Tuesday, August 31, 2010

words from caila

27 August: Opo. Tentu (Thank You). Mwah! – after we greeted her for her 18th
month birthday
30 August: Hello? Hi! Daddy! Mommy! Mama – usually she just calls us Da and Mimi

Everytime we get to speak with her and hear her say new words, hubby and I become really happy and excited (in addition to missing her more, of course).
Approximately 1 ½ more months until she’s with us again. We can hardly wait!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

instant fellowship with my sfc babies

Isn’t it funny that when you plan a get-together with your friends in advance, it never happens because not everyone can make it; but when you decide to have it right away, everyone is able to turn up?

Since May of this year, my former SFC members and I have been trying to schedule a fellowship. Because all of them are from different chapters and they have their own activities and responsibilities in SFC, our schedules have always been conflicting. There was practically no day during the week when all of us were available at the same time...until last Monday.

Last Thursday, Carol started the thread asking when and if our fellowship would ever push through. No one confirmed. Then Leih called me on Sunday night with a suggestion for Iftar. I started the thread again, mentioning Leih’s idea and asking for everyone’s availability.

Ces was free any night. My schedule was open except for Friday. Joanne had households on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and her Sunday was already booked. Mitch and Leih weren’t free on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Which left only Monday and Saturday...so Monday night it was. Actually, Leih and Carol already had plans for the night, but of course they loved us that much to cancel their plans (haha!).

We enjoyed a very reasonably priced and filling Iftar at Citymax Hotel, strolled around MOE, and had yummy ice-cream from Cold Stone Creamery (courtesy of Leih as her advance birthday treat)...and not to forget the endless laughter, stories, and countless photos we took almost everywhere we went.

Of course, we were missing Gracie (who had returned to the Philippines last February)...but technically, we were complete.

We kept laughing at how long it had taken us to schedule for this get-together, and all of a sudden, without any planning, we were able to have this fellowship.

It was great to be with all of them again. Even though we had our own lives, it was as if nothing had changed. Our friendship was still there and the bond of sisterhood was still strong. I will always be proud of Leih, Mitch, Ces, Joanne, Carol and Gracie...my SFC babies.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

my 3rd driving lesson

Yesterday, I was able to side park, garage park and drive on the roads outside the driving school! Hurray!
The side parking was a bit complicated at first because there were so many things to take note of; but after repeating it so many times, I was finally able to do it.
Right after that, Mateen taught me garage parking. This was much easier than side parking, so I only had to do it a couple of times before I finally got the hang of it.
And just as I thought the lesson was over for the day, he told me to go out of the driving school compound and turn on the main road. As expected, I was practically terrified, especially when I noticed that there were so many cars around us driving so fast. Of course, I didn’t have to worry because my instructor was with me. Anyway, he just told me to take the car for a spin around the area.
After a few minutes, we returned to the driving school, ending our lesson (and my nervousness) for the day. Whew!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a blessed day!

Last week, our office received a notice from DEWA (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority) that there would be a scheduled electricity interruption in our area from 6:30am to 10:15am on the 18th of August. Because of this, our Deputy General Manager decided that we would start work today at 10:30am...which is what we did. All of us expected that since we started the day late, we would have to work until 4:30pm. Fortunately, our DGM decided that since it was Ramadan and most of the offices would be closed by 2pm, we didn’t have to extend anymore. For me, I could leave at 1pm, meaning I only had to work for 2 ½ hours today. Yaaaaayyy!!!

Tonight, hubby and I are going to Metropolitan Hotel because their Sales Executive invited me (with hubby) for Iftar and a tour around the hotel. Instant date for me and Guchi...double Yaaaaayyy!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

movie-mercials

Hubby and I watched “Hating Kapatid” last night at Mall of the Emirates. The story wasn’t spectacular or anything; it just showed the life of sisters whose parents had to work abroad, leaving them with their grandmother, helper and cousin.

In my opinion, even though Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo were in it, the movie was just so-so. What I hated about it were the countless endorsements of Sarah’s sponsors/products. They were so obvious! It was just so exasperating to see close-ups of these things almost every 15-20 minutes all throughout the film.

I haven’t been able to watch Filipino movies that much, but whenever I do, I’ve noticed that it’s very common for sponsors or products of the lead artists to be shown so obviously during the film...to the point that the actor/actress has lines promoting them.

These sponsors may have helped finance the filming and production or whatever, but jeez, aren’t the countless “thank you’s” the artists say during the shows when they promote the film enough? The credits after the movie also mention the sponsors they would like to thank, so why the need to use the movie as a commercial? It’s annoying and distracts the viewers from the storyline (well, for me anyway, and I don’t think I’m alone in this).

Next month, “In Your Eyes” will be showing in Dubai. It seems to have a good plot, but if it’s going to be another movie-mercial, I’d rather watch a cheesy Hollywood film instead.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

taking the driver’s seat

During the past few days, I attended the required 4 lecture classes for driving.
Preliminary Lecture. This was just an introduction on the basics of the car and driving.
Traffic Signs and Road Markings. The lecturer showed and explained to us some of the 350+ traffic signs and road markings that are used in the UAE. And we have to know all of them for the Signal Test.
Safety Precaution Training. We were taught the things we could do in emergency cases, applying first aid when required, and fire safety.
Final Lecture. The lecturer explained the features of the UAE driving licence, how to obtain one, and the things to avoid so as not to earn black points which result to having the licence confiscated or cancelled.
Everything that was explained in the lectures was in the Learn Driving handbook that was given to us, and the instructors usually remind the students these lessons during the outdoor/road classes. For those who intend to skip the lectures and just get the handbook, sorry, this can’t be done…coz every student has to get their Learning Permit stamped by the lecturer after each class.
Anyway, students can attend the lectures anytime, as long as s/he has completed them before the tests…and there are a lot: Signal Test, Parking Test, Hill Test, Garage Test, Assessment Test and Road Test. The Road Test is the final one that decides whether you deserve to have a UAE driving licence or not.

By the way...remember I mentioned in my previous post that I was going to start my driving lessons last Thursday? Well, I did...not last Thursday, but yesterday. Apparently, the lady from the driving school made a mistake (she thought my lessons were Sun-Tue-Thu, but they were Sat-Mon-Wed).
Anyway, as soon as we got in the car, my instructor (Mr. Mateen) first explained to me the basics and asked me a few questions of some of the stuff that was taught in the Preliminary Lecture. Then he drove around the back of the driving school, explaining how to maneuver and use the steering wheel, indicators, etc. After one round, it was my turn to control the car. I did the necessary checkings (doors, seat, steering wheel, seatbelt and mirrors) and went on the road. However, since the seat was still a bit low, Mateen had to borrow a pillow/cushion from his colleague for me. It was embarrassing, but it helped. As expected, since it was my first time to actually drive, the ride wasn’t perfect. In the beginning, whenever I had to turn to the left or right, I would either end up at the left lane or almost bump into a barrier, post, or the car in front of me. Luckily, the car had brakes on the passenger side so Mateen could step on it when required. After some time, he told me to take the car to an area where he taught me to do Figure 8’s so that I could practice turning left and right, at the same time teaching me the proper positioning of my hands on the steering wheel. When we returned to the road, I was still a bit shaky with my turns, but with a little improvement. Anyway, before I knew it, my first class was over and it was time to park the vehicle (of course, Mateen did that). All in all, it was fun, exciting and nerve-racking.

I’m looking forward to my next class tomorrow. In the meantime, I need to learn to be more relaxed and confident when taking the driver’s seat.

five things parents can do in raising their child

A n@wie sis (hi Arvee!) attended Kumon’s Seminar in July with her colleague, where one of the speakers was Bam Aquino (cousin of P-Noy and the youngest Cabinet Official ever). Mr. Aquino spoke of several things his parents did when he was growing up that contributed a lot to the man that he has become – successful, yet God-fearing and family-oriented.
Here are the 5 lessons he outlined:

My parents taught me the value of achievement.
* Excellence is a HABIT they instilled in me.
* Failure is not an option but a reality. They taught me to be resilient.
* It's not the end that really matters but the climb.
Only their love is free. Nothing else is.
* You must always work hard for everything.
They NEVER sheltered me.
* My parents let me experience how life really is. During campaigns we helped our late Uncle Ninoy and late Auntie Cory; and my parents let us really experience the experience…kahit mainit, magulo at mahirap.
They let me choose my own adventures.
* Never micromanage your child.
* Just give them parameters then allow them to decide on their own even if you don't always agree with the decision.
Integrity Service.
* Always serve as a good example.


Arvee shared this in our egroup, and with her permission (thanks sis!) I’ve posted it here to help and serve as a reminder to me and other parents out there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

dubai roads...here i come!

Just a few minutes ago, I got a call from the driving school.
A minute later, I was talking to the guy who is going to be my instructor.
Turns out I’ll be having my first lesson this afternoon and on Saturday I’ll be attending the lectures.
This is it!

s-full!

Slurpee and Shake came over.
Slurpee cooked Shrimp Sinigang.
Once again, Guchi and I sat down to another yummy Seafood meal prepared by our ET friends.
Watched Stomp the Yard 2.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ramadan in uae

Ramadan has arrived!
This means that for Muslims everywhere, they need to devote time to prayer and spiritual reflection.
Non-Muslims need to be especially sensitive and respectful to the Muslims during the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
Shorter working hours and fasting from dawn until sunset are usually the first things that come to mind when we think of Ramadan.
Although non-Muslims are not required to fast, we still need to show some consideration by not eating, drinking, smoking and chewing gum in public. Of course, there are those who are exempted like pregnant & breastfeeding women and people taking medications.
It may be difficult since we aren’t used to going the whole day without so much as a bite or sip, but sometimes companies allow their non-Muslim employees to take quick snacks in their office’s pantry. On the other hand, since the working hours are shorter, others usually wait to feed their hunger until they're in the privacy of their own homes.
Unfortunately, since most of the people don’t or can’t eat at their workplace, it becomes really dangerous to go out on the roads. It’s the time of day where the sun is scorching, the people are hungry, and they want to go home right away...which makes them really impatient and hot-tempered. You’ll see them driving so recklessly, especially on the major roads and highways. It would be better to either wait in the comfort of your office until the roads are safe and clear or take the metro or bus.
From another perspective, Ramadan is a good time as any to start shedding those unwanted pounds. Just don’t starve yourself the whole day and then wolf down mountains of food in the evening!
Ramadan Kareem everyone!

afritada ala pamela

Ever since I started learning how to cook, it's been a regular thing between hubby and me to prepare the meals together.
Well, last night, we decided to cook Chicken Afritada for dinner. He prepared all the ingredients (peeling, cutting, chopping) and I cooked. This time, he decided to leave the cooking entirely up to me; fortunately, I was able to get the help of my ever reliable recipe book which I followed very closely.
About half an hour later, Guchi sat down to eat...and he ate...and ate...and ate. He kept reaching for more!
Yaaay!!! I’m so happy! And so proud of myself for another successful dish!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

another crab-by dinner

This time, good friends Eugz and Pia cooked, and Dhenzio and preggy Ann were there to enjoy the meal with us.
Again, we ate with our hands. Once again, the food was yummy. And of course, again, we had a great time!
Hmm...I wonder who’ll cook our dinner next weekend. Any takers, anyone? :)

e.t. anniversary celebration

We were complete.

The ones who didn’t come really couldn’t because they weren’t here. The Tripod (Jap, Edmun and Chris) had left the UAE a long time ago, and Caloy was somewhere else in the Middle East because of his mission. So technically, it was another perfect attendance for ET.

This rarely happens (due to other commitments or activities in SFC or CFC), but because it was our anniversary, everyone made sure to come.

It wasn’t grand or anything. We had the usual food, conversations and movies until the wee hours of the morning.

But what I really like about our group is that despite our differences, we can really count on each other.

We have our regular get-togethers every first Thursday of the month and usually not everyone is able to come during these times; but for special occasions or when help is needed, that’s when all of us make it a point to get together.

And that’s what is really important...that’s the true essence of ET.

Unforgettable lines of the evening:
“PAAAKKK!!!”
"galit ako sa ‘yo”

peace offering

Last Thursday evening, I became annoyed with hubby (details and reasons of which are not worth mentioning).

While we were waiting for our ET friends to arrive, he worked away on his laptop and I watched a movie on television. I was giving him the silent treatment the whole time.

After a while, and after many attempts of trying to be cute (to pacify my annoyance), he went out to buy the stuff for our share of the evening. Actually, he wanted us to go out together, but one of us had to stay at the apartment in case anyone arrived (plus, I was still annoyed at him).

He returned about 45 minutes later.

As soon as he put away the stuff he bought, he held out a small box to me (in a pa-cute way) which contained a slice of the Fleur de Lys cake from Paul Café (one of my favorites!).

Now how could I stay annoyed with him after that?

Monday, August 2, 2010

three years

Happy 3rd Anniversary, ET!
(Guchi & Pam, Dhenzio & Ann, Archie & Jenny, Joel & Lhen, Mike & Tesha, Caloy & Jeanette, Eugz, Pia, Edmun, Jap, Chris)
Thanks for the laughter, food, movies, gimiks, games, conversations...
Looking forward to more years of friendship with you guys!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

let's do this again!

Friday morning, while hubby worked out at the gym, Ann and I went swimming at the rooftop pool. I swam a few laps while preggy Ann floated and swam a bit at the shallow area.

After our swim and showers, Ate Agnes arrived and she gave me a really good full body massage. It was sooo relaxing! When she was done, I was too lazy to get up. Of course I had to because it was time for lunch, but right after we ate and Ate Agnes had left, I immediately went back to bed and slept for 4½ hours with hubby. Nice Friday huh? :)

Yesterday, CFC Dubai held the Abba Father Conference at Shangri-La Hotel for all the husbands and dads of the community. Weeks before that day, we (the wives and families) were requested by the coordinators to prepare letters which would be given to them during the conference. In addition, we were informed to be at the venue in the afternoon as part of a surprise to our husbands/fathers.

Tita Elvie, Ann, Jenny, Malyn and I arrived at the hotel a few minutes before the requested time, and they kept all of us (wives and children) in the other ballroom so that the kids could play and make as much noise as they wanted without the men finding out. Finally, we were called in to the other room where the conference was being held…upon entering the ballroom, we could see all of the men smiling. They had just received and read our letters a few minutes before we showed up, which made many of them really emotional. It was really nice seeing all the kids and wives kissing and hugging their fathers and husbands. Hubby, as always, didn’t cry (he was controlling his tears)...I on the other hand, kept having to reach for tissues...but I could see that he was thoroughly enjoying himself and he really appreciated the letter and my presence there. It would have been better if Caila was with us, but of course that wasn’t possible.

All in all, it was a great event.


In the evening after the conference, Ann and Dhenzio went home to the apartment with us. After a while, Tesha arrived carrying food and ingredients, with Mike following a few minutes later with a saucepan and mineral water. We let them take charge of the kitchen and by 7:45pm, the six of us were enjoying a sumptuous dinner of alimasag (crabs) courtesy of the Koi Team.


Hubby and I are certainly going to call Ate Agnes again in the future for another massage session to loosen up our stressed bodies.

The dinner we had last night was just one of the many we usually have from time to time with the ET Barkada; for sure, we’ll be having another one this Thursday night with the whole gang.

And I’m pretty sure a similar conference to the Abba Father for the wives and mothers isn’t far behind, which all of us are definitely looking forward to.
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