Friday, September 25, 2015

"Conscious Uncoupling" after 5 Years

When I first read the line "conscious uncoupling" from some celebrity news, I took the words literally and questioned myself do some couples who undergo divorce were unconscious when they did it?  Then I searched for the real meaning so as not to appear blank.  As one blog says it is the A "conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument [within a marriage] was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing," they write. "From this perspective, there are no bad guys, just two people," they say, expanding on the blame-free, "it's about people as individuals, not just the relationship" theory......
Maybe its not just between two people.  Maybe this could also apply to a person and a place?  However it will not work out very well as the city might not give me the necessary feedback I need. 

But, anyway, I'll just think about it the same way.  Over the span of 5 years, Abu Dhabi and I have that yo-yo relationship.  I love how Abu Dhabi have blossomed into a metropolis of culture and innovation.  It easily adapted to the fast pace of modernization but still cling to what is true to their culture.  It is just plain beautiful.  Abu Dhabi has taught me a lot of things.  For that I will be forever thankful. 

Leaving a place after taking root for almost 5 years is difficult.  Not just physically but emotionally.  The physical part takes a lot of stressful time.  If you have rented your own place like a studio type accommodation, you have to get rid of everything that you can't take with you to another country.  Or you can send it to your home country so somebody else can use it.  Aside from selling and giving away your stuff you have to cut all your ties in that country.  From utility bills, credit cards, bank accounts and sadly friendships.  Not that you will be rid of those people once you leave the country.  But no more impromptu dates. 

----- cut ----  (I have moved my blog to this link.  See you there!)

I was not able to finish this entry because I was already swamped with so many things to do.  Now here I am in my jammies 12:15 pm and still thinking if I could still say I love rainy days.  I am cooped up here in our new home in Australia still trying to adjust with the cool weather.  It has been raining for two days.  I love rain.  Always have been especially when I was in Abu Dhabi when it rarely visits the city.  Now, here in Sydney, rain often comes uninvited and unexpected.  I don't know how long I could say I love rainy days.

From time to time, I still think about my life in Abu Dhabi.  I miss some of the things we used to do there.  The places we visit, the food we stuffed ourselves and the people we see from time to time.  It was a good 5 years.  Abu Dhabi was home for me and my husband, but some things just have to change.  Change can sometimes be very terrifying especially if you don't know what's happening next.  But it can also bring you to something better. 

Abu Dhabi is a good country to earn a living, save up some money or send money to your love ones.  But it has an ending.  You don't see yourself staying there for the rest of your life because you just can't.  I mean, the reason you can stay and work there is because of your working visa or your husband's working visa.  If one of you or you don't have that kind of visa you can't live there.  They don't grant permanent residency or citizenship.  Please don't take this the wrong way.  This is just my opinion and this is one of the reasons why we moved.  We can continue living and working there but until when?  Its one of those issues every couple must face in making a decision for the family.

No need to continue this torturous entry.  I think Its too confusing.  I'm lucky if somebody reads this.  But I promise though, the next entries will be my first experiences in my life here in our new home Australia.

To start my life in Australia -  here is my post..

Monday, March 30, 2015

Harboring Feelings for Sydney

For most expats abroad, the main reason that drives them to live and work abroad is better opportunity.  Better pay, better work experience or perhaps better quality of life.  Fifteen years ago, working abroad was never on my to do list in life.  I was contented with the things are.  I have a good paying job, I can even do extra activities and I don't have to worry on what to cook or who should do my laundry.  Everything was in order.  Then I got married, not that marriage turned my picture perfect life upside down, let us just say everything changed.

My husband, who is based in Abu Dhabi took me with him after a few months after our wedding.  Though household chores was nothing new to me, it was overwhelming as I will be doing it everyday already.  It took some time to adjust to my new life, but I got the hang of it after a few months.  Before I turned one year in the city I found a job and added a career experience abroad.  After a few years in Abu Dhabi, I have learned to love this city.  It was not difficult to embrace as the city was a haven for different kinds of expats.  The city also continue to blossom and accommodate every aspect of a booming metropolis.

Then, another thing happened, a visa was granted.  My sister and her family have applied for an immigrant visa in Australia.  I was not really keen into following the same route because as I said, I am starting to root her and I am learning to love Abu Dhabi.  However, there are some circumstances that makes me think about our life here.  So half-heartedly started the process of applying the same visa for Australia.  I took IELTS, collate necessary documents, and prepared other required documents.  Next thing I know, we received an email that the visa was granted.  Wait what?! For some reason, I was beginning to lose hope as I made a huge blunder in filling out one of my documents.  So I was already expecting a rejection.  It was a pleasant surprise.  My husband and I panicked for some time before taking the plunge.

We did the initial entry during my birthday.  What a way to celebrate it.  It has been years since I celebrated it with a family member.  So it was a very good change.  We did a lot of tourist-y activities.  Roamed the city and spend a lot of time with my sister and her family.  I still don't feel like its home but close enough.  We stayed in Randwick a suburb a few minutes away from the the buzzling downtown Sydney.  It was an ideal place to a raise a family.  Hospitals, schools, church and groceries are just walking distances.  Plenty of playground to ran around and its quiet.  I hope I'll get used to the sound of nothing when the clock strikes 6 pm.  Abu Dhabi makes a lot of sound even in the wee hours in the morning.  I have grown to love the noise, but some things just have to change.

By the time we left Australia amidst a teary goodbye, my husband and I talked about how we feel about Sydney.  Honestly, it was a mixture of scared and excited.  Scared and excited of moving into another country without any work yet.  Scared and excited of having to adapt again to a new environment.  Most of all totally scared of not knowing anything what lies ahead for us.  But that is how you should live life I guess, you will never know strength if you don't know how to be scared.  Or something like that.

Monday, February 23, 2015

February: Food Month in Abu Dhabi

As the whole world is gearing up to this one day holiday in February, which, I don't know why its called a holiday when everybody's bum-bum is stuck in their office chairs, Abu Dhabi is prepping up their kitchen for a whole other reason.  Up until now, I only thought February is the month of the hearts and two birthdays in the family.  Now, it is also Gourmet Abu Dhabi.  It is the city's way of showcasing its finest restaurants.  For the entire month of February every weekend is a special way to experience the festival.

I am lucky to win tickets and dining vouchers which makes this month extra special.  First weekend was the Emirati Kitchen.  Thanks to Foodiva Samantha Wood's blog giveaway, me and a friend are entitled to a free pass to the event plus one master class.  I have always wanted to attend one but it is just too expensive or the schedule is not right.  With that being a hindrance, the prize ticket came in as a perfect solution.

First weekend of February is scheduled for Emirati Kitchen.  Along the east complex of the corniche, the Emirati Kitchen was set up.  Stalls showcase special items prepared by the Emiratis and some food stalls selling local cuisine.  Among the star of the event is the first Emirati food truck Meyla's.  It is a good opportunity to try out their local delicacy.  We were booked for the masterclass on how to prepare healthy food for children.  We were not aware that it was for kids event but we queued anyway.  Even if the activity was basically for kids, we were still able to pick up points.  Especially on preparing salads using locally grown vegetables and using dressing like labneh and soy sauce.  Who would have thought of that?  We get to bring home a huge portion of salad that we have prepared.  Took me three meals to finish off the entire stock. 

Second weekend of February, valentine's weekend.  While everyone else was jetting off somewhere romantic, the husband and I went to Al Raha Beach Hotel to sample the Gourmet BBQ.  The buffet was set outside so it was a bit chilly.  We were ushered to our table and started browsing the buffet table.  Had I been a seafood lover or very adventurous meat eater that spread would have excited me.  Unfortunately, I am allergic to seafood and my meat preferences are limited to pork, chicken and beef.  I was also a bit sad not much carbo load on the table.  All meat and few veggies.  But the entire night was not a sad, the dessert spread was heaven.  I can't remember everything I had but even the chocolates were good.  I'm not a chocolate lover so that chocolate dessert had me smiling.

Third weekend of February - the food truck weekend!  This I have been anticipating the entire month actually.  Partly because I could try out some street food from other countries but mainly because of the chefs who will be doing demos.  I am an avid fan of foodnetwork shows.  If I could just stick to one channel the entire day that would be it.  The event started on Thursday and ended on Saturday.  We scheduled the visit on a Friday as the chef demo of two particular chefs I want to meet are scheduled not too far apart.  Arrived at 5 pm and was lucky to catch Chef Jun Tanaka.  After the demo, I saw the new schedule and Chef Andy Bates' demo will be another four hours.  But since we came there for the celebrity chefs, we (my husband begrudgingly) waited until 9 pm for his demo.  While waiting we did what most weird couples do, people watch.  Of course we sampled on the food truck goodies.  We tried the grilled cheese sandwich of Cheesetruck.  Ordered Stilton and steak.  It was okay.  Nothing beyond unforgettable.  Perhaps we should have ordered the goat cheese instead.  But the queue was well, let us just say, stretches to forever, so we passed.  Also tried Pizza Pilgrim.  They have three kinds of pizza listed but since the queue was again horribly long, they have to resort to Margherita minus the basil leaves.  Despite the missing herb, the pizza was really good.  The dough was chewy and tasty just the way I like it.  Last among the must try food at the park was the churros.  I love that fried dough of happiness.  If you want to try some you better prepare yourself to stand in line for quote some time.  If there is a contest for the longest queue the Churros and Chocolate truck would win.  People just love fried things and chocolate.  Who wouldn't?!

To sum up, February was more than just flowers and chocolates, it was also about discovering more about food, people who loves food and people who loves to make good food.  I hope more events like this will be hosted in the city.  Its a way of driving more people in enriching one's own definition of culture.

more photos here.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How Did You Find Your Ever After?

While sipping my first cup of green tea for the day, I am consciously contemplating whether to continue this post or not.  Ever since I opened up my topic to my husband I was endlessly teased to be too "cheesy."  Well, I am.  It's the first of February and what else can I think about but anything in red.  The happy kind of red.

I have finally decided.  So here it is fellow "cheezbols."  A few college semesters ago, my best friend and I made this study about real life love stories whether it was fated or just mere coincidence .  Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, we submitted it for our English subject as a pseudo feasibility study.  We did pretty good though.  Anyway, I digress.  We got our data from our classmates.  No, not their love lives, their parent's.  If they are luck to know their parent's stories.  You will be surprised some of those stories are just amazing, and you thought soap operas only exist in TV.

I would love to post two unforgettable stories we have included in our study unfortunately I don't have the permission to do so.  However, I think I am already in that age group where most people I know and acquainted with has already established their own love story.  And for this month, in celebration of heart's month, (I'm Filipino, I basically celebrate any occasion in long period like Christmas), I would like to post some stories of people who found their way to their own ever after.

So here goes my golden question,....(embarrassed and wincing) would you like to be my subject?

I'd love to hear your story.  Of course I would ask for your permission before sharing it to my precious readers.  Otherwise, I would just like to know your story.  Maybe one day, when your kids are all grown up and suddenly ask you how and when your story started its always nice to reminisce.

I would be selfish if I wouldn't share mine, right?  Without sounding too korny, we laid eyes on each other while at a ravine.  Yes, its the most romantic place I could ever imagine.  Kidding aside, I was at a point in my life where I just want to work my arse off as I was still licking some wounds from a very terrible heartache.  That was 2003 fresh from board exam and too eager to practice my profession.  As I try to enjoy a life of freedom and meager earning I found a friend along the way.  We stayed friends for over a year and before we bid 2004 goodbye we were officially an "us."   Majority of our "us" was spent over text messages and long phone calls as he lives in Luzon and he is always assigned very far from the city.  We are lucky to meet once or twice a year if our leaves are granted at the same time.  I think we were one of the pioneering prepaid subscribers of sun cellular unli- text and call.  Cell sites are hard to come by on mountainous areas that is why calls are preferred and is considered an indulgence for both of us.  He has to go near a school flag pole just to get a signal, imagine my "kilig" for the things he does.  I guess this is the perfect moment to thank Sun Cellular for their unli- services.   Like all normal relationships we had some slight bumps before walking down the aisle.  But all in all, everything worked out just fine.

So, how about you?  How did you find your ever after?  I found mine during a sunny day full of dust and boulders while trying not to trip over and roll down the ravine.  Who would have thought I'd find mine there.  To quote Toni Gonzaga (Filipino Celebrity whoc recently got engaged)---- You don't chase love and friends....true love and true friends will just come. 

NOTE: So I noticed that nobody actually posted or even commented that they'd like to be my subject.  Hey, if you want to be anonymous, send me an email thru or send me a thumbs-up thru my facebook (if you are in my circle, sorry my profile is private)  please do let me know.. can't wait to hear your story! 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bangkok Bits

We did a little document purging last night I found this Bangkok city map.  Like most of this informative maps, they are full of bits and trivia about the city you are exploring aside from giving you details on what to visit and how to get there.  Here are some bits and pieces from the map.

* The Golden Buddha of Wat Traimit

- If you've ever wondered what 5.5 metric  tons (5,500 kilograms) of solid gold might look like, go see for yourself at Wat Traimit, located at the southern end of Bangkok's Chinatown district.  The chief attraction of the Wat (Temple) is the fabulous Golden Buddha, the world's largest solid gold statue.  Today the Golden Buddha sits in a new building which was built to house and protect the 3.91 meter  tall image.  At current market value the gold in the statue alone is worth over $260,000,000, but, of course, as an item of historical and religious significance its true value is incalculable.   Open from 8 am to 5 pm.

* Bangkok Dusit Zoo

- In Bangkok for a few days with the family and don't know what to do with your little monkeys?  Take them to the zoo!  Bangkok's Dusit Zoo is one of Asia's finest, and provides a fun-filled and inexpensive day out for your family.  The Zoo was established in 1938 on 118 rai (over 46 acres) in the heart of the historic Rattanakosin area of downtown Bnagkok, and is the oldest zoo in Thailand.

     entry fees:  Foreigners - 100 Baht for adults; 50 Baht for children
                        Thais - 50 Baht for adults; 10 Baht for children

     hours:  open every day from 8 am to 6 pm
     add:  71 Rama V Road, Chitrlada Sub-district, Dusit District Bangkok
     getting there:  the easiest way to get to the zoo is by taxi - if the driver doesn't understand             "Dusit   Zoo" just say "Su-an Cow Din", and that should do the trick.  alternatively, the following bus lines go past the zoo: Bus No. 18, 28, 108; Airconditioned Bus No. 528, 515, 539 and 542

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dental Care in Abu Dhabi

January 2015 is certainly a month full of actions.  And I must say it is a mixture of excitement and uncertainty.  First week of the year started with a little spike of sugar and spice and everything ended up being nice.  Anyway, I had my first tooth extraction yesterday.  Yes, you have read it right, first.  After finally reaching the age beyond the calendar days, it was time for me to experience what my brother usually calls it a traumatic affair on a chair. 

pic grab from net

I was never afraid of dentists.  Back then, my monthly visits to this doctors only consists of cleaning and little check up then an ice cream treat.  Most of my melt teeth just voluntarily fell off or on special occasion my Tatay will tie a thread around the wobbly tooth and give it a quick thug and its off.  No injections and other steel instruments that entered my mouth.  Until yesterday.  I guess I could say now I know how my brother feels when he is reminded about his dental appointment.

The day of extraction started out in a haze.  Did my usual morning routine then I'm off to the city.  The first hitch was the bus was probably stuck somewhere unknown because I was standing at the bus station for nearly half an hour!  I kept on checking my watch while on the bus, my appointment was 10:15 am and by 10:10 am I am still inside the bus. Grrr.  When I finally alighted, I have to sprint (gracefully) to the clinic.  I arrived at exactly 10:20 am so it was immediately my turn to sit on that dreadful chair.  A quick chat with the dentist and my complain I was immediately told to open my mouth for the 4 or 5 injections. Whoa! No gel? Yes, no numbing gel.  Then some time to let the anesthesia work its magic while my heart was racing like a bullet train and I was wringing my fingers but trying to appear unconcern about the whole situation.  The assisting nurse noticed and began comforting me.  I must have probably looked so terribly because they (the nurse and the dentist) were trying to cheer me up they even gave me a cup of pineapple juice to calm my nerves.  My hands were so cold.  After a lengthy speech of comfort about the extraction not being to painful it was time to brace my head and open my mouth.  Everything happened quickly though, it was not as painful as I have anticipated but still it hurts.  I cried a little (hey, it was my first time I have that excuse).

The deed was done no less than 10 minutes.  A prescription and a receipt later, I was already walking towards the bus station again.  I wanted to curl up and sleep and forget how everything happened.  But, I have to be practical went home prepared lunch so I could take the antibiotic prescribed.  Ending, I'm now officially pangag (toothless), but you won't know it. 

For those needing dental care as we know that most medical insurance in Abu Dhabi doesn't cover dental here are some two Filipino dentists for your information:

Dr. Eriberto L. Alameda Jr.
Al Dana Medical and Dental Centre
Tel. No. 02 678 1331; 02 672 4052
P.O. Box 26156, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
(the clinic is on the second level of the Philippine House building along Najda St.,)
Tooth Extraction:  AED 400
Wisdom Tooth Extraction:  AED 1000
Root Canal: AED 1400
Filling:  AED 250

Dr. Emmy

Ibn Sina Medical CentreTel : 02 6816400     Fax : 02 6816404
P.O.Box 3084
New Al Manara Pharmacy Building
Zayed 2nd St. Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E

Tooth Extraction:  AED 500
Filling:  AED 350
Wisdom Tooth Extraction:  AED 1000

Also here is another dentist, though haven't tried seems to cost reasonably

Appolonia Dental Centre
Tel: +971 2 6444220 ; +971 2 6660997 Fax: +971 2 6672235
P.O. Box 25744, Abu Dhabi, Zayed 2nd St., UAE Khalidya Area
(the clinic is in the building of K.M. Trading Khalidiya)
Tooth Extraction:  AED 350
Wisdom Tooth Extraction:  AED 1000 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Abu Dhabi Bus Guide

Being in Abu Dhabi for over four years now still doesn't make me a good commuter.  I could still get on the wrong bus.  What's worst is, I even advice other passengers on what bus to take to where ever they are going.  Imagine the fate of those people.  If only I could control myself from giving out unsolicited advices on bus routes.

Anyway, below are bus numbers and buildings and establishments that I am PRETTY SURE will be part of their respective route. 

Buses that pass along Hamdan Street:
These buses were the first buses I have taken when I first came here in Abu Dhabi.  I had some adventures with these buses.  Here's to hoping that a few of us will no longer get lost.

Bus No. 5 - Along Hamdan Street, If you need to to Central Souk, Hamdan Center, Al Noor Hospital, Ahlia Hospital, Spinneys Corniche, Corniche and Marina Mall

Bus No. 8 - only a part of Hamdan Street, turns to Madinat Zayed where Taza is located, Lifeline Hospital then Electra Street.  It will go straight to Khalidiya area turns left of Shining Tower and Khalidiya Mall.

Bus No. 54 - along Hamdan Street, Central Souk then turns to Airport Road.  This bus will pass through Al Wahda Mall and go straight to Muroor behind Mushrif Mall.  If you need to go to Dusit Thani Hotel and Abu Dhabi bus station this is the bus number.

Bus No. 11 - it will pass along Passport road (if I am correct) this is the street where Al Wahda mall is located.  It will also go to Spinneys Corniche, Corniche and Marina Mall.

Bus No. 34 - Along Muroor road, Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi bus station, Dusit Thani Hotel

Bus No. 44 - this bus will pass by a potion of Muroor road and after Police College will turn towards Airport road and will pass by Mushriff mall then Karama St., (if you need to go to CosmeSurge clinic this is the bus).  It will also pass by Electra Street.

Bus No. 56 - Muroor Road, Dusit Thani Hotel, Abu Dhabi Bus Station and Al Wahda Mall

That's it for now.  I hope this helps though.  If not you can't go wrong if you ask the driver if it passes through the establishment you are going or fellow passengers.  Just make sure its not me though.  *wink*