Hell-av-a-Monday

I feel stupid, frustrated, disappointed and depressed today. I can hear The Cranberries sing in my head, asking me ‘do you have to let it linger?

I don’t want to, but it just won’t go away either…

First Event

I went back to BIR South to follow up on our Authority to Print, with Form 1906 on my hand. I was more hopeful that everything’s gonna be okay because I was referred to a ‘better’ person (that handles) updates regarding pending ATPs – who is Ms. May. Only to be told that the received stamp was not from their office but from the other district’s branch.

More simply, our printer gave the application form to the wrong branch.

ATP BIR

Biogesic please!

Now angry and frustrated, I went back to Roedils Printing to report to them what I was told. I should’ve known they were disorganized when they had a hard time finding our Form 1909. This time, they said they would prioritize us with their next batch of follow ups with the BIR. I asked them where should I follow up next? Took a while before anyone from the 4 printing press staff could respond that they would update me later around 5:00 pm (which didn’t happen).

Second Event

I was supposed to cross off 3 items on my to-do list: 1) withdraw additional petty cash 2) pay our water bill 3) get a haircut. I was only able to accomplish 1.

Because I felt bad already, I was thinking twice whether I’d give myself a break and go to SM to do everything there. But because I was so fickle-minded, I took a jeep going to the main MCWD branch to pay there. I didn’t even know I lack enough cash, but I retreated upon seeing that it was so crowded inside. I opted to go to E-mall instead.

Cebu Jeepneys

Braving the commute and losing my way…

I hailed a jeep and asked if it would go by E-mall. Speaking in Bisaya, they said no, but would drive by the coliseum. Thinking that they were being sarcastic, I ignored them, but hopped in anyway. I was thinking it would go around anyway and I could just hop off and walk. But it didn’t drop by the Coliseum, and I noticed that we were already on the N. Bacalso highway.

Goodbye haircut.

Third Event

Trying to brush off my stupidity and my misfortune, I was thinking to pay the bill at the nearby bank when I get off on the way to our apartment. I was able to withdraw money from the ATM and was about to enter the bank when I was stopped by the security guard.

Oras

Tumatakbo ang oras naiiwan na ako…

Turns out water bill payments are only until 2:00 pm. I didn’t notice that it was already 3:00 pm. I was still feeling rebellious and I wanted to accomplish more today, so I stood by the roadside, waiting for a jeep to drive by…

I could still pay the bill. I could still get a haircut. I might lift my mood for even a little.

On Second Thought

After I few seconds though… I just walked back home.

Olive is alone with her yaya. I have a deadline to meet tomorrow. I have collections to follow up. I can’t manage to smile or even look at myself in the mirror. I feel dirty from the smoke and dust particles. I feel like an old haggard mom.

And I found myself irrevocably sad.

What Happened?

Why am I sad? Why am I down again? Can’t the happiness factors outnumber the bad things that happened today? Maybe… But my mind is just too clouded to look at the silver linings.

I felt stupid for not being fully literate with this third language. I found my confidence lost because I can’t engage in a full conversation with other people. I lose my way around. I’m like a handicapped person. I wasn’t like this since elementary and high school…

That’s sad, right?

And then I wanted to attend to myself. Because I feel old and unkept. Because I was told that I looked pregnant even if I’m not. Because I didn’t have the freedom and the time I used to have when I was single. Because I can’t go out anytime I want when my husband is working and there’s a baby, a business and a freelance job to look after.

But then, if I want to go out, I’m just by myself – no besties, no friends to talk to – about movies, how our friends are all getting married and having kids, the latest hook-ups in our social circle, where to find a good hairstylist, how was traveling to this country like?

I think I’m going mental…

Even an introvert needs a bit of socializing.

First Aid

So what’s a quick remedy?

I was thinking of Jollibee Flip Float, but its gonna make me more fat. Running? Too early, and it looked like it would rain anytime. I have calls and emails to check. Coffee and chocolate mix – too much caffeine, I might go Parkinsons mode again.

Instead, I rushed to check my Facebook and read the news. Flooding has reached Cavite, and it got me worried some part of our house would break. So I checked on my folks to see if they were alright. My dad called and I learned that the wall at the National Power Grid (which was near our residence) gave in from the the flood and caused damage to the main road and a portion of a huge house nearby. Work was cancelled at the city hall. And the weather was just chilly. Gosh I miss home!

Typhoon Maring + Habagat

Water world ang peg ng Cavite ngayon…

I received mail from a satisfied client. I’m happy that it was worth not sleeping for.

Lastly, I took everything in here. Without this blog, I’d probably be in an asylum now or ran off elsewhere (to mini-vacation on impulse). Its like I’m having a monologue. Unsure if anyone would read, understand or respond. But at least I have a blank page to talk to.

I do not regret living here and having a family, the business and all. Its just that it sucks when you don’t have a social circle and you have a language barrier to break. Maybe its also my fault because I’m not the type to easily make friends with anyone. I often stick to my wolf pack and meet new friends from there. But they’re just beyond my reach right now…

You know that feeling when you miss going out with your bunch – drink, sing at the videoke and talk about stories you’ve talked about infinitely? You wanna catch up with their lives and yours, get advice and share some insight. Girl talk! Bitch out, rant and throw fits for fun or nothing at all. Spend time with people who share the same favorite TV series, books, places, foods… It hasn’t happened for years now. And maybe I’m at my social need limit.

If I was a character in The Sims (yes the game & my favorite one), I’d probably be the depressed one, the one crying helplessly, or the one who fails to wake up and prefer to stay dreaming. (Or later on begin to see aliens and ghosts as well, lolz)

Depressed Sim

Depressed character in The Sims game

And how do you satisfy that virtual need? The character calls up friends to chat, invites them over or they go out.

That’s in virtual reality.

But I think, right now, it essentially holds true in real life.

On the last note, I actually feel better after writing out everything.

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Whoa Saturday!

Can’t believe I was able to doze around 12 midnight and be alive, alert and awake by 7:30 am. Yes that feels good! :3

That’s a consolation from yesterday’s headache which were:

  • Waking up at 11:30 am, because I was still counting sheep around 3:00 am. And even if I can’t sleep, I bothered Mr. H to go down and get me water because I was freaking with thoughts of The Conjuring (even if I didn’t watch the movie).
  • Checking my email which unsurprisingly have pending tasks. Sorry clients! =_=’
  • Fast tracking updates on our business’ vouchers, business expenses, petty cash, account balances, pending cash for deposit.
  • Storming the BIR office to follow up on our ATP (Authority to Print) which has been pending for 2 months. Only to be told that everything’s been released.
  • Which led me to rush to our printer who primarily couldn’t supply the date our requirements were submitted to the BIR. But was able to produce the processing stub after my fit of rage and terrorizing glares.

Yummy mogu-mogu lychee & nata de coco :3

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Comic & cute relief yesterday! Lychee & Nata De Coco Juice I saw at 7-11. :3

  • Went home to our yaya’s report that our LPG tank is empty.
  • Rushing to the grocery, dined out with the entire family and went back home almost 10:00 pm

I was happy to be dead tired because I know I’d be able to sleep early. With just bread for breakfast, I was greeted by intriguing, sad and happy news for the day:

  • 2 ships collided at Mactan Strait last night (while we were at the grocery). We confirmed the news because Aidz, our lodger who’s a nurse at VSMMC (the PGH of Cebu) saw the patients brought in after her shift.
  • SoWhatsNews published this satirical list of properties allegedly found by the NBI which includes a Wagyu Cattle Ranch in Bulacan to name a few. Hilarious must read. But some people just don’t get satire.
  • Michael V, my favorite Filipino comedian, has dengue 😦 and he was getting worse. His blood type is B+. I hope he recovers soon!
  • Apparently, those who have sex at least 4x a week make more money than average people. My disgust when I thought about JLN and our lecherous politicians. Sexy statistics fail!
  • We have a new supply of LPG tank and Mr. H won’t be going for field service today!

That means I have to haul myself to do some house chores, freelance work and some pampering today.

Energy burst mode!!!

Back on Our Feet

“We’re back on our feet!”

This was what my husband said a few days ago, as he successfully closed new projects and observed that I’m busy doing several design projects (and didn’t have time to blog).

Aside from our savings (which is still in replenish mode), I think could agree. ^_^

My freelancing took a back seat when Olive was born. The problem with being a freelancer is that nobody gives you a maternity leave. You earn great, but if you are impulsive and spoil yourself with a lavish lifestyle, you might end up zero. I had savings on my oDesk wallet to cover a month that I won’t be able to work. But since I delivered via CS, it wasn’t enough and ended up being used as payment for our hospital bills. We were broke after out discharge.

The first few weeks felt so chaotic and depressing.

I had to nurse Olive. We have additional people to feed in the house. I felt like I NEED TO GET BACK TO WORK ASAP. But attending to Olive took up most of the time in my day, I can’t even do anything else. I notified my clients, beforehand, that I’d be away for a while. But although they were supportive and understanding, one by one, most of my contracts ended. Google was no help when I looked up any tips for pregnant freelancers. I guess there really was no advice but to prepare even for the unexpected.

Thankfully, Lauren of Flavours Catering, who’s been my long-time client, sent me a job that kept me busy. I had to send back PSD files of the materials I’ve done for them so they could archive everything. In the end, there were a total of more than 700 PSD files since I began working from them last year. (Come to think of it, I’ve been working with her for a year now) I sent the last batch last March 19.

Having nothing else to do, I applied to open jobs again. Despite being experienced and with good client feedback, not even 1 of the 25 job applications I’ve sent ended up with a job offer. I was anxious. I know that if I can’t meet my self-imposed quota, next month’s vaccination, christening and credit card bills would be a problem. God was probably in the works though, ‘coz the next morning, I had like 4-6 job invitations and has been piling up til now. Like oDesk acknowledges that I’m back from my maternity leave.
Loving My oDesk Clients

As eager as I am in getting new projects, I quickly responded and landed with 3 new tasks. It felt like scoring my first job again on oDesk!

I took on a fixed-rate project with Edie – a motivational speaker/author, who needs a double-sided flyer for a book expo. She’s happy with the draft I sent so far and even recommended me to her colleagues. I like that she’s smart and sweet despite her level of being an expert and that.

On hourly jobs, I got on board the team of James – who’s into promoting Youtube SEO. I’m doing his monthly newsletter using iWork’s Pages. Its actually my first time doing a task out of it, but it feels great that I’m able to deliver and meet his expectations. This is also the first time that I’m actually also able to converse with other outsourced member of his team.

Last but not the least is Jennifer. I’m so glad to have met a client who’s also a fellow work at home mom! Did her flyers and postcards and am exploring MailChimp for customized templates. She’s my second client who needs a template done and I think its about time I learn about it.

Busy with oDesk

Happy to have my hands busy

For the first time, in a long while, I felt happy with getting stressed. My to-do list was full, and I’m juggling with office work with HVPC. I could only manage to whip an experimental snack for a break. Try champorado + Coffee Mate + Corn Flakes, really yummy!

nom nom nom

Quick Snack: mix left over champorado with Coffee Mate and Kellogs Cornflakes. YUM!

But if isn’t for Fahima, I wouldn’t have my first freelance job and my first client feedback. A 5-minute business card was my first stint into the freelance world. She was always patient with me despite my shortcomings when I get loaded with work. She and Lauren are my long-time clients who gave me a badly needed pat on the back! (After a long while of working in the Philippine Government).

Preps for Olive’s Christening

Christening Event

Saved money from not printing invitations

And as projects keep coming, Mr. H and I are busy on the side preparing for Olive’s christening. We’re targeting April 13 at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where her dad was also baptized. I’m quite sad that my family and friends couldn’t come due to short notice. Anyhow, we’re also on a limited budget, so we’re not planning anything fancy. We might just take the few expected visitors to a restaurant for dinner.

Last night, we bought her a outfit for the rites. A white dress with cap & frilly socks from Metro Ayala Dept. Store and this super cute headband from Celestina & Co. (The Maze at Ayala Cebu).

Celestina & Co Headband

Really happy with this head band! 🙂 planningtobuymore

Olive's Christening Dress

Cotton dress with bloomers for our princess

I’m super satisfied with what we’ve bought! I might actually wear it myself if I were her size! So glad to have found the headpiece! The dept store at Metro Ayala ran out of stocks. But I think I found a treasure trove at the Maze. They had so much to choose from that I didn’t have to check out online stores to buy from Manila.

Daddy H also INSISTED we buy her pairs of short pants and toys. She’s just always wearing a diaper at home. I bought her pajamas but we don’t dress her with those since its always humid. And the father wants her to have a variety of things to look at at home aside from Ate’s wallflower and our photos and glow in the dark stickers posted on our bedroom wall. While at that, I also bought her extra hooded towels. Olive’s grown out of the ones Mommy brought from Dasma. ^^

Baby Shorts

Assorted colored baby shorts on sale!

Care Bears hooded towel

Care Bears hooded towel

Stuff Toys

Chicken & fish plushies

So we got her these shorts which were on sale, a mobile set from Fisher Price (T_T so expensive), a blue birdie and colorful fishie stuff toys. I insisted we drop by Comic Alley for my choice of stuffed toys. Thinking of cute plushies but they’re out of stock.

Tiny Milestones

My credit card sure got smoking, but its worth it when we saw Olive’s curiosity and enjoyment. Playing with her makes me feel like a kid again! ^_^ And what do you know, from the last time that I’ve posted, our tiny bee also learned some new skills!

She’s beginning to turn to her side, do the caterpillar crawl and, oh, what a loud solid crying voice! XD

Olive learns to turn

Olive learns to turn

She’s also more talkative and responsive compared from the last month. We just have to capture it on amateur video for when she grows up! 🙂

Missing Dasma this Holy Week

Its the start of Semana Santa and we might just stay at home. Its my second Holy Week spent here in Cebu, and I’m missing Dasma a LOT! The last time we were there, we went to Calaruega to inquire about the wedding venue, dropped by Sonia’s Garden and roadtripped to traffic.

McDonald's spotted on our road trip

McDonald’s caught on traffic at Tagaytay

Sonya's Garden

Fantasized our wedding reception to be held here, if not for the vegetarian menu and price tag that’s way above our budget!

 

Calaruega, Batangas

Me and my then-boyfriend at Calaruega :3

In the following days, I know I’d be scrolling down to newsfeed of family outings or friendly get togethers on Facebook. I wish we’d be there next Lenten Season and be with family on Visita Iglesia.

But actually, just being at home with them and Olive. That’s more than enough.

Grapefruit Caught My Eye

I dropped by Gaisano Tisa last night after our window shopping at SM. Pinauna ko na lang sila Olive umuwi dahil gutom na and we’ve exhausted yung baon naming feeding bottles and milk. Wala kasing breastfeeding station sa Gaisano, dyahe naman. And besides, I can see sa face ng makulit na pagod na din siya (pati si Jane).

I’ve been carrying a grocery list since we left the house but I didn’t want to shop at the SM grocery. Bukod sa expired na ang SM Advantage Card ko, cheaper talaga yung merchandise sa Gaisano and the store is just small na kabisado ko na kung san hahanapin yung lahat ng kelangan bilhin. I hate getting lost on the grocery especially if malaki. I had an experience na pabalik balik ako sa magkabilang dulo ng lugar para lang makuha yung isang pack ng powdered milk at isang pirasong butter. Lurky much!

Anyhow, so nandun na ko sa grocery. To follow si Mr. H after making sure that Olive’s rested at home. Start na ko with the shopping. First sa toiletries. Last time, I tried Camay’s Vanilla Shower Gel. I was pleased kasi medyo kaamoy niya yung Body Shop Vanilla Buttercreme Shower Gel that my friend Cecille gave as a present on our wedding. Aside from the scent though, it wasn’t any much better than Safeguard Aloe liquid soap that I’ve been using since nagbuntis ako. I was expecting a cleaner feel and soft feeling as promised sa commercial. Bumenta kasi sa ‘kin si Angelica Panganiban.

Camay Shower Gel

Camay Shower Gel in Vanilla (white) and Grapefruit (transparent bottle)

I was going to buy Safeguard na lang again pero nakita ko sa shelf yung isa pang Camay na Grapefruit naman ang peg. I admit, as a designer bumenta din yung packaging! ^_^’ AND ubos na din yung Safeguard liquid soap sa shelf kaya its fated na subukan ko yung Camay. I checked the price on the scanner and I think its a bit pricey for 62 pesos. Pero ganun talaga, kailangan bumawi sa cost ng advertisement and packaging. Pag-uwi sa bahay I tried it. Dito kasi sa Cebu, mas prefer ko maligo sa gabi kesa sa umaga. Parang Amerikana no? E kasi nakakahinayang din kapag naligo ka sa umaga tapos habang nagbibihis ka sa kwarto, tumutulo na ulit yung pawis mo. The entire day maaalikabukan lang din and papawisan. I also love going to bed na malinis ang pakiramdam. Parang mas mahimbing yung tulog ko kapag bagong paligo.

In fairness energizing naman ang peg ng Grapefruit Camay Shower Gel. Pangtanggal pagod after the long day we had at the crowded mall. Like the Vanilla version, clear din siya and it lathers well when you rub it in your skin. I just hope the liquid is thicker in consistency. The bottome line is that you feel happy when you smell yourself after a long day. There’s also a feeling that you’re detoxified when you smell like fruit. It gives a luxurious experience without regret that your bathing with something super expensive. All in all, if I’m not tight on budget, I’d try Camay Grapefruit and Vanilla Shower Gel again.

A Day Out in the City

I WENT OUT OF THE HOUSE ALONE LAST THURSDAY!!!

Yes that’s BIG NEWS! The last time I went out alone was for a checkup when I was a few months pregnant and I had to go back home right after because I had so many weird goings-on in my body. This time its to complete my SSS requirements, buy some office supplies and canvass a dress for Olive. We’re planning to have her christened next month.

As usual, the heat and the crowded jeepneys of Cebu were killer factors. I rarely opt to bring an umbrella, but I HAD TO lately. 1 year mahigit na akong di gumagamit ng whitening soap! And though I appreciate the traffic flow in Cebu City, hate ko talaga mag-commute sakay ng jeep. Pilit pa ding pinagkakasya ng mga kundoktor yung isang dosenang pasahero sa jeep na sampuan lang. Siguro kung batang maliliit kaming lahat keri lang. And I don’t know why people still ride a jeep na obvious namang punong puno na if you look from the outside. Meron kahit dulo na lang ng pwet ang nakaupo poise pa din. Talent siguro yun. >_> Dati sa Dasma, kapag nakitang madami ng nakasakay, maghihintay na ng kasunod na jeep yung mga pasahero. Kahit hindi nagsisinungaling yung barker nung sinabi nyang 2 pa yung kasya. Hehe.

Moving on, I unloaded at Maternity (version ng Fabella dito sa Cebu minus the scent of lochia you could smell from outside), crossed to the opposite side of the road para maglakad from Osmeña Circle to Cebu Doc. Oo nagtitipid ako ng pamasahe. Plus I was planning to enjoy the stroll despite knowing its 1:30 PM at walang kaulap-ulap sa siyudad.

Fuente Osmena

Hello City! We meet again!

One thing I appreciate about Cebu is that, unlike Manila, they have wide and clean sidewalks. You wont get paranoid about the people around because there’s a policeman stationed at strategic spots. Hindi naman ganun ka-crowded sa streets ng Cebu on an ordinary day. Compared din sa Manila, controlled naman yung peace and order dito kaya hindi ganun kahigpit ang hawak ko sa bag at hindi din ako nagbaon ng heavy duty cutter.

I passed by the Cebu City Public Library or the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum. Its structure is a bit overwhelming. I learned that the library is only housed in the ground floor. Upstairs probably served as a museum. There was a poster outside about an art exhibit. I’m hoping that its spacious inside, mentally picturing something like APD. Somewhat missed that place. I hope I could bring Olive to the Children’s section when we get home. Oh the huge storybooks and the puppets!

Rizal Memorial Library & Museum

Cebu City Public Library

A few more steps and I’m at my first destination. I went back to Cebu Doctors University Hospital to get my OB and Operating Room record as a requirement for my SSS claim. I just recently had the focus to fix the requirements. Partly because I feel like I need the refund since I couldn’t focus on freelancing lately. I liked the male clerk at the Medical Records Section.  He’s probably around 40-50 years old, but very accommodating despite his intimidating appearance. Plus points that he spoke in Tagalog when I told him I’m can’t understand Cebuano that much. He even checked my SSS maternity claim requirements if I missed something. For my OB record, I had to leave the form with Ms. Arlene, Dr. Larissa’s secretary, and call back if its ready for pick-up. For a while, I kinda missed having my prenatal checkups. Dr. Roa is very reassuring and kind throughout my pregnancy. I’d recommend her to anyone who needs and OB. 🙂

Medical Records Section

Waiting for my OR Records @ Cebudoc

I walked towards the Provincial Capitol after I’m done at CDUH. Mainit pa din. Pero tinamad na ko ilabas yung payong ko. Yung bitbit ko na lang na document envelop pinangsangga ko sa araw. The commute to Ayala was much better. Hindi puno yung jeep and wala ding kundoktor. I went to Broadway Gems first. Kelangang kelangan ko talaga bumili ng pony kasi nawawala yung kaisa-isang ponytail ko na bitbit galing Dasma. Nakakahinayang kasi may sentimental value yun. Tas long hair na ang lola mo, e sobrang humid ngayong mga nakaraang araw mga te. I really need to buy another one and a spare, in case ma-misplace ko na naman. Side effects ng General Anesthesia! So ayun nga. I’m not a fan of fancy hair accessories but I chose a candy colored spring type pony (14 pesos) and a simple black one (8 pesos) (pang serious mood). Namamahalan pa ko dun kasi alam ko sa bangketa makakabili ako nun ng tag-5 lang. Pero sobrang natuwa ako nung napadaan ako sa Marcella & nakita ko yung mga kapareho nun na mas mahal ang presyo. Bargain pa din yung nabili ko. Sinulit ko na din at bumili ako ng dangling earrings, a sparkly heart-shaped fancy diamond and a simple black teardrop pearl at 20 pesos each. Mura na din! Sa bahay lang din naman ako mag-eearrings habang nagtatrabaho. Hehe! I feel like dressing up sometimes kahit nandito lang sa bahay nagtatrabaho no!

Ponies and earrings

Ponytails and earrings from Broadway Gems

Next, I window shopped for a toy para kay Olive. I was thinking about a puppet or a mobile to hang at our bedroom or on top of her crib. Nakaka-respond na kasi siya if she hears a sound. Madaldal na din siya and BabyCenter was recommending the toys for her speech, eye and audio sensory development. Window shop lang kasi I have a strict budget in mind for her toys and christening dress. I found several dresses for Olive and a matching pair of shoes. We’ve decided though, na hindi namin siya pagsusuotin nung makati sa balat yung tela. You know what I’m talking about. Those dresses na parang pang-abay. I’m sure you’ve been forced to wear one before. I saw some that fits our budget pero pretty din & masusuot pa niya on other occassions.

I have my eyes on YOU!!!

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Kikay bib

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Olive's Christening dress?

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Kaso eto na, napansin ko andaming nakabalandra sa hallways. Sale pala sa Metro until March 18! I really not an impulsive buyer, but after seeing so many pretty dresses napakuha talaga ako! I also found a toy for Olive. Just a simple pink baby rattle, the cheapest in the infant toys section. Pero kahit ordinary lang siya, hindi talaga nawala ang attention ng bruha kapag naririnig at nakikita nya yun. ^___^ SULIT!!!

Guilty purchase from the Metro Ayala sale

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Eye candy for Olive

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So this is really how it feels kapag mommy ka na. Parang lagi mo gusto uwian ng pasalubong yung anak mo. Lalo na kapag baby girl! Parang ansarap maghoard ng baby dresses sa mall at umorder ng sunod sunod sa mga online stores. Tough act for a frugal person like me! Nakakaloka lang yung price tags! Mas mahal pa yung mga damit ng baby kesa sa damit naming mag-asawa. At bakit kung anong liit ng mga laruan ngayon, kasing mahal na din ng damit ng baby?! I found a mobile as well with cute teddy bears. I just wasn’t really decisive on buying it (unlike the dress ^_^). I was thinking of bringing along Daddy H before buying. Well actually, its more of getting his approval kasi I’m also planning to buy another set of baby towel and beddings. Mahirap na baka mag-overspend. Hindi pa naman ako masyado nakakapag-oDesk ngayon.

So cute but so expensive

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Hanu ba yan! Pagka-gamay, pagka-mahal! >_>

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Unbelievable price tags! x_X

 

But there. I’m glad I’m able to get another dose of the outdoors. Hope I could go to a different place again next time. Maybe take a stroll again at the Ayala parking lot or the sports complex. Being alone is somewhat therapeutic. Kinda makes me feel like myself again or figure out the changes in my life and embrace it when I come home. I’m thankful my husband allowed me to go. Til the next time! As of the moment, I’ll go burn some keyboards for cash. 😉

Workstation

Work – work – work!

Dealing with Getting Stuck in an Inhospitable Environment

I’m up at 5:30 AM as I’m beginning to write this.

Blame it on the neighbors, neighbors’ pets, and the pesky construction workers who buy their coffee from the apartment next door. My pregnancy must be at the most sleep-deprived phase as of several weeks now. Tough getting sleep as my stomach gets bigger. Tougher keeping oneself asleep when you hear even just a little noise.

I could rant the whole 9 months of my pregnancy and even after giving birth perhaps. And yes I’m at the threshold of my patience. But given our financially constricted situation, we have no choice as of the moment but to stay here…

We’re supposed to have found an apartment in a more ideal environment. I’ve even convinced myself that its worth spending our little savings if I could afford a little peace for ourselves. But upon almost final negotiations, we realized we’d be spending more than we thought about. Not good considering I’m about to give birth in 2 months (62 days from now to be exact). That’s 50k slashed off our pockets and we haven’t bought any baby stuff yet. Heck, 7 months on and I haven’t even bought myself that maxi dress! Paeta!

So to console ourselves… I decided today should be a bit more rewarding. We’ll have lunch out, buy some Christmas décor, get a haircut and shop a little. Anyway, I was able to withdraw some dollar savings with a higher forex rate last night. I promised we’d allot some of that for our personal shopping needs. We haven’t bought anything for ourselves in almost a year now.

*Sigh! So this is how it feels to live (almost) independently. I didn’t realize how much it could cost to eat well, rent a comfortable nest, and keep the simple lifestyle we have. We’ve been so frugal in shopping, traveling and nights out. And we’re still grateful that Cebu offers an urban life at a cheaper cost. I’m sad to admit that my mom was right when she said it was a pain to write down daily expenses and review each tiny expenditure if its worth it or not. Sometimes, especially when a pregnant woman craves for it, you just have to spend. It feels wrong to compute every peso you spend just to eat a decent and filling meal – not when you’re having a baby and is living with 2 adult males.

If I do the math, what we’re probably earning right now is just enough for our basic needs. And it could be lesser than what my parents were earning when my dad was on active police duty. I could almost hear my mom behind me sarcastically saying ‘I told you so…’ =_=

So after accepting the (SAD) fact that we’re bound to stay here a little bit longer, the only helpful things I could make of our situation is to:

1)   Be more productive (as tough as it is to concentrate on working). I’m glad I was able to attend the oDesk Contractors Appreciation Day. I think everyone who participated were able to get increased client job invitations. I plan to increase my weekly quota in earnings. Slacking is not an option if we want to beat life’s bitch. I’m also thinking of collaborating projects with some people in our network. All that while still performing as co-manager of our humble business. AND DESPITE finding it hard to focus. (Construction workers spend their break times on the next door apartment selling snacks. THEY ARE LOUD & always on a yosi break!).

2)   Save more. Increase quota. Increase earnings. Increase savings. We’ll be saving for three people by next year already!

3)   Acquire household stuff one at a time. I didn’t realize we barely have any furniture, household equipment and fixture when we move out. Top on the list would be water boiler, drinking glasses, pitchers, pails, laundry basins, curtains, rugs, kitchen towels and bed sheets. Washing machine and LED TV is also a priority for clean laundry and space-saving home entertainment.

4)   Keep constantly on the look out for rental properties. Apartments for rent don’t run out in the city. Somebody always moves out and moves in. But there are only a few that offer comfort and peace. They’re like needles in a haystack though and may be more expensive. But as my cousin (who’s been renting ever since her college days) says – you’re also paying for the environment. Never live in a place where you’d be unhappy.

5)   Financially, mentally and emotionally prepare. Rent plus utility expenses could almost cost one of our salaries. Being pregnant, I can’t stay sane without an air-conditioning unit. I sweat all the time. Right now, we’re also splitting our rent with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and a lodger. If we’re moving out, we’ll be paying for the rent by ourselves. And when the baby comes out, we can’t settle with eating noodles and street sold food as meals. It would be quality over expense. Health shouldn’t be sacrificed.

So there… I am now about to count our savings. Not going back to sleep because everyone in the nearby compounds, that brat who always scream for his mama, construction laborers and the roosters next door are thrice more awake by now. Throwing bombs and going on a killing spree is not a kind option. I’m trying to stay positive hoping that somewhere before I get to deliver the baby, we’ll be able to find a better nest.

A whole new world.

Facebook Status – Monday, July 9, 2012

seven months after, i feel as if i’m totally a different person in different place. all the stress, hate and angst are part of a history that only made me see things in a larger perspective. and its a whole new world!

Could not have felt how time flew by so fast…

My last WP entry was May. And by then there were so many interesting turn of events I wanted to write about. In fact I have my list:

  1. 20 Reasons why I love Cebusprung after an American Expat was criticized for hosting a controversial video; I was also intending this to be a comparison of Cebu-Manila and Cavite in terms of implementing social order, traffic management, politics, affordability of commodities and lifestyles.
  2. 20 Reasons why I hate Cebu – inspired to be, well, an express of support to that American Expat who spoke what’s grossly true about our state.
  3. Promoting slavery in the corporate worldafter how I found out that one of the companies I applied for had pending labor lawsuits and how we should fight for what we deserve in this business called life.
  4. A trip to Cebu City Hall – noting how a city hall should look like a city hall and how happy I was from the Cebu City Government’s public service. No irate government employee encountered!
  5. Things I miss from Dasma – mainly the food, some family culture and just being home

In the past months, we followed the historic impeachment of the Chief Justice of the Philippines, watched Mon Tulfo beaten to a pulp by the Santiago gang, how Pacman was ROBBED of his title, got elated and then bored at how ABS-CBN is prolonging Walang Hanggan, missed the ASPIN Day held at Plaza Independencia. I mentally took note of details, saved pictures and planned at how I’ll make time each day to write about everything.

Then came a surprise for me and Mr. H. We found ourselves pregnant with our first baby! And yes, I’m on my third month as of this writing.

TVU Scan

I wouldn’t want to blame it on the baby, but the morning sickness and a multitude of pregnancy ‘norms’ I’m experiencing until now, kept me from working comfortably time. Its not an excuse that I sleep longer and more frequent than usual. I feel tired if I can’t. The horrible moments of puking and loss of appetite almost drove me nuts. Thank God I have such generous in-laws who send us supplies of fresh fish, vegetables and tasty lechon!

But the ultimate gift is having a husband who’s dedicated in supporting me all throughout the cravings, left-overs, running errands on a whim, cooking and washing the dishes especially when I detest the smell of food around. I could not have been more happy that I’m married. ^_^

It must be really God’s fate on how we’re keeping up with our lives…

Our pregnancy is an added toll at how we’re still establishing our business. We have larger bills to pay with the company’s overhead costs, my prenatal care, lab tests, vitamins and supplements. We’ve been quite frantic when we’re busy, double so when we’re not having sales. I’m still working as a freelance graphics designer while my pregnancy hormones are keeping everything in my physique unstable.

In spite of these, we still have time to watch Prime Time Kapamilya (lolx), splurge gastronomically on our wedding monthsary, watch downloaded movies before bedtime, fool around in bed and laugh at the silly things we notice from each other. And no, we’re not taking life as a joke. In fact, we’re looking forward to the birth of our baby. We have this virtual procurement plan for him/her through improvements with our business combined with my freelance earnings. We’re excited to show him/her off to family and friends and welcome him home.

Its really a whole new world, and I could not have imagined surviving if life wasn’t miraculously setup this way now. The rush of temper is often controlled now. In fact, I haven’t been agitated for quite a while – everything seemed forgiveable. Although I do miss nagging at some delinquent people at times, everything seemed so in the past.

And next month, we’re going to revisit that place, not to recollect history, but GORGE. YES GORGE IN FOOD! I’m so craving for home-made food back home!

Ways to learn Cebuano

My mother warned that I should learn Cebuano before I come to live in Cebu. I lived with my family all my life. And she’s afraid that my husband (or anyone) would sell her only daughter out if I can’t understand what they’re saying. ^^’ True in fact, my in-laws rarely converse in Tagalog even if I’m around.

My husband says when Cebuanos go to Manila, they had to speak in Tagalog despite difficulties in speaking the language. In the same way, Manileños/Caviteños need to speak Cebuano when they come here. He further explains the pains they had to go through in school to learn the Philippine language and how tough his former Tagalog employer was when he required all his Cebuano employees to speak in Tagalog when he’s around.

So in order for me to adapt, I took note of several ways by which I could learn the language and speak it:

1)   Learn from someone close to you

Ask someone to casually teach you basic Cebuano expressions. In my case, I ask my husband about a conversation or expression I can’t understand and he translates it for me. I ask for the meaning of words I often hear from housemates, officemates and locals.

Just see to it that you ask someone patient enough, especially if you’re like me who constantly forget terminologies or confuse pronunciations and definitions. You wouldn’t want someone to walk out on you and say ‘Ay ambot sa imo!’

2)   Buy a dictionary

must have tool

Learn Conversational English, Tagalog and Cebuano in 24 Hours by C.S. Canonigo

Head to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy of a pocket dictionary. The Cebuano-English-Tagalog guide is very handy in case your Cebuano friend or family is not around. I bought mine at National Bookstore for 75 pesos only. Browse it before you sleep so you’ll save some vocabulary for tomorrow’s istoryahan.

3)   Watch TV Patrol Central Visayas and Cebuano TV commercials

Cebuanos love being updated with current events so at 5:00 pm, expect the neighborhood TV tuned in to TV Patrol Central Visayas. Local news in and around the City is reported in Cebuano. Consider also that TV news reporters speak slower and are more syllabicated in pronouncing, hence you could follow proper pronunciation of words.

You wouldn’t find this convenience if you’ll be listening to a family conversation. Chances are, you’d either be lost in track or you’d just phone a friend later. Tune in also to TV commercials. The repetition of words intended to establish recall is helpful for someone learning the local language.

4)   Listen to the radio

The FM and AM airwaves in the Visayas region wouldn’t bring you Jam 88.3 or Magic 89.9. Trust me. I’m missing the K-pop and J-pop segment on Jam already!

But don’t snub the radio just yet! Take this to your advantage. Listen to Love Radio or the local commentators on the AM stations. Do this while cooking, sweeping around the house, or while doing the laundry. You wouldn’t notice how you’d soon absorb local humor and politics.

5)   Eavesdrop on local Cebuanos

Yes. I know its bad, but I’m guilty in doing this. Unsuspecting locals wouldn’t know I’m listening because some would know I’m Tagalog. I often stay quiet. But I somehow manage to pickup on their conversation bit by bit. And then I’ll save some terms to ask Mr. H later on.

6)   Read the forums on Istorya.net

Istorya.net

Grasp information from forumers on Istorya.net

What the heck! – you might say. Yes, this is serious. You can find a topic on almost anything at Istorya.net. If you Google up something related to Cebu, Istorya.net always shows up on the list. It’s their version of PEX (Pinoy Exchange). And how the heck are you gonna understand? Use No. 1 & 2. J

7)   Read signages around you

jeepney sticker

Barya lang sa umaga

Finally and the easiest of all!

Signages around the City often enrich one’s learning of the Cebuano language. You wouldn’t be needing No. 1 & 2 for this one. It’s more of using your IQ and common sense on understanding what it means. Some examples: “Ayaw pangihi dinhi.” “Sinsilyo lang sa buntag.” “Load na dinhi.” “Serbisyong delmar.” – Comment if you know what these mean. ^__^

Cheap ways to de-stress diri sa Cebu

Yesterday, I attended 2 job interviews. I commuted independently without the help of Mr. H – 4-5 rides of jeepneys I guess. There weren’t any traffic jams; smoke, heat and dust I endured during the travels were tolerable. I could still breath some fresh air courtesy of mountains surrounding the City. I didn’t have major language barrier problems since I’m used to the byahero lingo in here. Some must know for Tagalogs & Foreigners:

Para! = Lugar nya/Manaog

Baba = Naog

Sa tabi lang = Lugar lang

Paabot po (ng bayad) = Palihug

Bayad = Plete

Galing sa = Gikan sa

I was hungry after the last job interview. The carinderia that used to be beside the road was gone and to think I already have mild ulcer… Anyhow, I sufficed with a cup of coffee back at Mr. H’s office and another half cup of local tsokolate which I economically sipped while waiting for their out of office meeting to conclude. We went home around 9 pm and with no time to cook, we settled with instant noodles and our favorite char-grilled chorizo matched with puso sold outside.

Yesterday ended and we woke up late today feeling a little bit rejuvenated but still stressed – as in the things we were thinking from morning until before we slept remain running in circles through our minds. Although there were quite a few opportunities that we’re working on as well, we really ought to do any of our usual stress relieving regimens.

So far, this is how we cope…

1)   Jogging for me, Yawyan/Arnis practice for him

I wasn’t really eager for this one before. Considering how slow a runner I am and how my endurance hasn’t been physically challenged for some years now, I was always hesitant about this ‘idea’. But Mr. H allowed me to buy a new pair of rubber shoes to replace the broken one I had back in Cavite. It was sweet of him but his true ulterior motive was to eliminate my excuse for why I can’t jog or go climbing with him. =_=’

NOT A GANG WAR! Arnis sparring at Ayala Parking Lot in Cebu.

Cebu City Sports Complex

Cebu City Sports Complex. A sports venue open to the public.

So I was kinda forced into this, but later on appreciated it as well. We jog around the Ayala parking lot after office hours. Or on days when he’s not working, we run at the Cebu City Sports Complex. Sometimes, his fellow arnis and yawyan fighters meet up for sparring which lets me run alone (without a tyrant after my tails). XD I especially felt some sort of achievement when I was able to run the CCSC Olympic size running track for 2 laps. Last time, I was able to finish 3 laps!

You could definitely channel your inner angst/grudge/stress/rage in this physical activity and let yourself benefit from it.

Cost: Ayala parking lot (no fee); CCSC (PhP10/head before 5pm; PhP15/head 5pm onwards).

2)   Movie nights

I’m a fan of comedy films and he’s a fan of action flicks. Every other night, we try to find a movie to watch before bed. I only beg that for stressful days we watch something funny and uplifting rather than morbid violent ones. ^^’ Of course this is accompanied by late night snacks – usually peanuts or any left-over from edible groceries.

Anyone could use a good laugh after an anxiety-driven day!

Cost: PhP 20-30 pesos for midnight snacks

3)   Videoke

We rarely do this, but when we do its megalomaniac! There’s this cheap videoke bar aroung Mango Ave. – not the fancy ones but those catering to students with a tight budget. They have air-conditioned videoke rooms – more than 8 I think. What I like most is that they have new songs on the playlist/songbook! Definitely Katy Perry-Avril Lavigne-Rihanna!

We first went there with my college friends and then later on just the two of us. The bar also offers finger foods, meals and alcoholic drinks. But if you come in with a full stomach you won’t be paying a hefty price once you check out.

Singing your heart out can fine tune any broken string in your psyche!

Cost: PhP100 per hour (food/beverage not included)

4)   Camping

Mr. H. is a loyal and full-pledged mountaineer. And when he wants to take mind off things, a change of environment wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

Sunset

Sunset at the campsite.

An ideal place is at RCPI in Lahug – a popular place for mountaineers without money as Mr. H says. The travel wouldn’t take 1 hour from the City. You can ride a habal-habal at JY Square Mall going up Mt. Babag. From the dropping point, its only 3-5 minutes hike up to the campsite which offers a spectacular view of Cebu City and nearby islands during the day. Night-lights across the panorama dissolve negativities and give you a moment of peace. The view from the top reminds you how small things are after all.

Temperature up the site could drop to 19 degrees. Waking up surrounded by fog and mist are also likely. It’s a tension reliever from the fast life in the City.

Cost: PhP250/head is a moderate amount and ensures you comfort and satisfaction for the transportation and food expenses on an overnight camping.

Now, now… what option to take later?

Feels like fresh out of college: Attending a job interview in Cebu

And so I’ve successfully surpassed my first job interview here in Cebu! ^__^

I’m in a half sleepless state now since I went to bed around 1am and woke up around 6 to prepare breakfast for Mr. H & me. He had a scheduled field service checkup this morning and couldn’t accompany me on my application. It must be Divine intervention though that the company’s location is just on the way to his friend’s house where we went partying last night. 🙂 Commuting alone went like a breeze! Mr. H was more nervous than I was. ;))

Unlike my real fresh-out-of-college job hunting days where traveling to Makati and Pasig was such a hassle, going to Talamban from Labangon isn’t so bad. Its only 2 jeepney rides and 30-40 minutes away. Its almost like being in Dasma… except for the occassional flyovers and a Gaisano or Robinsons mall popping every now and then on both sides of the road. You’ll know you’re in Talamban when you feel gentle to strong breezes of fresh air. Its actually heading to the mountain ranges of Cebu.

Mr. H doesn’t know the background of the company I’ve applied for — probably that’s why he was worried. {I told him just now upon arriving at his office :-p} Its a BPO company with clients based in the US and Australia. I got excited upon seeing they offer services for various print collaterals like brochures, posters, flyers etc. Upon arriving at the building (which is only a 2 storey commercial complex) – I doubted for a bit since I can’t find a signage of their office and people around don’t know where they’re located. So I read Ms. Sheila’s SMS and headed for the second floor which was entirely occupied by the company.

They look like they’ve just moved in and there are 3-4 rooms which seems to be in a mess. I found my way in and was interviewed without warning =_=… Good thing that despite the lack of sleep, I was still able to force myself to be a bit chummy. The interview was completely in English! Thank Goodness!!! I had a sudden cloud of comfort with the English language when, imagine being interviewed in Cebuano! LOLX!

After the interview, I was told to return around 12:30pm since there are still so many applicants undergoing a practical exam. I wasn’t given a clue as to what. I can’t make out with their computer screens what they’ve been tested with. So what the heck… I went outside and looked for a place to eat. The only place open though was this roadside karinderya where some Dodong pointed me to. The vendor was amiable though. She entertained me although they struggled responding to my Tagalog. I ordered some soda and siomai for lunch. Not long after, their avid customers came in for lunch. They all looked surprised to find a dressed up woman carrying a laptop (thank God I didn’t wear heels) eating inside — and they were all dusty and greasy.

It was odd but I managed to finish my food and thanked the lady who served me. 🙂 I went back up to the office to have my practical exam. And what do you know?! Its Logo Design – the most challenging in terms of graphic arts =_= The early morning effort to compile my portfolio went to waste. Curly, the guy who gave me the exam, told me I have 1 hour to finish the test. Thankfully he wasn’t that strict. I finished 5 minutes over the time given.

Sheila talked with me after the exam to discuss the needs of their clients and what they’re looking for. I’m having positive vibes about it, but I don’t want to be overconfident. It wasn’t the best logo design I made anyway. I’m just happy I made it through without shaking or being mentally blocked.

Will get a long sleep later! 🙂