The Year That Was 2010

Last year, I made ten goals for 2010. Of the 10, only a couple were accomplished. Major failure. Lesson learned for 2011, I will write down ATTAINABLE goals.

Nope, not gonna happen.
  • We didn't find our way back to Manila. However, we did leave Cebu. God has a better plan for us and the three of us are here in Bangkok.
  • I didn't get to join any small group in Cebu. The schedules just did not work out.
  • I also did not get to attend a Victory Weekend. Sigh...
  • I had no time to bake cupcakes. I ended up buying cupcakes.
  • We saved, saved, saved but we all spent, spent, spent. We will do better next year.
  • No welcoming 2011 in Boracay. We will welcome it here by the Chao Praya River.
Yes, I made it happen!
  • I finally adjusted to motherhood. And I love being a mother to Javi most of the time. Of course, there were times when I needed to take a break. The best thing with being a stay-at-home mother is you get to witness every milestone. I wouldn't trade that for any other job in the world.
  • I worked on a couple of projects from home. It felt great to do the same work while taking care of my little boy and be paid for it.

And I have the new year to do it all over again...
  • I will continue to strive to be a better wife. This is always an ongoing process, and will remain under this heading.
  • Major failure on the keeping fit and losing weight part. One of my priorities for next year is to lose all the pounds I gained in Cebu.

Looking back, we are grateful for:

Jed's new job at Shangri-la Bangkok

Our new home city - Bangkok, Thailand

Javi's 1st Birthday

Javi's Dedication at Victory Church in Cebu

Our trip to Baguio with Javi

Our Bacolod Trip

My mother's recovery from a stroke-like attack

A wonderful year in Cebu

My two projects

We are grateful for our families,
friends who are like family,
new friends,
and people who just touched our lives.

It had been one amazing journey.

Christmas Away from Home

For clarification, "home" in the title refers to my home country, the Philippines. Although, home for me now is where my two boys are.

Back to to my Christmas experience in a Buddhist country. Have you ever had one of those days where you try so hard to go well but it didn't? Now that was how Christmas day went for me. Christmas eve was great. We had dinner at the cafe. I even caught two fireworks display.

Merry Christmas!

The dessert station is calling my name!

My two loves

About to try the candied apple

It actually started right, I woke up early and headed to the gym for a bit of exercise. Got back to our room the same usual time as Jed had to work that day. Christmas day is not a holiday in Thailand. I had a whole day of activities planned for Javi and me, and later with Jed.

I was supposed to finish sorting the laundry as quick as possible, then Javi and I were to brave the train ride to go to Dean & Deluca for my cup of coffee. Then back just in time for to check out the hotel's activities for kids for Christmas. We would then meet Jed before 2 o'clock to view several apartment units with our broker. We would've ended the day at Central to watch the lights and what have you.

What actually happened was, it took a lot longer sorting the laundry. I got caught up with distractions here and there. Javi and I left for Dean & Deluca just in time for lunch. Eek!

Iced latte from Dean & Deluca

A photo by the Christmas tree taken by a kind-hearted stranger

We got back in the hotel and we hardly had time to go check out the Christmas activities for the kids. I was hoping Javi could catch a nap but he was too excited, he did not sleep. Then off we went to meet our broker. And we were apartment hunting on Christmas afternoon.

Apartment viewing #1

Apartment viewing #2

The apartment viewing tired me out that by the time we reached the mall, I was in no mood to walk some more. Vertigo hit me while I was changing Javi's diaper in a tiny kiosk. It would have been nice to check out the new mall we were in. Maybe some other time.

We headed to CentralWorld as we heard they had all these activities for Christmas. Coming from a country who celebrates Christmas as early as September, I didn't see anything exciting. The highlight of our time in CentralWorld, looking for a diaper changing station. Javi's timing couldn't have been more perfect. Vertigo attacked again. We decided it was time to go back to the hotel. The walk from CentralWorld to the Siam BTS station was far. Talk about people traffic on the middle part of the walkway. I was so tempted to suggest we take a cab instead but traffic anywhere we look at was not moving. This incident made me miss the Philippines, Cebu, our car, the festivities with my family and friends. I was crying while walking to the Siam station.

When we reached our room, I curled up in the bed and asked Jed to order my comfort food of Spaghetti Carbonara. Then I just slept.

I wished Christmas was more memorable for the little one. We couldn't splurge on gifts as we were running low on cash. Payday is still a week away. Jed gave the little boy a remote controlled car and this xylophone. Guess what, he enjoys the xylophone more. I just love how he wants the simpler things in life.

Javi with the gift he most enjoys

Praying that our New Year celebration willl be much better. I have a feeling it will be. Jed is off from work. Payday is here. Happy days are here.

Note: I started writing this entry 27th of December but couldn't finish it due to a terrible migraine attack. I only finished it today, December 30.

Sawasdee Ka!

It's our second week here in Bangkok. So far, so good.

Well, we're still here at the Shangri-la Hotel in Bangkok. Beautiful property. We wake up everyday to a view of the Chao Praya River. And since we arrived, I have already watched four fireworks display. I'm sure Christmas and New Year will be spectacular.

Our view, the Chao Praya River

Shangri-la Wing of the Shangri-la Hotel, Bangkok

Our stuff/shipment hasn't arrived. We're lacking some documents which is the cause of delay. In the meantime, we are also apartment hunting.

This is my longest stay in a hotel. While I am not complaining and enjoying the great service and wonderful facilities, I can't wait to move into our own place. We arrived in Bangkok with 120+ kilos of baggage. There are still so many things that I forgot or we included in the shipment that I wish we had right now - my books, Javi's gear, toys, clothes and my clothes.

I found myself having time here, to the point that I feel...bored. I'm grateful I don't have household chores to do. So when Jed goes off to work, I am left taking care of Javi.

The real superstar here is the little boy. He seems to love Bangkok. He suddenly turned into Mr. Congeniality, waving at hotel guests, hotel staff, and just about everyone. And they just adore him. Hotel staff would give him candies and one gave him a toy. People would give up their seat on the train for us. We actually feel special. Amidst all the attention and new surroundings, Javi finally took his first steps. We can now go around while he holds on to one hand. So proud of my little boy.

Javi likes hanging out by the pool where he waves at the hotel staff and guests

He likes to play under the room service cart. Think it's time to buy him a toy car.

I am slowly exploring what this city has to offer us. Well, things are looking up. I like what I see. Bangkok is definitely promising. It may be a bit difficult going around with the little boy. I miss not having a car. Although I doubt if I would want to drive here. Traffic is as crazy as Manila's. Riding the BTS Skytrain is convenient but it can be pretty exhausting when you are carrying an 11kg baby/toddler plus the stroller. However, Javi seems to like the train. He would play and touch anyone who sits next to us. Oh dear...

We go around like this -- I carry him on a sling.

Walking the streets of Bangrak

The street leading to the Shangri-la

You know you're in Thailand when Ronald McDonald greets you this way

And you get served pineapple pie

Apart from the hotel, the only place we have been to is Siam Paragon. This week, I will attempt to check out Dean & Deluca and finally attend church service. Well what have you, it's the Christmas weekend.

Our weekend getaway, Siam Paragon

My two boys and the gingerbread house

Jed and Javi outside Siam Paragon

We are also apartment hunting. No one ever told me looking at apartments is enjoyable. The apartment units here are impressive. Fully furnished with the latest appliances and furniture. Magnificent view. Has a pool, playground, and gym. We need to find the right one within our budget. I kind of like this one unit which is walking distance to Dean & Deluca.

Grocery shopping is fun. Can you imagine finding your favorite bottle of shampoo in Thai characters? I am relying on my memory to remember the exact packaging of the brands of the items I buy in the Philippines. So far it has failed me. I thought this orange soda was Royal Tru-Orange then I found out days later that it was Fanta Orange. I know there's going to be a lot of trying out several items until I find the one thing which suits our taste and needs.

Well hello 7-11. You have been missing in Cebu, but now you're everywhere.

Lay's potato chips in out of this world flavors such as
cheese & barbeque together, cheese and onion, etc.

There was a moment of panic when we could not find a single distilled water for Javi. I had to text Javi's pediatrician in the Philippines to ask her if we can use the regular mineral water. We asked around and distilled water is non-existent in Thailand. Oh, but we are in the land of Mamy Poko. This brand of diaper is the most expensive diaper in the Philippines. I am just too happy Mamy Poko is everywhere. I have a feeling it may even be sold in their version of a sari-sari store.

Mamy Poko diapers

I loved Bangkok since the first time I visited in 2002. And I still loved it when I made another trip in 2006. Four years later, I'm still loving it.

I have a feeling I will be blogging more. There's just too much to write about and share.

Three Years, Four Cities

Jed and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary in Bangkok, Thailand. We've been married for three years.

Four cities?

We began our journey by exchanging vows in Baguio City.

We then settled as newlyweds in Mandaluyong City.

Before the year ended, Jed got an offer to work in Mactan, and so we moved to Cebu. We settled there, conceived and give birth to a beautiful baby boy. The little boy turns one year old.

Opportunity knocked again, and here we are in our fourth city, Bangkok.

Home is where Jed is. And I promised him I will support him and move to whichever city God will bring us. I told him if he cannot bring me/us then the job offer is not God's plan for us. I know that if it is His plans, He will move mountains. Look where we are now.

I may have lost my career to being a wife and mother, but I have never felt this blessed, given that we are a single-income household.

I am far from being the perfect wife. And I have a very strong personality. But I know I have to submit to my husband. And I ask for God's guidance every day to fulfill the duties as Jed's wife.

I am currently listening to New Spring Church's Man vs. Wife series. I couldn't agree more when Pastor Perry Noble said, "that spouses have the ability to make us mad quicker than anyone else." Man, he nailed that. And that's why we need God to be at the center of marriage.

I need to go through these two passages regularly to remind me of how a wife should be and eventually I will live by what it says --

Ephesians 5:22-33 (New International Version, 2010)

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

1 Peter 3:1-7 (New International Version, 2010)

1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

My Wish List for 2011

Can't help but feel lonely in our new place. It's all part of our transition; adjusting to this new place we will call home.

And we just picked the perfect part of the year to move - Christmas season. I'm telling you, our holidays will be quite interesting as Thailand is a Buddhist country and does not celebrate Christmas. It feels like home though - Bangkok traffic is very similar to Manila traffic.

I would want this to be my Christmas Wish List but given that I barely have less than two weeks, it's impossible to save up for the items I want. And I doubt if Santa Clause will magically find his way along the Chao Praya River to drop off my gifts.

So I'm giving myself the whole of next year to try to see if I really want every single item on my wish list. What sometimes happen is I lose interest over time and would realized I don't really want it.

Anyway, here is my wish list for 2011:

Since I tried my sister's ,I'd be happy with an iPad 32GB with WiFi.

As I am a three hour plane ride from my family and friends in the Philippines, I figured a this Canadian technology would help me stay connected with Blackberry Messenger.
I'm now eyeing the Blackberry Curve 3G 9330 in pink.
But I'm not sure if the model 9330 is being sold here in Bangkok.

The perfect bag for me right now is a Longchamp Le Pliage Medium Tote.
I already have the black and beige,
so I only need a brown then all bags will perfectly match any outfit I'd wear.

A Luxe City guide for Cambodia as I intend to visit Siem Reap while we're here in Bangkok. I actually collect these - I have all three of Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Just like Cambodia, I dream of visiting Phuket for the beaches and would like to visit Chiang Mai and go to an elephant camp with my two boys.

I still don't have any prescription glasses made. Been using one piece of contact lens for my left eye as the right one does not any correcting. Now this Oakley Women's Elaborate looks so pretty, I hope it would match the shape of my face.

My in-ear headphones which I had been using for years will need a replacement soon. My dearest son like to play with it leaving some portions torn.
I just learned Apple's In-Ear Headphones look different now.

Lastly, I want a his and hers watch for Jed and myself. While I rely on my mobile phones to tell me the time, that practice does not work here as my phones remain useless. I guess it's time to go back to wearing watches to tell me the time.
Figured Tag Heuer Link collection would suit both our tastes.

And my list ends there. Writing this one made me feel a little better. It's free to dream, right?

Daghang Salamat, Cebu!

I am writing this entry from our hotel room in Bangkok. And this only means, we have left our home for two years, Cebu City.

Cebu and I did not start out right. I felt unhappy and very lonely when I moved there. I was missing my family, friends and my job. Then it got worse, as pregnancy hormones made me dislike Cebu more. Jed's solution for my sanity was my monthly trips to Manila until I gave birth to Javi. Then I had a change of heart.

Cebu was not new to me. When I was still working, I would be flying to Cebu two to three times a year. That made me familiar with the streets of Cebu. I sort of knew my way around already. My business contacts turned out to be friends after a while. I had always enjoyed my trips to Cebu.

If someone asked me what was the best thing that happened to me in Cebu?

My answer would always be, "Javi."

He was made and born in Cebu. I truly believe that God intended for Jed and I to be in Cebu and that our son would be conceived there. Now that made Cebu another city that will always hold a special place in my heart - the way Baguio will always remain special.

It was amazing how God stretched me, and how He changed my heart. My heart and mind were closed when I arrived in Cebu. I even said I would be okay if I ended up not meeting new people, "I do have friends but they're back in Manila." Now how selfish was that.

Then I had a change of heart. God led me to different people who had shown nothing but kindness to us. I met the most wonderful family Jed and I have ever known and the sweetest group of ladies. He also led us to church which felt like family. Guess what, my circle of friends has grown.

It was because that I saw Cebu in a different light. Also because of him that I appreciate living in Cebu. And I finally knew why we had to be there. Manila was just too stressful and Cebu was the perfect place to adjust to motherhood.

I will miss our spur of the moment weekend getaways. Ah.. the beach which was only a couple of hours car ride. Cebu traffic is awesome. It will take you 10 minutes to wherever you want to go. I had no problem with my weekly trips to the mall with Javi even if we didn't have to bring the car. I love that I would be on the phone and in 5 minutes, a taxi will be waiting for me outside. I had no trouble finding a taxi in Cebu. I also have no problem driving in Cebu. It felt like driving in Bulacan but you're actually in Manila minus the traffic in EDSA, the scary bus/taxi/jeepney drivers.

Let us not forget about the food. Oh my goodness, I left Cebu adding unwanted pounds. Food is wonderful and cheap. Jed and I have our favorites. I will miss Abaseria, Rica's, Café Laguna, Cafe Marco, Ching Palace for their crab, 10 Dove Street, Krua Thai (although I won't be missing Thai cuisine), Casa Verde, La Marea, and my list goes on.

I will miss my waxer who comes to the house. I will also miss Elements Salon for the very affordable mani/pedi and foot spa. I almost forgot about the massages. Spas are all over Cebu. But the best would always be Chi, The Spa of Shangri-la Mactan.

A chapter of my life has closed. With the fondest memories of Cebu. When Javi is a bit older, we will go back for a visit, and it will be nostalgic.

Right now, as we start our life here in Bangkok, I am keeping an open mind and trust that God will lead us to the right places and people.

Note: Jed and Irma's I ♥ CEBU shirts were courtesy of the Villarins.
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