Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thank You 2009.... Cheers to 2010

Back then, I used to have a list of resolutions every coming of the New Year. Looking back from the past and and more importantly contemplating and moving forward to changes. Honestly, I did a lot of change but sadly some of these resolutions remained unchanged. Tough right, sometimes skeptical of even making the effort. That was long time ago and I haven't thought to make a list since then. Having a New Year's Resolutions is not at all useless. It's good though somewhat disappointing if ever I may not achieve all of them. Especially after having promised myself to do every changes. It really sucks confused !

Now, I go for spontaneity and be realistic wink ! I live each day, tries to correct all these wrong actions, I don't aim higher or lower neither perfection but just enough for me to reach them. I still have a long way to go, but each day I endeavour to amass more courage and conviction. I am thankful for 2009 even though it's been both the best of times and worst of times around the world. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and may this year 2010 will be even better full of hopes !!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giant Virus

The world has been debating about the vaccine for H1N1. The virus which is extremely increasing in which lot of people are against it ,others are for, some are confused. I belong to the confused one. I am not against vaccines but I need further explanation, I call for more proof, I require assurance especially that I am 5 months on the way. After exchanging conversations with friends, moms from school and a lot or reading thru surfing from the internet I have decided to get vaccinated. I have also received a go signal from all our doctors (Gynecologist, Generalist, and Pediatrician). Without their consent, I am probably perplex until this very moment.

How it happened :

Saturday, I have received a letter from the Social Security for a free vaccination of H1N1. The letter says that vaccination will take place in order of priority and a predetermined schedule. The priority populations are those persons 2 to 64 years with high risk factors, pregnant women, people close to infants under 6 months, the professional early childhood up to three years, infants 6 to 23 months with risk factors suffering from severe chronic disease. Finally, I went Monday morning together with my husband to proceed with the procedures. I was the only one who received the letter but a nice woman proposed to my husband to take the shot since we have waited for 2 long hours. Now, we are both finally vaccinated. We were surprised because we thought that there will be few people but I can tell you the queue were unstoppable. We have waited for 2 long hours to get vaccinated. As for our children, there is a campaign that vaccination will be done at school premises, therefore we are waiting for that and the letter that will follow from the Social Security.

Concerning about the signing of a paper to make the State liable-free of any inapt honestly, I have never come across it neither my husband with different vaccine injected. The only paper I signed was to act in response to the questions concerning if I have a history of allergies from drugs and vaccines. If I am under treatment of any sickness and the sorts. For pregnant women, the vaccine appropriate for us is called Panenza without Adjuvant likewise with children. Example wherein Canada approved the use of Adjuvant-free.

In the end, they gave me the necessary documents like the certificate of vaccine against H1N1 with my signature in it, the kind of vaccine they injected and a notice of information for the vaccine users.

The Effects :

The doctor informed me that vaccine may cause fever, soreness and redness in the area which I didn’t have until today. The only thing I felt was mild numbness which I think is normal for an after-effect. I was thinking if in any case there will be a long term effect I supposed the medical services is present and will provide us the necessary treatment in the future.

I have read that medical researchers worked on this treatment for the H1N1 virus (or swine flu) that employs a diverse approach. Instead of disabling the virus with a drug, they're generating a vaccine that triggers and manoeuvres a patient's own immune system to attack the intruder.

I am not convincing anyone to do the same. Besides, when you receive the letter it is not obligatory yet for the moment. But in time it will probably become a mandatory for everyone, I just don’t know. This is to share my experience on how it went for me. If any case, if there will be an after effect we can always contact our doctors. Or if you want more information’s please check the following website EMEA European Medicine Agency and Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaires des Prodiuits de Santé (French Agency of Sanitary Safety of Health Product).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A miracle, an accident, a blessing, whatever you call it

Eight years had passed when my Gynecologist told me that I have the risk of not having a baby. It tore my heart apart and I started imagining things. WHAT IF ? That is the big question I have had most of the time. During the day, I found myself alone mulling over whether I will be a mother someday or not at all. Then we’ve waited and never lose hope. We have lived the life of a newly wed couple. Visiting Marseille was the first thing we did. Going to cinema almost every week, inviting friends over for dinner, organizing a party, hiking, doing sports and we did everything that interest us. I have also concentrated on studying French Language as a part of my integration in France to be occupied with something useful.

I almost forgot the sad scenario of my life. My husband has been supportive and I am really grateful for that. He once told me that “Life of a couple doesn’t evolve to being a parent. Having kids is not an obligation, it’s by choice and life should continue” ! He continued telling me that there are happy couple without children. This is not to assure me but he wanted me to see life’s reality. I find that the subject of having kids or or not is one of the great "taboos" of our existence. There are people who love kids but they don’t have one…. It's called childfree by choice. And why are there priests, devoted singles, monks and nuns? Because they choose a vocation and they’re happy about it.

But personally, we wanted to be parents but it was not coming. So I’ve learned to let go. I went on with my life. Be a good wife to my husband. I busied myself as best I could and protect myself from depressing thoughts. I had worked my way up to improve my French which took all of my energy. Learning French has also given me tremendous effort to appreciate this complicated language.

We wanted to be parents and we always believe that there are solutions to this right ? If worse comes to worst we will eventually consider the In-Vitro Fertilization. And if IVF won’t work adoption will be our second recourse.

Years had passed. One day, I went to my Gyne for a yearly check-up. Particularly because I felt a sharp pain from my lower abdomen. I didn’t think of anything else because that’s me when I normally have my monthly period. But when I went out from the clinic I had the biggest surprise of my life…..I was 2 weeks pregnant ! I cannot believe it but I was. Over the past 2 years after we got married, we had our first child and we named him Sébastien. In most situations, I know our waiting time appears to be relatively short compared to many. After 2 years and 3 months to be exact, I gave birth to another baby. Our second child is born and we named her Mayumi.

Husband keeps on bugging me for a third child. It’s not that I want it but I think we really are lucky to have already both. I did not stop taking my contraceptive pills and despite of that things had happened for a reason so consider it a blessing. When it rains, it pours ! blog about this to officially announce to friends that I am 4 months on the way for the third time. That is the reason why I am out of the circulation for a couple of months. The first 3 months was not easy but I feel better now. Now that I am back, I think I need to put a little life on this deserted blog. I believe in the saying, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”.

This is how the baby looks like, taken on the 11th week of my pregnancy

Monday, August 03, 2009

Push to the limit !

I tried to convince my husband that I will not drive in Corsica. Since I had my licence I never get to drive here as it could be stressful….stressful, and have aggressive, crazier drivers than in Marseille. For some great reasons that roads are not only twisted but also very narrow. Add to that quite dark roads without no lights in the mountain side could be really exhausting and dangerous especially at night. Some part of the roads have lights only when you enter in the rural area. Along that winding roads will be in total darkness. When I mean dark just imagine yourself blind ! This is a not to exaggerate things.

Image from

We went to Bastia to spend sometime at the beach since we’ve gone to rivers three times already during our first week in Corsica. Later that day we have to meet up with hubby’s childhood friend who’s apparently organizing a karaoke every Friday night. Obviously, we have stayed up late. My intuition serves me right since yesterday morning when we left the house that I will definitely drive during the night going back to the mountain. So husband was slowly preparing me mentally since then. Trying to ask me if I would feel comfortable to drive around. My answer was I will be stressed out but I will try my best that we get back home in one piece. Do I have a choice ?

At exactly 11 in the evening we decided to leave the karaoke party. Leaving the city of Bastia driving was still okay like most of the big cities as we’ve got a clear vision. Husband was still in good shape and capable to drive around the city. As expected he did not hesitate to ask me to drive for 15 minutes as all of a sudden fatigue has set in. He only asked me for 15 minutes of sleep for him to recover. That took me a special kind of angst when he stopped the car in the midst of darkness and gave me the wheel right just in time to drive in that narrow, dark and winding roads of Corsica. He was trying to tell me that it’s okay if I am afraid he’ll continue driving. I told him I’m not scared but I will admit I am starting to stress out !!! Of course, I would rather obliged myself rather than let him drive under fatigue which could be detrimental.

I took the wheel and drove. I was all by myself while everyone else is asleep. Husband was asleep in just a matter of seconds. The only sound that keeps me awake was the severe snoring of husband and son and the awful roads I have to take. As I drove on our way back it was constantly uphill, downhill, twisting, dark roads back to the mountain. I don’t simply care if the pet peeves find me slow. And because of a number of crazy drivers on the road even at night I kept my calm and tried to focus myself. It was difficult to drive particularly when approaching those blind curves or going towards the inside of a fairway with obstructed visibility as there were drivers who tried to tailgate me. Normally, the maximum speed is 70 km/hr but I was driving at the speed of 60 during that zigzag roads but one thing I am sure of that wild drivers were driving fast enough like a serious racer. Some parts is at 90 and 110 km/hr on the departmental highway is long and straight . I have used my head light (high beam mode) when I found myself driving alone and needed to changemy headlight to low beam mode in case there are cars coming from the opposite lane or for those who tried to double take when they got the chance. A forgotten 15 minutes has long gone !

My driving all went well! I have realized that driving in Corsica is not that bad at all it only demands constant attention and prudence twice more than I do. Finally, we’ve arrived the junction after 45 long minutes of driving in the dark going to the village itself. From the junction I've tried waking him up to pass the steering wheel and he did. He said thank you to me and complimented me because we have reached the carrefour successfully within the expected time-frame. He was expecting that it will took me more than that. From that moment, I immediately found myself relieved from everything. Husband drove for another 15 minutes and finally got home in good time, tuckered out and glad to be back. I want to kiss the ground and thank the heavens we got back all in one piece. ...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Can we be friends ?

A lot of social network sites have been cropping up like mushrooms such as Friendster, Facebook, MySpace and so on. But I’ve been loyal to Friendster and Facebook as I have found a lot of my long lost friends. I admit it’s real fun. Had open myspace but it's inactive and do not have twitter.

I've been too lazy to blog, thus I enjoy surfing and try to find friends in Facebook. In one week, I saw 5 friends and we’re re-connected. We even exchanged mails to catch up. One day, I was chatting with a very good friend from college about reconnecting with friends. The thing is, it’s not only friends but suitors and Ex’s I was trying to locate…to be honest hahaha ! Well, I am just so curious to find out what have they become nothing more nothing less. So I told my friend that I found her ex. Her ex and us were good friends during University days. Well, it’s not my business to any further extent if they will invite each other. But my friend asked me if she’ll invite him so I told her why not? But she was hesitant because she does not want to create any problem between the couple. Goodness gracious, that was long time ago…15 years is not yesterday rolleyes ! I would understand if they just broke up recently. Plus she did not even remember how they broke up. In addition to that, she’s into a long time relationship and her ex is married with one kid. I don’t see any problem….well for me in that matter. After all, there is life after break-ups so do not be a prisoner of that I advised her. Do not put malice in inviting him. She just asked my two cents and that’s what I think. Well both of them are grown ups individuals. Their objectives in life have changed. They’ve been together only for 2 years during their time (as far as I know) and clicked. Separated with no hurt feelings. I guess, becoming friends worth a shot thru social networks.

I don’t know, but personally past is past except if the break-ups were striking and painful. Then, forget about inviting your ex’s. It’s just a matter of determining what intensity of break-ups a person have had from the past. What do you think about this? Is it really possible for them to become friends? I am curious to know your sides
lol !

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mimmmmmiiiii !!!

Scene 1 : Stick it on!

One morning, I went to lie down beside my daughter’s bed while she was still sleeping. I’ve waited for her to wake up so I can have my morning hug. After awhile, she woke up and I’ve had my dose of hug. Suddenly, she pointed up to her bed and told me “Regarde Maman” with a smile on her face and yet sleepy. I looked up and saw 5 stickers pasted on the headboard !!! I was fuming mad as those are not stickers!!! Mimmmmiiiiiii (with a high pitch tone)! How many times did I tell you that these are not stickers! These are stamps! You know perfectly well what are these as I have already explained to both of you. I took them off immediately and fortunately they were slightly stick on to the headboard. So there was no punishment. I just explained her again not to touch or get anything from the drawers. Well, I have understood as the stamps are designed depicting Walt Disney design. Blame it on the Post office!

Scene 2 : Cut it off!

At that same day later that afternoon, I saw my daughter trying to play something in our sofa. I got curious as she was really concentrated on something. I was in the dining table and ask her what was she doing. I went to see what it was….she was playing with our sofa back rest cover in which there is a fissure in it. And I was surprised because it was the only cover which has a bullet hole. Therefore, I asked both of them what happened. Sébastien looked at me and said “C’était la faute de Mimi” (It was Mimi’s fault). I looked Mimi and asked her how did it happen? Mayumi was avoiding me when I tried to look at her with my big eyes. My first thought was Mayumi, again? So I asked Sébastien, telling me that Mayumi cut it off with the scissors (the scissors I bought for them). Mimmmmiiiiii (the same banana)! I asked her why did she do that ? And so what will I expect from a 4 year old kid ??  Her excuses “Parce que j’en ai envie. Et puis je cru c’est un papier ! “ (It’s because I just want it. And then, I thought it was a paper). Nonsense !! Again, I need to repeat all over again especially to her that whenever they need to cut something they need to ask my permission. Telling them that it’s not prohibited because it’s part of learning but I need to be advised. I asked her to go to her room and stay there not until I asked her to come out. That was her punishment ! tsk tsk tsk !

Kids do the darndest things as we always say !

Saturday, June 27, 2009

well merited

Four days to go and summer break starts for us biggrin. It's not in my character to brag but I feel like bragging today! It's not a secret at all that parents like bragging about their children. Or probably, I am just proudly bursting with pride as a parent. Last week we have received our kid's class evaluation report and we were indeed happy of their performances at school. This year will be Sébastien's last year in kindergarten. Next school year will be the start of another challenge as he will enter CP (Cours Préparatoire) Preparatory course or the equivalent for Grade 1. First class of elementary school in French school system. The preparatory course is crucial for the students as it begins in a formal learning of reading. Of course, it may have started in big section of maternal level which is not mandatory in France. Despite this, the first non-mandatory schooling helped every students to prepare themselves to enter the Preparatory course which is compulsary. I know things will be different and harder but we're there to give them the full support they need. While Mayumi has to stay in kindergarten and will be on the next level called Moyenne Section (Middle Section) still in the kindergarten stage.

Translation : écrire (writing), comprendre (understading or comprehension), lire-identifier (read-identify), Mathematiques (mathematics)

Monday, June 08, 2009

On Mother's Day !

Aside from hugs.... kisses.....poems....emails.....e-cards.....etc and for the personalised gifts and cards I got from my lovely kids that made me ecstatically happy. This made my day.....received from a very good friend thanks a lot razz !!!! Happy mother's day to you too Hilda !

......And A Video !

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A story that makes a lot of sense

I have an inspiring story to share coming from a good friend (she’s like a big sister to me) whom I met when I arrived in France. She has been living here since 1980 and have had irregular status together with her 2 sisters when they first came to work in France. Her status has been regularised only after 10 years of working and hiding from the authority. Just imagine, 10 years of not seeing your family back home….undeniably complex.. Many times she has missed important birthdays and special occasions but she has compelling reasons for that. She has finished her degree back home. After graduation she worked with different companies but salary was not enough and she was not happy about it. Working abroad is a way out to earn a decent salary. And because they have encountered financial problems unfortunately, their business went bankrupt therefore she moved overseas together with her sisters in search of better opportunities. An option to grab with their eyes closed. It’s true that there is a big language barrier in France and the only job available is to work at home. Once she told me she’s happy earning a lot of money but money is not everything but it does provide help to our families. It’s all about losing almost what she has learned. The skills are the most important compensation and not the currency. It’s a matter of choosing where you want to be on the curve. That assessment to a great extent will have an impact to abilities to keep hold of one’s talent.

I told her there is nothing wrong with that as long as she’s happy about it and enjoying what she like. Besides, domestic is a decent job which pays well. But the thing is, she had many options available..…an opportunity to change its phase but overlooked them. I told her though it's never too late to be what you might have been. She told me a lot of stories of Filipinos working at home in France who are humble enough to accept the job as domestic helpers. They have a degree, name it ! Teachers, engineers, nurses, dentists, sales executives, computer graduates etc. Unfortunately, diplomas are not accepted in France and still need to undergo formations, trainings and get the equivalent of their diplomas and to speak French fluently.
But still their dreams does not stop there.

Despite how she bitterly admitted she was wrong to have missed her chance somehow her sisters were right about moving somewhere else. She proudly shares, her sisters did not wait for that regularisation instead they have considered other countries to look for better opportunities. At the moment, her sisters are working in a hospital as a head nurse and the other one is working in a big supermarket as a Supervisor somewhere in Canada. They’re living the life of their dreams. Good salary, better standing and most of all the importance of continuous learning for growth rolled into one. Consequently, she has a lot of friends who started working as domestics and later on left France in search of enhanced opportunities in other English speaking countries. I told her that these are the people who’s dream is to change their fate and live the life they've always wanted. An established vision that leads to setting goals, long-standing goals. And the largely enthused is the one who most value the objectives.

Everybody has dreams….and she has so I told her to go for it ! She has plans and she wishes to put them into action very soon. Life isn't like a rail train -- there are no permanent trails leading towards the future. If you fail on the other side why not run and try the other side, where the grass is probably greener !

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Panic in Boracay

An hour late from Manila to Boracay. GREAT ! Okay, fine I am used to delayed flight anyway as long as we’ll wait under a good condition. The waiting is finally over…. we’re then off to Boracay. The escapade started to get hard...damn hard! Arriving Boracay….POWER FAILURE…twice GREATER….take note during our stay and until when…I don’t know! Poor tourists. We were accompanied directly to our hotel room to put our stuffs then off to find a restaurant because our uncontrollable rumbling stomach were complaining. A few steps away from hotel we have found an authentic Filipino restaurant. Good quality service, clean and easy on the pocket. The plates are in an ideal form, the original native plates and banana leaves to complete that extra ordinary service. Delayed flight and power failure, are unimportant as we have compensated ourselves with that scrumptious lunch we have had. Good thing, everything was arranged for us by our tourist agent from ticket to hotel pick up/transfer and breakfast included. On that part, it was excellently well arranged.

Went back to hotel and get some relaxing moments. Later that afternoon we have strolled around the vicinity to check what possible activities we can hold during our 4 days trip. Just beside the hotel we have found a great diving shop managed by a French-German origin. We have also asked from our hotel receptionist for other activities like island hopping and snorkeling. The hotel offered us P1,800k for a day of island hopping and the use of snorkeling gears for free. Island hopping which turned into a total nightmare as it was windy and had big waves. For those who knew me, the motion sickness is becoming a handicap everytime we travel. Imagine me taking 2 tablets of Bonamine which unfortunately did not take effect. So will spare you that disgusting details. The second day was spent in swimming, relaxation or just simply enjoying the white long stretched white sand beach.

I have heard a lot of good ratings and reviews from Locals and Foreigners about Boracay. I’ve been to a lot of beaches in Quezon, Batangas, Cebu and Bataan Provinces and it was my first time to visit Boracay. It’s true that Island of Boracay is a mixture of crystal blue clear water, sugary sand beaches and abundant landscapes which becomes an ideal sanctuary that will certainly captivate every tourist’s expectations. I won’t over describe Boracay anymore everything has been said and proven. The thing is, I was quite disappointed of my first experience in Boracay when I saw few plastic bottles and other stuffs floating on top of the water surface. If I can remember, before we boarded on the boat from Caticlan we have paid 50pesos for Environmental fee per person whereas kids are free. The amount was not that big though but I was probably overrating Boracay. Just to get some information, I then asked the caretaker of the hotel. He was honest to tell me those were caused by typhoons. Now, that is comprehensible. A lot comes from Caticlan where some people does not care about the environment which apparently affects the beautiful island of Boracay. I must admit that it will be difficult to clean the water of the island if there’s always this thug mentality of the people. It’s not impossible to clean but it’s just unfair for those who respect the environment ! We went farther until to that famous Grotto of the island to swim and snorkel. But to my surprise we were advised by snorklers not to go near the Grotto because there are a lot of broken bottles. I also blame the tourist for irresponsible behaviour that is. I was also a witness of this disorder when a woman who’s obviously living in that island (she was wearing a halfly-cut jeans and t-shirt while swimming telling to her child they need to go home) smoking in the midst of the beach. When she’s done smoking she just flicked the butt under our noses into the water . What can I do, I just threw her a killer glance and she just ignored me. That night, even we had have this impression we still appreciate the beauty of the island itself. The white sand beach, the hotel, the service, the people, the nature are irrefutably great. It’s just sickening to see some of them having primitive attitude and that there is more and more unconcerned of what pass off around them. They don’t obviously realised the chance of living to a some kind of paradisiacal island. Okay enough of my whingy, yet heart-felt rants.

Once and for all another journey that turned almost into a mishap. One night we were dining in one of the restaurants between Station 1 and 2. I am sure you can imagine the tourists everywhere. My son asked me to accompany him to the toilet which I did. My daughter asked me the same thing wherein I told her to wait patiently because Sébastien is still inside the toilet. I even asked her to play while waiting for her brother which she did. So before I went to check out on Sébastien she was beside our table playing with the sand and I asked hubby to look out on her. When I came back, asking hubby about Mayumi he told me that she followed me to the toilet . So I went back to check on her if she went to the same direction (still Sébastien inside the toilet). Asking if he saw her sister and he said no. A mother’s instinct is rarely wrong I don’t know why but I had this bad presentiment. I hastily went back to the table and told Bernard that Mayumi was not there. GREATER and GREATER…. Mayumi went in a different direction. We asked the waitresses and waiters if they saw our daughter in which they confirmed she was playing sand a while ago. But at that instant she was nowhere to found. We panicked as we decided to go in separate ways in search for Mayumi. I asked Sébastien to stay put and not to move until we get back. I saw my son crying because he was upset about losing his sister. I also asked the staff to keep their eyes on him. We were running mad in search for my daughter. I started to pray….pray really hard! It was not easy as it was crowded and it was quite dark. 5 minutes….. 10 minutes….. had passed no traces of Mayumi. My heart was thumping so hard I thought I was going to die. It scared us really bad thinking that someone took her because she was alone. Intrusive thoughts started to disturbed us. Hubby decided to positioned himself out from the crowded place. He went off near the seashore as it would definitely easier for him to see the people from there. Hélas, he saw Mayumi trying to find her way back to the restaurant with her stuffed toy tucked in her arms. Husband ran swiftly into her direction and when their eyes met he took Mayumi in his arms and securely embraced her. Husband nearly wept over her from the fear of losing her. As soon as I saw them with my hands still trembling it was like I just woke up from a nightmare. What was funny, Mayumi had no apprehension, no sense that something was amiss at all. As if she did not understand what was happening around her. She only understood after we have explained that we were looking for her thinking we almost lost her. Back to the restaurant, Sébastien wiped away his misty eyes as he gazed at her. He ran to meet us….rushing out to hug his sister tight and said “Tu m’a fait peur… Je ne veux pas te perdre parce que je t’aime ma souer ” ! (You scared me ... I do not want to lose you because I love you my sister). End of panic !

Friday, May 15, 2009

Exclusively for singles

I didn't know about this tradition until I read it from Le Monde. The street festival which is the Feast of San Roque dates back from 18th century, when the citizens of Valenzuela initially gave gratitude to their patron saint, San Roque. Women from different barangays (neighbourhoods) of the city come simultaneously to dance in a street procession which lasts day and night.

The legend says it that if a woman wishes to find a boyfriend or a husband she needs to join the street dance before her wish could be granted by San Roque. Thus, this Saint's Day serves to separate single women who are searching from those who are already taken. Apparently, much easier for men to select the woman of their dreams ! As anticipated then, the parade of dancing ladies is the source for grand animation and the ambiance is always joyful.

So singles out there men and women, foreigners and locals...visit Valenzuela Philippines and find your luck biggrin !

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring framework

We have many reasons to celebrate. First, it was Mayumi's 4th birthday though we haven't celebrated it yet as we were still in the Alps. I plan to do this when I come back from one week hiatus. Second, Sébastien already obtained his première étoile (first star) a month ago. Then we took the advantage of the time before the spring break end. We asked him if he wanted to pass the test to get the deuxième étoile (second star) and he was fine to take the challenge. They both took ski lessons for one week. The training started from 9 in the morning to 12 in the afternoon. The test will be held Friday morning of 24th of April. Those hot and gloomy afternoons spent in diverse activities like swimming, promenade while observing the marmots and hiking by the use of snow shoes/rackets.

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It seems so fast, time has passed and the big day has come. Friday came and we are really happy to announce that Sébastien and Mayumi passed the test. Sébastien had the second star which is advance for his age. Third, Mayumi jumped from one level to another Poussin to Ourson (instead of Poussin to Piou-Piou) likewise advance for a beginner. That day has passed eventful since they got their medals
razz .

For the meantime, enjoy the the pictures because we're off to London tonight wink!

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See you when we get back ! Have a happy Spring break to everyone !

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Trip : Part 4 Ending of Marinduque Travel

After that little misadventure we went back to the Monastery safe and released ! We thought that a good shower will do to make us feel better. Afterwards, Manang called us telling that my Auntie is waiting for us in the parlour. It was an unforgettable encounter as it was the first time I have introduced my husband and kids after 15 years or more. Certainly, it was time to catch up for the lost time. Well, I won’t go into details for the catching up moments otherwise this post will take eternity. I’ll ask you to let your imagination run free this time. But I will tell you one thing, before when I was still an adolescent I remember visiting my Auntie in Monastery of St. Claire in Sariaya with the whole family and relatives during big occasions. It was completely different as we can only hear her speak and see her hand while talking behind a curtain. This time, their vision has changed…I was surprised…was happy to see her face at long last without barriers that separate us. After spending long hour’s chit chatting it’s time for her to return to their prayer session. As for us, it was dinner-to-bedtime.

Next day, there was a Sunday mass at 6 in the morning. Of course, I was the only one who was able to attend the mass. Though we have a Filipino priest in Marseille, attending mass in the Philippines is still something different. The ambiance is still what I am longing to feel again … is more solemn, peaceful and more young people!

After the mass, I have waited for my little family to wake up for morning breakfast. I can tell you the hospitality was definitely something we can be proud of. It’s truly a familiar quality of Filipinos that made us a stand out. Knowing that we are not the only people or country that could be warm and as friendly, but our approach is known to be extraordinary to foreigners. A true hospitality that comes naturally from the heart. How we maintain the image and will stay as the Archipelago of Smile.

This is a typical breakfast prepared but not as many as these during normal breakfast at home. After that superb and mouth watering breakfast we were received in the parlour by my Auntie including the rest of the sisters (mongha) or nuns with their superior. Auntie introduced them to us and the conversation went on smoothly. They were even teasing my kids. Like they want to hear them speak the French language and try to speak some Tagalog words like “Kumusta po?” Salamat po.” While interviewing my dear honey on how does he feel to be in the Philippines? Did he like the little ballade we did around Marinduque? Or how integrated I am in France? Etcetera. A beautiful and happy conversation with the nuns. It’s just so sad that we needed to leave before 12 noon to get ready for boarding back to Sariaya.

The parlour wherein they usually welcome their families and visitors.

That day was definitely unforgettable as we had the chance to go inside the parlour and embrace my auntie and the other sisters before leaving. Well, except for my husband who stayed outside the parlour and contented himself to thank them for their hospitality…obviously you know the reason. They have given us packed snacks and drinks for the travel. Some religious souvenirs which they themselves have made. Surely, the happiness remains imprinted as we embraced them to bid not goodbyes but see you next time. Even the rest of the nuns were happy to have been visited and connect to the world.

Off to Balanacan Port we have kept wonderful memories and will surely visit her again on our next vacation. This time going back to Sariaya will be different as we took a bigger ship. Although it took us 5 hours but then it was safer to cross the island.

Arriving Tayabas, there was my family impatiently waiting for us and the stories that goes along.

More on my next posts....Boracay, Palawan and Tagaytay trip.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The trip Part 3 : Marinduque Province

It’s time to continue to post about our last year’s trip in the Philippines. I’ve talked about them arriving NAIA and spending some time in Manila. And I blame Makis for making a brilliant post about Philippine gastronomy lol. Now, I am greedy hankering after about foods and everything about Philippines. In between my “golden week” spent in my province of Quezon we headed to the Province of Marinduque to see my Tita Lucy (an Auntie from my mother side) who is a nun and whom I haven’t seen for maybe 15 years or more. We were accompanied by a driver to go to Port of Tayabas, Lucena City. Going to Marinduque could be reached by many ports from Lucena City, on to the Mainland. Balanacan Port, Cawit Port or Buyabod Port are the ports of call for Marinduque Island . We took a small ferry in crossing the island and will take us 4 hours to arrive to Balanacan.

When husband saw the ferry he was extremely worried but I never even hinted anything as it was not shown in his face. Probably, to avoid scary thoughts I just knew it when we arrive to Balanacan Port safe and sound. Basically, the ferry is really small and could probably cater 40 passengers. It was not air-conditioned only electric fans which are not actually a big deal for us. And even if the spaces between chairs and backrest are narrow which are obviously made for Filipino sizes we were okay and have never heard my kids complain. While husband is laughing because he does not fit at all. But what bothered husband were the close windows, no way to escape in cases of emergency. Although there are life saver jackets but still it could be detrimental to passengers. The only escape would be the main entrance of the ferry which is undeniably daunting ! We were supposed to take the big ship but arriving to the Port we were just in time for the small ferry ready to cross the island. Plus, we didn’t want to waste the opportunity to leave earlier than planned. With tickets in-hand, we quickly boarded to the small ferry. Although ferry serves a wide variety of choices of pack lunch like rice with chicken, rice adobo etc. we have kept ourselves busy eating sandwiches Mom prepared for the travel, skyflakes and boy bawang, my kids love eating those a lot.

At 3 o’clock we landed to Balanacan and needed to ride jeepneys, tricycles or some sort of local taxi like L-300 van going to the Monastery of St. Claire We were offered for a van because we have kids but opted for a tricycle. Don’t blame me for that, kids insisted for it. They find it completely extraordinary, which is true as this is an ingenious creation of the Filipino people. It was a 45 minutes tricycle ride along the curving roads from Balanacan Port going to the Monastery. The view was just remarkable….everything is just green! Finally, we arrived to the Monastery and welcomed by the caretaker Mang Pido asking us how much we paid for the tricycle. I told him we paid for P200. He wasn’t happy about it saying that normal tariff would be P150. I told him it’s okay I don’t mind to pay P50 more just consider is as a tip. But I do understand his reaction because he wants driver to be honest and avoid taking advantage of tourists. If there is tip given it would be the passenger who will decide and not by adding some charges on the normal tariff.

He took our bag and brought us to an air-conditioned room with 2 queen size bed. We were like in a 3 star hotel, kinda surprising. I have never seen Monastery like this. We headed down to the parlour (as they call it) to wait for my Auntie. Finally, she went out smiling. Excited, surprise....we were both going through mix emotions. We have talked around 15 minutes to welcome us for the time being. She just excused herself from the prayer session and will get back after talking to us. Proposed us to rest a little bit but we would rather explore the island.

The other caretaker Manang accompanied us during our short escapade. A very young tricycle driver who speaks a little bit of French with us. Driving their own tricycle during weekends but an Engineer student during weekdays.

Our service to go around the island.

This is the Boac, Marinduque Cathedral.

After that small tour from the Cathedral this time we were way off down the beach. Do not be surprised as we did not end up going a white beach. We just would like the kids to swim since the weather was quite hot and humid. We asked them to stay near the seashore and do not go too far because at any given moment it would soon be a high tide.

Now, this is quite terrifying part of this little promenade on the beach. An adventure almost became a misadventure. We were sitting around 50 meters away from kids. I just asked husband to take a look of the pictures taken. In that split of seconds, we saw Mayumi gasping...spluttering.....and apparently in trouble. While Sébastien tried to calm her and reached her hand as she gasped for air. Husband sounded like a tornado to me as he ran to off swiftly to their rescue. Obviously, Mayumi wanted to follow her brother who went just a little bit farther and since she's smaller she almost drowned. Whew, that was close!

The story does not end here. More on my next post wink

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ma racine de solitude

Je n’oublie pas ces jours
Il est temps de méditer
Une pause éphémère
Au milieu de brouillard
Purifiez mon âme
Changez mon regard
Seras Vous me pardonner ?
Malgré le ciel sombre
Une simple bougie et une prière.
Le monde s'éclaire.

Aujourd'hui c'est Pâques,
Quelle que soit la religion
Pratiquant ou non pratiquant,
Fêtons parmi nous,
Une occasion unique
Rendrez gloire a notre Seigneur !

Joyeuses Pâques à vous tous !

Translation :

I don't forget these days
It is time to meditate
A short break
In the midst of mist
Cleanse my soul
Change my gaze
Will you forgive me?
Despite the dark sky
A single candle and a prayer.
The world brightens up.

Today is Easter
Whatever religion
Practicing or non practicing
Celebrate with us
A unique occasion
To glorify our Lord !

Happy Easter to everyone !

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Reality Check : SIMPLIFY

Life is not complex, we are complex ! I believe that life is not really difficult but it’s rather us who make things complicated. It’s either you choose between good or bad, straight or not. We have the tendency to presume things. Long enough and too ahead of the actual life condition. Most of us tell one thing, yet does another thing and most of the time contradictory of own decision.

I was 28 when I had to make the biggest decision in my life. I had to choose between my family, keep my job, my friends and everything that concerns me and the matters of the heart. I have chosen the call of my heart even if it means that I would live very far from family, being jobless, living abroad and not being able to speak the language. In short, was an impasse and no turning back. I admit, it was not an easy choice because I am not certain what will be my life in the other side of the world. And I am sure I am not the only one in this floating ship. But at least, I made a decision. I never doubt myself or the man I love. I guess, I strived for simplicity so as to overcome life’s hurdles. At present, I have a fine life because I confronted the fear and assumed my decision. I choose what I wanted for myself without asking too many questions. Stop the what ifs, the I should have done this phrases, otherwise the worst thing that will happen to me is to live unhappily. I have focused my entire self on what I want to do, what I want to become in my life and not on welcoming the fear of not doing something….sure it takes a lot of guts.

I guess, things are not really complicated especially in choosing what you want and what you need for in life. It could be complicated if you have doubts from the choices you make then it will apparently become a problem. At some point in time, I also learned a few exceptions that there are also things or situations beyond our control and we cannot just choose. The only thing we can do is wait for that chance to come. But if you have a clear choice without getting into difficult condition ….then jump and do not falter.

It is wiser to settle your satisfaction based on your life’s experiences. Only you, who knows what will ultimately make you satisfied. So then, next time you’re faced with a big decision in life, do not search further because you know exactly what you want. Provided that you never allow a decision cost you something special. Screw material things – those are secondary and it’s not you. If a decision costs you material things, jobs, positions or whatever, you’ll get over it. Nevertheless, if it costs you someone that you love or would like to have, get ready to make a cut out of big “L” and tape it to your forehead…. L for loser ! Waking up one day telling to yourself why are you so darn stupid to let that chance but you blew it. Or regretting that should have done but you did missed out on a great opportunity. That is surely pathetic !

I probably took the standard deviations in my life in a lost forest but I chose the one less complicated and that has made all the difference

Sunday, March 29, 2009

La sagesse de 6 ans

A la télé, Il y a une semaine en regardant les infos nous avons appri l'enlèvement d'un enfant de 3 ans et démi dans le Sud de la France à Arles. Elle s'appelle Élise avec une mère Russe et un père Français depuis Vendredi dernièr et untrouvable jusqu'a aujourd'hui. Visiblement, l'origin de cette enlèvement est la mère Russe car le couple se déchirent pour la garde de l'enfant. La fillette a été enlevée par deux hommes et une femme alors qu'elle revenait de l'école avec son père qui a été violemment agressé.

C'est vrai que c'est souvent le cas de rupture du mariage et ce n'est pas facile pour tout le monde. Bref, mon mari juste pour donner un exemple m'a dit "Voila, les circonstances pour les couples qui se séparent. Je pense que c'est qui se passera si un jour on doit se separer" ! Mais attention, çela ne signifie pas qu'on le pensent aussi fortement. C'est juste une triste verité dans la vie. Donc, ce genre d'échange n'est pas hors norme malgré tout.

Sans savoir, que notre fils (il était à table entrain de diner) avec toutes ses petites oreilles sont à l'ecoute et prendre les choses trop au sérieux . Notre fils ainé nous a dit " Moi, je ne veux pas que vous vous séparez.....parce que je vous aime tous les deux! " C'était exactement ces mots qui nous a tellement scotché! Pourquoi ? Car il ne choisit pas entre nous. Il peut aussi dire que si nous nous séparions, il vivrai soit avec Papa ou Maman ni personne. Et là, je le vois sur son visage creusé par l'inquiétude et la peur en nous regardant dans les yeux. Ensuite, nous avons l' assuré que cela ne se produira pas. Tout en expliqant que le mariage est beau si les deux partenaires doivent travailler dur pour éviter l'autosatisfaction. Que parfois, la vie de mariage a beaucoup de complications. Il y a des problèmes mais il faut regler une façon efficace au fur et à mesure plutôt que de les laisser s'accumuler, d'attaquer l'autre ou de vouloir avoir le dessus à tout prix.

Nous avons été tous les deux profondément touchés par ces message lucides et sans la moindre hésitation. Une petites phrases pleines de sagesse !


On TV, a week ago while watching the news we have learned the abduction of a child 3 and a half years in the South of France in Arles. Her name is Elise with a Russian mother and a French father since last Friday and untraceable until today. Clearly, the origin of this kidnapping is the mother because the Russian-French couple are into separation and after for child's custody. The girl was abducted by two men and one woman as she returned from school with his father who was violently assaulted.

It is true that it is often the case of marriage breakdown and it is not easy for everyone. In short, my husband just to give an example said, 'Look, the circumstances of couples who separate. I think this will happen if one day we are going to separate! But beware, this does not mean we are strongly thinking of it. It's just a sad truth in life. So, this kind of exchange is not unusual after all.

Without knowing that our son (having dinner) with all his little ears listening and taking things too things seriously. Our elder son said "I do not want you to be separated ..... because I love you both! " It was exactly his words that stuck us! Why ? Because he did not choose between us. He may also say that if we separate, he will live with either Mom or Dad or anyone. And then, I see his furrowed face caused by the anxiety and fear as we look in his eyes. After we have assured him that this will not happen. While explaining that marriage is great if both partners will work hard to avoid complacency. That sometimes married life has many complications. There are problems but we must settle effectively rather than leaving them to accumulate, to attack the other or want to gain the battle at all costs.

We were both deeply touched by his clear message and without any hesitation. A small phrases of wisdom!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Learn to identify

The whole world got scared of made in China products "black hearted goods". I think it is necessary to differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China and vice-versa. The first 3 digits of barcode 690.691.692 is made in CHINA and 471 is Made in Taiwan.

It is our right to know simple things when buying to be alerted. The government and related departments never educate the consumer public.

00-13: USA & Canada
20-29: In-Store Functions
30-37: France
40-44: Germany
45: Japan (also 49)
46: Russian Federation
471: Taiwan
474: Estonia
475: Latvia
477: Lithuania
479: Sri Lanka
480: Philippines
482: Ukraine
484: Moldova
485: Armenia
486: Georgia
487: Kazakhstan
489: Hongkong
49: Japan (JAN-13)
50: United Kingdom
520: Greece
528: Lebanon
529: Cyprus
531: Macedonia
535: Malta
539: Ireland
54: Belgium & Luxembourg
560: Portugal
569: Iceland
57: Denmark
590: Poland
594: Romania
599: Hungary
600 & 601: South Africa
609: Mauritius
611: Morocco
613: Algeria
619: Tunisia
622: Egypt
625: Jordan
626: Iran
64: Finland
690-692: China
70: Norway
729: Israel
73: Sweden
740: Guatemala
741: El Salvador
742: Honduras
743: Nicaragua
744: Costa Rica
746: Dominican Republic
750: Mexico
759: Venezuela
76: Switzerland
770: Colombia
773: Uruguay
775: Peru
777: Bolivia
779: Argentina
780: Chile
784: Paraguay
785: Peru
786: Ecuador
789: Brazil
80 - 83: Italy
84: Spain
850: Cuba
858: Slovakia
859: Czech Republic
860: Yugoslavia
869: Turkey
87: Netherlands
880: South Korea
885: Thailand
888: Singapore
890: India
893: Vietnam
899: Indonesia
90 & 91: Austria
93: Australia
94: New Zealand
955: Malaysia

This may be petty but it will help you to be aware. China milk poisoning incident and white rabbit candy (found traces of Melamine ) made everyone afraid to look at the daily news event. Everyday, the reports may vary. No one can clearly tell us what to eat and not. Just let us consider this and please remember the following bar codes. Just to be fair and honest, I still buy China products but I try to be vigilant in choosing them.

Monday, March 16, 2009


This an inkling on daily life and social encounter as a mother or a half stranger in France. I know this or I may sound a raging lunatic, irritated, pissed off whatever you call it. But it’s been 4 years my son is going to the same school and nothing has changed. What I mean by change? I always see this group of mothers who assemble together every morning....talking non-stop! I know, it’s not my business and I should mind my own. But my concern and probably partially my business is that why not do their early rumouring session and park their cars somewhere else? This is to give way to other parents who are in a haste not to be late at work after bringing their kids to school. Since narrow streets in Marseille are common these mothers make parking more complex. Parents are often oblige to park their cars further away and walk their kids until school premises. If only this crowd will disappear parking just in front of the school will help parents to avoid cramming and wasting time turning around just to look for a parking lot. Many parents let their children get off the car right in front of the gate and let them get inside the school to gain time.

Not only that, more often they stare at you from head to toe and I find this very complex situation with a lot of tension in each other as we exchange glances. Stare that’s isn’t normal. I don’t know if it’s intimidation as they cast envious glances. It could be normal for them but they are not for me. I don’t know why but it’s very an uncomfortable feeling. I’m not being paranoid but I have the notion they’re talking about me or someone else. Here are some reality about human beings which may surprise you. Staring at those who are different is an ordinary response for many of us. If someone is extremely tall we stare at them. If someone is wearing a plunging neckline or provocative clothes we stare at them. If someone has a handicap we can’t help looking at them. We human beings are snooping individuals. We gaze at stuffs which intrigue us. And only the curious minds have something to discover. If the object of our interest is another individual indeed they are different to us. And because I am Asian, I am certain that I am one of the bits and pieces of their interest. I remember a Mom (African Black) who sends her 3 children to the same school. At first, we just say Bonjour to each other. Since we come across everyday we became sort of friends. She confided to me, that she’s not happy about how these people look at her just because she has a handicap child. And this and that, I won’t go into the details as it’s exasperating evil.

Oh Man, do I sound I extremely dislike them? Yes, I don’t like them when they block the way to the entrance just to check out the latest gossip. I hate them when they stay around the area while others are having a hard time to look for a parking space. I hate them when they stare at people and envision yourself in a surroundings where there is a continuous sound of vibration— bbbzzzz! It’s pissing me off :ayokona: ! Manners such those can be avoided and is considered boorish and infuriating. Do they really have a life ? The gate is already close and still session is not close. They seem to have nothing better.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Exercise or Operation ?

Frustration is an emotional reaction to situation where one is hindered from arriving at a personal objective. I am speaking about this because of self-disappointment. There’s something else that I’m incredibly passionate about and I am capable but not enough able to accomplish for the moment. Certainly, we all have our strong interests. We all have passion in life…work, kids, hobbies, movies, music, collectors item and many more. Mine is sports ! Occasionally, my desire to do something extraordinary in an extraordinary day is not just right., then comes frustration.

We went to Alps last week and sadly, there were no surf monitors available because it was during peak season. Then, I tried snowboarding by myself and I can tell you I have managed to do it well. The problem is my cross ligament injury. When I tried to get up it was then I felt my unstable knee. Before, it was only my left knee which is feeble. Now the right knee goes as well. And so I feel really disappointed because I can’t finally do snowboarding. It says that “Better snowboarding techniques come from mental and physical training”. I have the mental but I don’t have the physical power. I had have rigid trainings during my younger years plus was also pushing myself to the limits and give the best in me. After college, I got a job and needed to work thus, I cannot come to trainings regularly until I finally stopped. I reintegrated myself back to favourite sports. When I arrived in France, I was searching for a club to finally re-do the sports after 4 years of inactivity. I was mentally ready but not physically capable and it was there I had my cross ligament injury. I saw few doctors already in the past. Some advised me to operate but I did not entirely agreed as it could become worse after the surgery. Added to this, after surgery I needed to do re-education or physical therapy for 6 months or more. If I will undergo operation, who will oversee things at home? Driving my kids at school and do all the chores? Well, it’s not that complicated I can hire someone to do this for me. What I am afraid is the aftermath of the operation. What if things will turn into catastrophe?

A lot (friends who had have the same problem and Doctors of Kinesitherapy) recommend me to exercise which will lead to increase strength in subsequent work-outs and ultimately greater muscle gains. I agree more, great method and worry free. I just hope that I will regain my physical stability. I hope things will be over and I can enjoy things the way I want them. Did you have the same problem? I will be more happy to hear your opinion.

Friday, February 20, 2009

2T's = tips and tag

It’s a known fact that milk and dairy products are good for building bones. But didn’t you know that limestone (Calcaire in French) which comes from tap water is the best for building bones? As I was watching E=M6 (it’s a French program mainly directed towards research, new technology and hard sciences). Limestone is rich in calcium carbonate. We know of more recent years that calcium content in water is considered almost as well as that contained in milk and dairy product. So if your water is rich in limestone, is good for your bones and helps prevent Osteoporosis. Check the water supply in your place if it is not rich in other elements are less good for health (nitrates, lead pipes etc.) and if it’s hygienic.

Cutting without crying…..Monster Onions! Yes, I speak about onions that we use for cooking. The matter has reached a juncture, when cutting onion turn out to be a constant nightmare. We always cry in cutting them.

“When an onion is cut, the ruptured onion cells release enzymes which break down nearby sulphur compounds into oxides and acids. These re-form to make a gas. This gas moves into your eyes and then mixes with your tears to form sulphuric acid.–from Alton Brown in a Good Eats Moment”

You could end up cutting onions like her razz ! Images from here , thanks !

There are no realistic way to resolve this but we can drastically diminish the crying moments. So to avoid tears, peel onions under running water. You can also place them in the freezer a few minutes before you peel them or dip them in a few very hot water. Or trim off the ends, put onions on kitchen paper in the base of the oven and microwave on High mode for a minute. You will be able to get rid of the skin more easily and won't cry when you chop them up.

25 Random Things

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you!

Thanks for this tag Mahalia and Nao but I won't tag anyone but if you want to tell more about yourself please feel free !

1. Blogging is my therapy, it’s not that I am insane I just like writing them down to express, to rant, to laugh, to cry and learn. Silly, dilly what kind of fool am i ?

2.I love reading books to my kids before they go to bed. Now that my kids are into school they correct my pronunciation thus I learn French at the same time.

3. Love washing our cars.

4. Love doing outdoors sports even in the cold winter!

5. I love practicing my French writing when I write my blog.

6. I am a fan of martial arts since I was a kid.

7. Since I am a stay at home Mom I am very enthusiasts in surfing the net for employment submit my CV, we’ll never know.

8. I hate pressing of all the household chores.

9. Love chatting with family and friends.

10. I love dancing.

11. I know I am not a good cook, I don’t have a magic touch but I like inviting friends over for lunch, dinner or organizing party ! IRONIC and I love to experiment in the kitchen. Terrified ???

12. I am not good in tennis and golf is boring me.

13. My favourite colour is blue, well many says it’s the colour for men but I don’t mind I am not very feminine either.

13. Instead of drinking Coke I replace them with sparkling water, Badoit or Perrier is perfect.

14. I miss the Philippine Mangoes !!!

15. Addicted to Chippy and Boy Bawang !

16. I am not an artist myself but I dream to be one.

17. I am persuaded that I will learn to snowboard and I am working on it....patiently!!!

18. I was once in the newspaper for winning the Regional TKD sports competition held in Zamboanga.

19. I am a positive thinker.

20. Have motion sickness and I cannot live without my Nautamine.

21. I hate smoking and gambling !

22. Hoping that customer service in France will improve rolleyes !

23. I am not a computer geek but I'm figuring things out by myself.

24. I love my province Sariaya Quezon.

25. I want to travel around the world if the budget permits of course.

26. I love to learn another language, either Spanish, Italian or German (this is a give away)