Thursday, November 3, 2011

Camel Arabic and Carabao English

It's been a while since my last post here. I work on a broken shift so it's kinda difficult for me to still find time to blog. But since it's Hajj next week here, I hope I can post an article or two.

Hajj, by the way, is the largest pilgrimage in the world. It is a religious duty by Muslims who can afford to go to Makkah or Mecca. But for us non-Muslims here, Hajj means vacation from work and school.

It is also my short break from learning Arabic. Yes, I'm trying to learn a bit of this country's language. I learned to read Arabic numbers on my third week here. I had to learn because I need to layout a charge slip with code numbers written in Arabic. Though most of the materials here are also translated in English, I think knowing how to read numbers in Arabic will still benefit me someday.

My second week in Saudi Arabia, in one of the parks
in Dammam. I don't know a single Arabic word that time!
I mentioned break from learning Arabic because the two company drivers teach us Arabic whenever they have the time. Most often, when they're having tea in the afternoon, they would translate in Arabic whatever word we ask them. I only want to learn Arabic words that people use here everyday. Like "How are you?" or "Where are you going?" But as days go by, as I get to talk with other Arabic-speaking nationalities, I am learning the language more than I wanted to.

In return, those Sudanese drivers learn English from us. They speak Carabao English and sometimes, I find myself speaking that way, too! That's because they understand us more if we only use the important words. Instead of saying, "Don't pick me up today. I'm not feeling well, I won't go to work." I just say, "Don't pick up, ana ma iji. (I'm not coming.)" (No need to say you're not feeling well.)

I learned from Fred those ana ma iji words. Ana is I, ma is not, and iji is coming. But Fred said that what he teaches me is Camel Arabic. They're not complete sentences or grammatically correct. But I think no one cares. Since we are now in a place where people don't speak fluent English, speaking Camel Arabic doesn't matter. As long as people get the message across, it's enough. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Job as a Graphic Designer in The Kingdom

It has been a month since we first came here in Saudi Arabia. I didn’t have time to think and rest and before I knew it, I am already working after just two weeks.

This is where I spend my eight hours of work.

I was hired as graphic designer by a well-known medical company. When I was interviewed, one of the things I was asked to do was to design the company’s website. At first I was adamant when I was assigned that task. I am not that adept in designing websites and that includes looking for a reliable web host.

For someone who maintains a blog and owns its domain, I was able to experience looking for best cheap hosting and purchasing one. But it’s another story when you talk about a company website. That’s why I’m glad to know later on that I would only have to coordinate with a website designer regarding the aesthetics and images needed for the company’s site. I was so relieved! Almost all websites here in Saudi Arabia has its Arabic version. So who will translate and upload all those information to the site? Thank God it wouldn’t be me.

Just tonight before I left the office, the Palestinian web designer came. We talked about what he still needs including the company’s website hosting. Although I can’t understand his English well, I think it’s still good to know I only have to worry about the aesthetics of the site, which I think I am knowledgeable at. I just wish I know more about website designing! Ah, you just can't have it all. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saudi Arabia waits for us

I wrote so many introductions to this post but I kept changing them. I wrote about being at one of life's crossroads, or taking risks, or choosing which is best for me and my family. A flurry of thoughts after, I decided to just spill what comes to my mind.

I am leaving for Saudi Arabia. I am bringing my kids with me so we can join my husband who went to work there more than a year ago. It wasn't an easy decision. I had to consider the culture. Especially its treatment to women. I had to ask my husband several times if the education system there is okay. I searched the net for blogs and articles that tell of the life of an expat family in that tradition-embracing Arab country. Can we make it there? Will we be able to adjust? Will the kids like it there?

I heard so much about Saudi Arabia. Almost all advices came from children and relatives of expats who worked there. And majority of them say negative things about it. They didn't like the idea that Fred and I will be bringing the kids. But I believe Fred knows better. He worked there for more than two years before going there again last year. He is confident that we will adapt easily. He said that bringing us there is best for us. Being together outweighs all the negative things I heard, which he told me are baseless, anyway.

While we were processing the papers, I told my kids about our decision. I didn't expect that they will like the idea but they did. Though my daughter got sad when she realized that she will be leaving her friends in school, she later remembered that it was his daddy she will be with again. I'm glad they understood. They are so excited about this whole thing already.

In a few days, we will be on our way to The Kingdom, which Saudi Arabia is also known as. I am nervous, honestly. But with constant prayers and God's guidance, I believe we can make it there. Besides, there's always our country to welcome us back. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Forest in the City

I love parks! I like strolling along tree-lined pathways, bringing homemade snacks, and just letting my kids run and play while I read a good book. It helps me relax after a busy work week. But because of the weather, we cannot do that these days.

I just wish it was still summer. It was in April when me and my kids went to La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City. I heard so much about it and our stroll there was my first time. The entrance fee is P40 for Quezon City residents and P50 for those who are not.

You will be greeted by these wooden signages. I am surprised that the Butterfly Farm signage is not there anymore. I found out later that La Mesa Ecopark management closed it.
We went there on a weekend so expectedly, there were many visitors.
Going up and down the stairs of Shell Flower Terraces helped me flex some muscles!
La Mesa Ecopark is a haven for photography enthusiasts, especially those interested in flower macro. I lost count of how many kinds of flowers there were!
With these beautiful flowers and lots of trees, La Mesa Ecopark is indeed a forest in the city. :)
That was Gabby and Sunday's first time to ride a horse! And they weren't afraid!
I was the one who was nervous for them!  Fee: P50.00
There were other park facilities which we weren't able to try and visit like the Petron Fitness and Mountain Bike Trail. Also, boating at the Lagoon was stopped, said the vendors when I asked them where the boats were. So better call La Mesa Ecopark's office first for inquiries on ride availability and fees. If you're planning to go there, I suggest you visit the park as early as you can. If it's your first time, you won't enjoy the park and its facilities enough if you visit after lunch.
I wish there were more play areas there. The playgrounds of Quezon Memorial Circle were more in number and better in quality.
At first I was hesitant on letting them lie on the picnic ground. But seeing that there were wash areas and remembering that I brought hand sanitizer and extra clothes, I let them enjoy nature!
La Mesa Ecopark is a joint project of ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan, MWSS, the Quezon City Government, and ABS-CBN Foundation. Seeing this collected plastic wastes, I cannot help but admire ABS-CBN's ecological advocacy.
As said in its website, just by visiting the La Mesa Ecopark, you are already actively participating in saving the La Mesa Watershed. Go and visit it now! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Model No More

I didn't imagine myself being a model for a photoshoot of any company. Never. But last June, I was chosen by the Marketing Department of our company to be one! I was flattered. Who wouldn't be?

The Project Head of one of the company's projects was cutting costs and instead of getting professional models who charge exorbitant fees, he resorted to check out if there were model wannabes in our office! Our Creative Head took pics of the employees, sorted them and choose those that pass the qualifications: mom-looking and presentable, I guess. They presented the pics to the Project Head and other managers for approval. To make the story short, I was chosen. I was one of the three moms handpicked for the shoot. We were to act as mom on family activities like picnic, walking in the park, having breakfast or just jogging in the neighborhood.

Fred was happy for me. Even though it was small time, for him, it was BIG TIME. He was so proud of me. It was something that only happens once in a lifetime, I guess.

But sadly, I let it pass. I declined. My inferiority complex got the better of me. I felt I was fat, though most of my officemates said it was alright. They told me they can Photoshop it. Hehe. But I still said no. I wasn't confident. And I know it will show in the pictures.

Gabby and props during the photoshoot

But despite that, I have good news. Gabby was chosen to model, too! He was supposed to be my son. (Reel and real.) But since I declined, he had to play son to another mom, and he did it very well. Almost everyone commended him, even the photographer. I believe Gabby has the makings of a model. He even got up early (3:30am!) so we won't be late for the pick-up service on the way to the shoot location. I was so proud of him.

Yes, I am a model no more. I might regret saying no to it someday. And hate the idea that pictures of me and Gabby should have been on a billboard or brochures. For now, I will just cherish the idea that I was chosen. That alone is already an honor. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Veggies in the City

I would really love to grow my own vegetable garden. And because we don't have a plot of land here in the city, a container garden would do. I love the idea of harvesting fresh vegetables and fruits!

It was this love for everything fresh that made me stop and take some shots on these verdant scenery I discovered one hot Thursday this July.
Imagine seeing pechay growing just below LRT1 station in Manila!
This is in UN Avenue, a very busy thoroughfare. But look at the veggies.
They're green! And they're healthy!

I'm not sure if this is part of Senator Angara's Oh My Gulay! advocacy. Or it can be one of the projects of the city government or the World Health Organization which is located along UN Avenue. I really don't know who spearheaded this. But I'm happy that someone did.

I didn't like the sight of empty candy wrappers and cigarette butts near the plants. *Sigh. There are some people who don't realize our country's agricultural wealth. (Read: how rich our soil is and how conducive it is to growing anything thrown at it.)

There were other vegetables growing in that sidewalk. I remember seeing papaya trees. Whoever thought of this, I commend him. I wish to see more of this on the streets of Makati and other busy thoroughfares! It's time we all live a healthy life in a healthy environment. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My first time in Pagsanjan!

I never thought I would be able to see the Pagsanjan Falls. I always dreamt of going there but I don't know how to and I was always preoccupied with other more important things.

The artists and copywriters in our department have decided to unwind one weekend, so we thought of going somewhere all of us haven't gone to before. Rowel, an officemate who hails from Cavinti, Laguna where the famous falls is located, finally agreed when we asked if he could take us there and be our tour guide. (Yehey! After a year of prodding. Hehe.)

For a group of seven on a just-enough-budget, the easiest way to go there is to take the Greenstar Bus in Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Taft Avenue. We left Manila past 6:30 am and we were already in Sta. Cruz at 8:30am. We took a jeepney ride going to Cavinti and left our things in Rowel's house, went to the resort where we paid P1,350 for the boat (and lifevests and insurance) and off we headed to the falls. The boat can carry three passengers, aside from the two boatmen. So if you want to save, better ride in threes.
Tourists may opt to ride the raft and go under and behind the falls.
I highly recommend this! The experience was so unforgettable.
Note: The rafters didn't require us to pay. We voluntarily tipped them.

Two boatmen were assigned on each boat. I noticed that they wore shirts with numbers (and some others, even their last name) printed at the back. This maybe so tourists can easily remember who their boatmen were, should something went wrong. Or maybe, so that those in-charge of organizing the boatmen's schedules will have an easier time.

Prior to going there, I read from blogs that there were boatmen who would ask for tips after the ride. We thought of giving them tip, really. But when we saw how strenuous shooting the rapids was, we were more than willing to give them more than what me and my officemate agreed about. It was real, hard labor. Maneuvering the boat against the current was difficult enough. What more when we passed by curves and huge rocks. They literally carried our boats! I was very impressed with their strength. You would really feel that you were in good hands...and arms!

View from the Picnic Station

I really had a great time on my first visit to Pagsanjan Falls. I wish I would be able to bring my family there. It was really an unforgettable experience! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog

Tonight, I thought, should I renew GoDaddy's domain hosting of my blog or not?

When I received an email last month telling me that my blog's domain name was about to expire, I just archived it and almost forgot about it. I didn't lose interest in blogging. I was just so busy with so many things. A full-time job, teaching the kids and helping them with their assignments when I return from work, and chatting with husband before I go to sleep. Weekends are spent on bonding with the kids, grocery/shopping, and teaching the kids (again) and going to church on Sundays.

Learning photography: One of the things I am busy with right now

So if I renew the hosting and not blog, I am just wasting my money. But if I don't, someone else will get my precious domain name. :D As usual, human nature got the better of me. (Translation: I don't want others to own my domain name! Haha!) Tonight, just days before the hosting expires, (and while I am writing this), I logged in to GoDaddy and fill the cart with this blog's current domain name and clicked Place Order. There.

For the meantime, I will go to sleep and forget about blogging for a night. After all, this blog's domain name is still mine. For a year, at least. :D

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Quality Eyeglasses for Less

I have always wanted to buy a new pair of prescription glasses. My years of working in front of the computer has taken its toll on my eyes that I am beginning to feel some strain on it after just a few hours.

You might say that I am being foolish for not wearing reading glasses when it has been prescribed to me by an optometrist before. She found out that my left eye has a perfect vision and the right eye has a more-than-300 vision. And she said that since my left eye does most of the vision processing work, it might get strained and eventually suffer partial vision loss.

Sadly, I wore her prescribed eyeglasses only for a few days. I felt so uncomfortable wearing one. Until that pair of glasses got lost in the office. :(

Now that I am beginning to feel the need for one already, I again searched the net for online eyeglasses store offering very affordable, high quality, and stylish prescription eyeglasses. Almost all searches lead me to Zenni Optical which offers retro and vintage eyeglasses for men and women starting at $6.95.

I like this pair. I like the color and it perfectly fits the shape of my face.
And I like the price, huh? :)

Hmm…I think I’ll try their stylish eyeglasses. I just hope I won’t lose the new pair this time.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Am Back But Will Be Away Again...

I have been invisible for over a week. But I will be away again.

From ER

To confinement.

I will have to take a rest after several days in the hospital. (I'll talk about why I was admitted on one of my future posts, if I remember!)

Thanks so much for dropping by always and leaving warm and uplifting comments. Promise, I will be back, energized and raring to blog again! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Mega Stop Over

Going to the province is one of my fave things to do. I like a breather from the traffic and pollution, and the kids like it, too.
Gabby and Sunday while waiting for our service (a.k.a. my sister's car!)

But when you're bringing your kids along, just remember: Bring lots of things that will entertain them or make the long trip or vacation less boring.

Let them enjoy nature. That's what provinces are for:
the abundance of anything green and brown! :)

Bring enough food. Or be ready for whims.

But this time, it was my sister who craved for Chowking Halo-Halo. We stopped over at Mega Station to refill our stomachs after a long journey.
Caltex Mega Station is in NLEX, San Fernando, Pampanga. Aside from other sports stores like Adidas, the Mega Station also boasts of the biggest Nike Factory Store in the country.

My sister bought his son a motorbike in Raptor Sports.
She also bought Sunday a Blender and Shake Kitchen set, and Gabby a toy car.

Buying from stores in far places like Caltex Mega Station has taught me valuable lessons. We were already home when I discovered that an important part in Sunday's Blender set was missing! Had I known, I wouldn't let my sister buy that. Sunday was able to use the Blender but not the Shaker. Regrets. :( It would have been a different story if the toy was just bought in a department store near our house. Next time, I will be wiser and I will inspect all the parts of the product I am buying before I purchase it. (As for the Raptor Sports, I am not really sure if they were aware that a part was missing in the Kitchen Set. I dont' want to judge. I just wish I am their last unhappy customer.)

But I'm the type who always try to see the good/positive side of things. I just thought then that the happy moments in the province overshadow that sad incident. And for that, I will surely be back in the province in no time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

QMC: Our Circle of Fun!

I have one simple vice. I love to visit different places especially on weekends. It can be a park nearby, a zoo in another city, or a new themed mall. You name it, it's either I already heard or read about it or it's already listed on my itinerary. I have such the itchiest feet when it comes to going out. The only restriction is the budget, of course. :)

The 66-meter tall Quezon Memorial monument.
(66 is the age of Manuel Quezon when he died.)

With Gabby and Sunday in tow, I checked out the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) in Quezon City one weekend last December. QMC is our park of choice when the kids were younger. But when we moved to another city, going there became a hassle. It was when I missed biking that I thought of visiting it again.

I was surprised by the rehabilitation QMC has undergone. It is now more alive and offers more activities for the park goers.

The Circle of Joy: my kids' favorite part of QMC.
It boasts of ten play areas that Gabby and Sunday just can't get enough of! Free entrance, mommies!

I like it when my kids enjoy these play areas.
Playing and running make their bodies stronger and leaner.

Playing in public play areas also teaches them patience,
tolerance and respect for others.

I overheard a parkgoer said that Circle of Joy is open daily from morning till 5pm. But we were there past 6pm and there were still many kids playing. Hmm, maybe the management just want the kids to fully enjoy the play areas. :)

As long as they're happy, I am for it. Simple things make my kids happy.
And I'm one blessed mommy because of that!

While the kids were playing, I had the chance to take pics!
This balloon vendor got tired from walking and selling his stuff.
Who wouldn't? A 27-hectare circular park like this would challenge
even seasoned runners!

Another area of the park has these fitness equipments to help us
shape up and lose unwanted pounds!

I didn't know that the QMC is still so alive come night time.
With kids running around and playing with their lighted toys,
no wonder QMC is the place to be for families who love to unwind.

This is what I enjoyed the most there. The light on the monument changes colors
while the water on the fountain playfully jets and sways to modern tunes.

For someone who has been playing with colors and forms for a long while
(just like me), this musical fountain is a source of inspiration!

There are so many things you can do at Quezon Memorial Circle. Biking, running, having a picnic, play badminton, basketball or volleyball, learn history in its museum, or just relax. Honestly, I prefer going there than going to malls where I am tempted to spend some hard-earned money. Surely, I will go back to QMC. It's my nature-meets-fun park! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Facing 2011 and Enjoying It

It's already 2011! New beginnings, new resolutions and new hope!

What better way to welcome 2011 than to feel fresh, rejuvenated and physically renewed! Days before 2011, I won an Aescultura Acne Clearing Facial GC from Kim of Beauty Addict. (Thanks, Kim!) I had second thoughts in availing it since the clinic is far from where I live. But I believe I deserved some pampering during the holidays, so off to Aescultura I went.

The Aescultura GC which Kim sent me through Air21

Honestly, what made me fret in going to Aescultura are the words Art and Science of Beauty. I don't know why. Maybe because as a graphic designer, I am so used to Photoshopping the models' flaws in the marketing collaterals that I design that I sometimes associate Art and Beauty with manipulation, digital or not. And with news of beauty operations performed by fly-by-night doctors left and right, I worry about coming out of that clinic with a scarred face! :)

But my worries are baseless. Sarah, the facialist told me that I have good skin and she didn't have a hard time treating my skin imperfections. She was also very careful and gentle. After that facial, I promised to get rid of my warts next. I have a bad number of them in my face and they really bother me. :(

With treatment rooms and beauty equipments like these,
I know I can get rid of my warts with as little pain possible. :)

This is me before the facial. I forgot to take a pic of me after!
I had tiny bumps on my face because of the treatment.
But the tiny scar and bumps were gone in a few days.

Yes, I feel refreshed after that facial. I also feel that this year is another great and wonderful year for me. May we all have a blessed 2011! :)

Aescultura Art and Science of Beauty
Future Point Plaza One, 112 Panay Ave.,
South Triangle, Quezon City
+632 3765969 | +632 3724533