29 December 2010


At almost 2 years old, Caila loves to talk, and we do our best to help her develop her vocabulary by speaking to her and helping her identify body parts and the pictures in her books. She can pretty much say simple words clearly, but there are some that we had difficulty understanding at first.
Here are a few of the words that are part of what we call her Cailanese language:

Ayla = Caila
Biya = banana
Dada = karga (carry)
Arnie = Barney
Ba-bub = Sponge Bob
Mouse = Mickey Mouse
Ataw = ikaw (you)
Ayskim = ice cream or yoghurt
Papay = tinapay (bread)
Papays = french fries
Chup-chup = ketchup
Apay = salabay (piggy-back ride)
Adu = love you (but if she says it slowly, she can say “I love you” clearly)
Tetu = thank you
Ati = makati (itchy)
Toleyt = chocolate
Aning = Auntie Ning
Abes = God bless (she accompanies this by making a mark on our foreheads with her thumb at the same time, as if making the sign of the cross)

23 December 2010


Taking into account what I do, I usually just receive words (or e-mail messages) of thanks; and most often, these are said as acknowledgement. Rarely do I get any compliments or genuine words of gratitude from my colleagues and superiors. So you can imagine how surprised and happy I felt during these times:
1) Our big boss in Japan sent an e-mail to our Deputy General Manager. It was entirely in Japanese, but in English, it translated to “I am very grateful for the number of times Pamela has had to amend my bookings . There is no excuse for the many changes she has to do every day. Please let her know. It is very kind of her.”
2) The same big boss had sent me a box of Dorayaki during his last stopover in Dubai. He hadn’t visited the office, but he had instructed our DGM that this was only for me and my family as “a very small gratitude for your kindness. Next time, I will try to find out and bring another kind of sweets.”
3) After engaging in a simple conversation with her and her mother, the 4 year old daughter of my Serbian colleague suddenly told me “I like you. You’re very sweet.”
4) One of our Project Managers came to me this morning congratulating me and telling me that I managed to do a great job pulling off last night’s event, considering that I had to put up with my boss’ attitude the entire time. I received a similar e-mail from our Construction Manager, saying that the games I had organized were fun, which helped make the evening a success. And just a few minutes ago, the other Project Manager told me that he "really enjoyed the games that were put together" last night and I was a "very good game master."

15 December 2010

still blessed

Last night, I almost wanted to break down.
I was exhausted from having to go back and forth between the Immigration Department so many times and I was worn out from my never-ending arguments and negotiations with our former real estate; not to mention that our finances were almost depleted from all the expenses due to the sudden move to our new apartment across town.
I was in the car with hubby on our way home, and I wanted to cry in resignation. Silently, I asked God why He was giving us such a difficult time just to sponsor Yaya’s darn visa. It was supposed to be such a simple and fast thing to do, but evidently in our case, new problems arose every single step of the way.
Anyway, as I was questioning God, hubby and I passed by 3 cars that were involved in an accident near DAFZA. And later, we saw a car that was wrecked almost way beyond repair at the intersection near our building. In both accidents, we saw Dubai Police and Ambulances, so definitely, some people were hurt.
That’s when I realized that in spite of everything, we were still blessed. I had focused too much on the problems we were facing, that I neglected to see the reason and purpose as to why we had to go through all of this, as well as the blessings that we had been receiving along the way.
Right that moment, I silently whispered my thanks to God in prayer...something that I should have done before, but unfortunately, it took 2 car accidents to make me open my eyes.

13 December 2010

a story of appreciation

Thanks to Ann for sharing!

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.
He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.
The director discovered from the CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.
The director asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?"
The youth answered "none".
The director asked, "Was it your father who paid for your school fees?"
The youth answered, "My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees."
The director asked, "Where did your mother work?"
The youth answered, "My mother worked as clothes cleaner."
The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.
The director asked, "Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?"
The youth answered, "Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me."
The director said, "I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning."
The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.
The youth cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tears fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.
This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in mother's hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.
After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.
That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.
Next morning, the youth went to the director's office.
The Director noticed the tears in the youth's eyes, asked: "Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?"
The youth answered, "I cleaned my mother's hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes."
The Director asked, "Please tell me your feelings."
The youth said,
"Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not be a successful me today.
Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done.
Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship."
The director said, "This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not let money as his only goal in life. You are hired."
Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.


A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop "entitlement mentality" and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?
You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

09 December 2010

disney magic

My thoughts were wandering a while ago to the time I went to Disneyland in Paris in 2005.

Actually, I never thought that I would be able to go there. It just so happened that our group who were in Germany that time for the 20th World Youth Day were allowed a Free Day, where we could go anywhere we wanted in Europe, as long as we would meet up with the others the next day at Marienfeld.

Instead of choosing Amsterdam and cities in Germany like the others, my friends and I decided to go to Paris and visit as many tourist spots as we could. We visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower (of course!), Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Elysées. Finally, we went on the train to Disneyland. As soon as we arrived, we found out that the parade would be starting in a few minutes so we all split up to get the best places we could find. I saw Cinderella, Chip & Dale, Goofy, and so many other Disney characters pass by in front of me. I was enjoying every minute, giggling like a little girl whenever one of them would look my way.

And then, I saw Mickey Mouse on his steamboat approaching. I was smiling and waving at him like everyone else, when Mickey Mouse looked at me (at least, I think he did) and I suddenly remembered a promise my Papa made to me when I was still a child. He had told me that one day he would take me to visit Disneyland (but he died without being able to do so). The next thing I knew, I was crying my eyes out, tears streaming down my cheeks. I must have looked like a complete idiot that time, but I couldn’t help it. I felt Papa’s presence there with me, letting me know that even in death, he still found a way to take me to this magical place.

So, that’s what happened. World Youth Day was probably my main reason for going on that trip, but I guess Papa saw this as an opportunity for him to fulfill the promise he made to his daughter even though he was no longer alive.

08 December 2010


Friday after lunch, we all went to MOE. Caila was becoming fidgety, walking up and down the aisles and touching almost everything on display; so we told her that if she behaved, we would buy her ice-cream. Of course, since she loves this dessert, she immediately obeyed. After an hour, we left the mall and were on our way to the metro station. Caila was walking between hubby and me, holding our hands. Suddenly she stopped, looked up at hubby, and said “Daddy...ice-cream?”
We were shocked. It was the first time for her to ask in such a loving way. She hadn’t said “please,” but she sounded so sweet, who could resist? It was her Sweet Day anyway, so after we had a quick bite at the food court at Bur Juman Mall, I bought an ice-cream cone at Burger King and gave it to her which she consumed almost immediately.
Saturday afternoon, this time we went to DFC with Mike. While hubby and I were checking out the displays at Ikea, we left Caila with Mike and Ate Cel. Since Caila wasn’t yet familiar with Mike, he told her that he would buy her ice-cream if she would go with him. Naturally, it worked. By the time we had left the store, they were buddies. We had just gone a few steps when Caila asked to be carried. She didn’t want to ride in her stroller, she didn’t want to be carried by Mike or Ate Cel, and I was too tired to carry her, so hubby scooped her up in his arms. While we were heading towards the elevators to go to the parking area, Caila looked at hubby with a pleading look and whispered softly “Daddy...ice-cream?” We both laughed. She was so cute! It was as if she was reminding us that Mike had promised her ice-cream and she was too shy to ask him. We called Mike and asked Caila to repeat what she just said but she was too embarrassed. Anyway, we told Mike what had just happened, so he immediately carried her and they headed off to McDonald’s for the ice-cream he promised, with hubby and I laughing so hard as we followed them.
Lesson learned: Don’t promise Caila ice-cream if you don’t intend to give her any. She’ll surely remember.

01 December 2010

on the first day of the last month of the year

Wow! We've already entered the last month of 2010. Where did the time go?! It seems like only yesterday when I was with Caila and my family, watching fireworks go off in the Philippines; and now in 4 more weeks, we’re going to usher in a new year with our new home here in the UAE (more details about this in a separate post).
Personally, I’m glad 2010 is about to end. There were a lot of challenges that me, my family and friends had to face...individually, but we were affected just the same. Two people I know passed away suddenly, three of our friends had to go back to the Philippines because life in Dubai wasn’t working out for them, we had to live without our daughter for almost 5 months, our close friend lost her baby due to an ectopic pregnancy, and not forgetting to mention financial constraints due to the crisis.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the year was all that bad. Our baby’s first birthday was a success, our close friend (who had an ectopic pregnancy) became pregnant again, I faced my fear and got a driving licence, Caila is with us and she gets along well with her nanny, hubby has a new job with a higher salary and family benefits, I was able to travel to the Philippines three times in less than a year, and just the fact that me and my loved ones are all healthy and still alive is enough reason for me to be thankful.
Although 2011 is just around the corner, I’m sure that many things will happen before 2010 ends. Some of them, we’re just waiting to happen; some of them will happen unexpectedly and everything could change.
Anyway, there’s only 30 more days left in the year...better to live each day at a time, than worry about what the future may (or may not) bring.

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