild show with loads of nudity. For me, It is beyond that.That is ifyou  have a broad mindset and not taking things always on its  literal sense. Watchout for the twists and powerplay of the main characters. 

If you are a new Stan sunscriber,and over 18 feel free to give this show a go. 

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Disconnected

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Have you ever had that feeling that you are alone and that no one seems to see or hear you even if they are just within an arm’s reach? How about not being appreciated at least when you have done something nice or good to them and they just simply walk away or worse, add more things for you to accomplish?  It sucks and you just want to scream and walk out of the door but you can’t. Instead, you have to swallow your pride and keep on doing the same things everyday and hope that someday, people will realise that you exist and you are equally important no matter how big or small you are doing.

I am not in a very good situation at the moment. Somehow, I am feeling guilty that I have not able to make a connection with my daughter because I let her watch TV whilst I am trying to fulfill house chores during the day. But I think when she gives me her hugs and kisses, I do feel that inspite of me being a busy housekeeper/mama she still appreciates me. ( I hope.. just that  she cant fully say those words yet).

My DH who has found and started a new job up north is also busy. He leaves at 5.am and arrives at 640p. He showers, eats dinner, sits in one corner of the living room, looks at his phone and then goes to bed. Same routine I guess until we find a place near his new workplace and perhaps he will have more time to talk to us , or spend quality time during the weekdays.

I guess I have no right to complain or even write this . Since I am a stay at home mum and no income to prove myself or worth. I am just a mum now. Looking after our LO, try to keep the home tidy, wash, fold, iron clothes, do some errands and spend my DH wages. So I should just be ignored and only speak when summoned. My stories about my day suddenly sounds boring, not worth a minute to listen to . Meanwhile, our handphones, new sites, fb sites and instagram sites are more interesting to read and look at.

Over the holidays. I bought a few board games for us to play. At least to give us an “away time” from our hand held gadgets. we only played once and it was fun. However, nothing followed after that. We are back to the old ways again.

Last night, I could not contain myself anymore and burst out crying. DH asked why and I told him How I feel. But then knowing how weak I am, I just told him. “Nevermind, this could only be a phase.. we will get the hang of this” . And then he slept . I held myself up high and just walked to the other room to iron his shirts and jeans and read the bible and prayed that, hopefully I will really get the hang of things.

What happened to us? Is it because we spent most of the time being in a Long Distance Relationship before we got married and now that we are together permanently we cant figure out how to be connected? On the physical aspect yes. We do fulfill that area . But that is not just how a relationship works? Am I getting boring? Or unattractive maybe?I asked him these questions before and he said I am not. ( although maybe I was just given answers I would want to hear.)

I hope that this “so called phase ” will be over soon and make our relationship work before we get fully DISCONNECTED and grow apart. I am a believer of lasting marriages and I will try my best to make it work. I just hope that I am not going to be alone on this fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moving On


Hello 2017! I hope you all had a great Christmas and NY celebrations wherever you are. Do not be fooled by my chosen photo for this post. I am not doing a food related blog post tonight. I am just inspired by tonight’s antipasto and wine. 

Okay, now that we officially welcomed 2017. I am pretty much all geared up to welcome what this year has to offer. 2016 has been a series of packing and unpacking , getting the hang of things here in Australia and also a year of triumph for my grandma who endured a 12 hr operation to remove a cancer tumour on her tongue.( she’s rocking it well at 90 and now recovering well. Thank God)

As we are all moving forward on the  first few days of 2017. I have some points i’d like to happen as opposed to the usual resolutions list.

1. Declutter… Yes! Get rid of everything unwanted. Physically and virtually. Tbh, I have eliminated some peeps on my social media account. Especially those who curse and overshare their personal lives online. Dahling! We don’t need to know if your partner is cheating on you or the latest toilet you have been in to take a selfie. 

Also, decluttering our place of unwanted stuff. I hope I can do this and be able to be sensible on buying items and carefully thinking if it is a need or want.

2. Be gone those Psuedo-political analysts!I cannot stand the people who cant move on and accept the results of the last year’s elections. Seriously, can we just stop and pray and hope for the best outcomes that theelected  leaders can bring to our country and the world?

3. Respect for SAHM- I hope people will realize that we  SAHMs are also human beings and we are not on an extended holiday? We are tired and unpaid. And yet we display our lioness mama instincts to protect our young and families. Stop saying we are so chilled and relaxed because we are just ad busy as a top CEO in a top global company is. 

4. Quality vs Quantity time- we should look on to what kind of activities we are doing with our loved ones rather  than focusing on how much time we spend with them. 

5. Hashtag everything- seriously, please think before you attach hashtags on every post you make. I am not a big fan of it but it is kinda irritating to read posts that has hashtags on every singlen item on it. #stophastaggingeverything.lol

6. So what?!- those people who like to say that :organic food is best, breastfeeding is the ONLY way, vaginal birth is more empowering than CS, no tv is the way to raise kids, home made food is the only food to eat, recycle … Please, do not sell them to me . I think I pretty much know how to live my life , raise my kid, and handle my family. If I need help I’d ask but do not shove it down on me. 

7. #happywifehappylife- so what does this really mean? If you get a Rolex watch, valentino purse, 20 course meal at a michelin resto, a golden underwear … ? That is it? How about when your partner helps you with chores or ask how your day has been?, listening to you, looking at you straight in the eye, a cuddle? Come on wifeys, let us put a balance on things okay. 

8 social media – honestly i think theres a class or FB usage 101 out there for  those who have been starting with the use of this technology. Like family members who do not seem to have filters in their brain and typing fingers. I had a few bumps with members of my family last year on FB and those who have seen my WordPress account and think that it’s hacked or asking why a toddler is not highlighted in a post is discriminatory? Yup no kidding. They exist …. in my family. 

9. Driving skills – i am 34 and just got my australian learner license. Laugh it out loud but yes. i am a newbie learner and freakkin nervous on understanding aussie road rules. Roundabouts? Pull:push on th steering wheel, head check. Plus i hope to find a reasonably priced and patient driver to teach me on weekends. I have sat for 2 sessions already and will go for another one next week. but if you are in the Central Coast NSW area, and you are a fully licensed automatic car driver who can teach me on weekends. Contact me. 

10. Pre  pregnancy weight – classic! I have been with Lite n Easy since november 2016. My starting weight on nov was 81kg. ( yep!i ballooned to 88kg before giving birth) But now I am on 76kg. ( holiday eating). I was 63 when I got married. So I hope that my health journey will prosper and continue to give good results with sensible eating and more walking for me and Lo. Not for vanity but I would like to be a healthier me to prepare to plan for LO 2 in the future. 

May the 2017 bless us with greater things !! 

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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! It is 12.09 am here in Central Coast and I have just arranged the prezzies under the tree to surprise our LO tomorrow for few minutes of fun tearing gift wrappers and saying the longest WOOOOOWWWWWW! that may land us on next year’s Guiness book of World Records. 

I have missed a couple of weeks’ post due to busy house chores and mummyhood tasks. That included my first Christmas tree that I decorated with balls of gold , silver and red. I promise to build up my tree next time with more interesting themes provides that my LO will not go on decor harvesting frenzy and leave the tree half naked everyday. I would like to thank my fave 3 shops ( big w, kmart, target) for their awesome online delivery services ( auspost,toll, couriers please) you made my lil project for this holidays come to happen! 

This is going to be our first Christmas spent in our “new home” here in Australia. God has been truly amazing in out lives that His grace and favour was evident everyday in our lives . 6 months ago we were newbies i  Aussie and now we are adjusting well from Perth and now here in Gosford. From nomadic lifestyle spending holidays in South East Asia, Europe, and  North Africa, we are now making our first of many hot and bbq filled holidays here in Australia. I will post next time how  the results of our gourmet Christmas Lunch project turns out.

This Christmas season, my family and I pray that there will be more love for one another , forgiveness in our hearts and  thankfulness for everything that God has given us . 

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. 

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Toddler Time

( set up an old box as our easel board and coloured chalk- LO dipped the chalk in water and she is clever that it will make the colours more bright)
It is officially summer here in Australia. And it is really getting warm. Me and my LO havent been exploring playgrounds on the past few days mainly because of the heat and strong sun. But that does not stop us from spending some time outdoors and play . We dont really have a lot of outdoor toys to brag about but as a former Preschool teacher,I do have some tricks under my sleeve ( from Pinterest and 10 yrs as a teacher archives department)

Here are some of the tried and tested activities we did in the past week up to now. 

1. painting with water

Materials: water, bucket, brushes or sponge, wall

Level of difficulty: super easy with adult supervision to ensure that the LOs dont drink or dive in the bucket. 

Procedure:

A. Fillthe bucket with water.

B. let your LOs explore or you can model the activity and let the LOs explore and observe what they can do. Encourage and comment on their work. Eg”i like the cloud you painted” even if its just a blob of water- that’s creativity.

Note: no stress if your LOs get bored. You can try this again in few days.

Extend the activity: pretend play as house painters, add food colouring on water( make sure you dont dress your LOs in expensive clothing so u wont blame me on my post) 

2Bubbles

Materials: water , dishwashing detergent ,bucket, beach toys , cups,

Its not the blowing bubble activity but more of a sensorial play experience( i noticed that a lot of preschoolers these days are too sensitive in touching finger paint and glue in centres and schools) So heres a good start to get them used to icky and mucky play. Again, if you like to dress your kid up with designer clothing, think again coz this activity is kinda messy. Or better yet, keep the fashion gear for family photo shoots. 

Safety note: supervise the LOs not to eat or drink the bubbly water. 

The cover photo for this post is basically chalk and cardboard easel. Since we have accumulated a lot of boxes from our mov. This is an awesome way to express colour and creativity. Top tip: dip the chalkto water and it will created a more defined colour effect. 

There goes our simple SAHM hacks to entertain toddlers at home. 

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Joys of Commuting

I grew up taking public transport to take me and my family to places. In Manila, we were trained to walk, take tricycle, pedicab, jeepneys, taxi, fx, buses, LRT and the ridiculous and controversial MRT. Growing up with these modes of moving and getting around had also taught us life values such as patience, ( enduring traffic) kindness ( sharing space and passing the fare to the driver) and resilience ( when one mode of transpo breaks down or there’s flood … dont give up).

Then my life overseas had started in 2005 and I still take public transport. However, it is a totally different ballgame out there. In Bahrain, it is a small country and usually people drive around, take a cab or bus.Since it was my first overseas exposure , I was advised by my employer and friends to take a cab or carpool with friends ( it is safer) . That was how I got to move around in the desert for 2 years. 

In 2008,I was in Medan, Indonesia. Things were easier as I have my good friend Sarah and her mum who were my colleagues too. So after school , whenever we  feel like exploring the street food culture and getting a foot massage. We usually take a becak ( tricycle). This  is how I it helped me learn to speak the Indonesian language by starting with numbers, road directions and haggling . There are also taxi services that you can call( we recommend Express and Blue Bird) they have reliable and safe cabs and it is good especially if you are travelling as a group. There’s also “angkot” or a minivan converted to take 16 passengers. I would suggest to take this ride if youre already familiar with your area or with a local indonesian friend can be with you as angkots can sometimes be tricky and change routes at the last minute. 

My commuting life had improved so much when I moved in 2010-2012 to Singapore. With their Ezlink cards that you use to take the trains and buses. Singapore is a country and city ( it’s a small country) but one of the best places to live at because of the high standards of living. Of course there are days that there are train delays and bus problems but it is efficiently handled and if I would put Manila as a point of comparison….. oh well let’s just say I will rest my case your honor. 

That was commuting my way in South East Asia and the part of  Middle East. Middle of 2012, I transitioned from Dubai to Germany. Dubai has a new railway system which is also impressive ( it has 1st class cabins and ladies only cabins too) I managed to give it a go during my month long stay and made me see and visit tourist spots in Deira, Old Souk,  endless malls and the Burj Khalifa. 

In Germany, I lives in a city called Wolfsburg .Buses run on a very prompt schedule ( German precision timing). It can get pretty crowded between 7-15-8 with students and employees. Theres a one month valid ticket that costs 60 euro that allows you to travel within your district. 

German trains ( Deutschebahn) can be pretty  expensive so I had applied for a Ticket card to give discounts on long trips. It was helpful because It offers discounts to travel intercity , regional and even across Euro ( we tried it when we we went to Paris) . My advice though is that , it is handy to learn to speak basic German as regional trains can sometimes only have their announcements in German. Also, download a travel app DB to guide your journey. 

And what are the odds that me and my fiance now DH will live and work in Geoje? Oh well, I have to be honest that I didnt really use their public transport other than their taxis, and an occassional trip around Busan with my parents and friends with their train and bus). My advice again is to have a local friend to help you at first to get around as It can be tricky to decode Korean and not all locals speak English. They will brush you off rudely like shooing a fly and say NO ENGLISHYYYY. But  here’s a tip though: if you are caucasian,( blonde, blue eyed , fair skinned ) you will be treated nicely. However, if you dont fit the profile that I just described,( and if you have tanned skin like me or darker, ) you have a high chance to be “shooed” away. 

Note: I am writing this from my experience living in Geoje for almost 2 years. So do not put a comment saying I am being mean to the Koreans. We all have different experiences and mine wasnt good so F off. And write your own blog about them. 

Closing the Korean chapter is an awesome relief for us. I hope and pray that we will not have to return there . 

A great relief when we arrived here in Australia. From Perth, where we first settled in. The bus, train and ferry system follows a card system ( transperth) that one card can be used to the 3 . Just make sure you have enough credit or top it up when you hit low on the machines or newagents. 

Same goes here in NSW. My little one and I have been going on trips from our  place here in Central Coast and down to Sydney. It is an hour and a half journey sometimes more if we venture to the suburbs to visit my aunt and grandma  bit everything is so easy to follow. If there are track and train issues they would advice and give alternatives. 

It is pretty obvious that I love commuting. But it sure has its downsides to and that Is why I am going to learn to drive here  soon.At least i have better options in case one of my many ways to get around is not available. Oh I also think of learning to ride a bike as in a bicycle. Hahahaah. 
Photo credit: google images

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