Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Filipino Wife- American Husband Dream Valentine's Day

By: David

Finally, we are together on Valentine’s Day. It is now our third valentine’s day that we have been together but it’s really our first one being together physically! It is so surreal that you are here and we are not apart anymore. I remember how sad we were being apart last year it was really hard on both of us, and the video you made of us last year made me teary!

I just feel so very blessed to have u here with me beb and am happier than I have ever been. Thank you for sticking by my side through all the crazy stuff we had to endure to be with me love! Happy valentines day Nina, I love u!!!


A Dream Come True
By: Nina

Three Valentine's Day thousand miles away from each other and we're so excited that finally we would be able to celebrate it together! Unexpected circumstances happened though. We were both sick since last weekend. I had body pain and high temperature (again) while my husband has terrible sore throat and stuffy nose.

However, David said that we have waited this day for so long to just simply let it go as an ordinary day. When I got in the car after my class this morning, his gift and card surprised me. Despite of not feeling so well, he ran in to Walmart while I was in school to join the queue of husbands wanting to get something for their wives. My husband defies the odds when it comes to proving his love and I can't thank him more than enough. I love you, my forever, beb. There's nothing that I can ask for because having you means having everything in life.

Happy Valentine's day!


Saturday, February 11, 2017


It’s hard to miss someone or something when you are with the one you always dreamed of in such a beautiful place. But, I think it is inevitable to feel this way especially when I am thousands of miles away from the place I called home for many years.

It may sound cliche' but 'everybody that went away suffered a broken heart'. Thankfully, I went away with somebody I love so my heart is not really broken only terribly longing.

My husband being sensitive as always knew what I was going through. He brought me out for dinner, brushed and braided my hair, then gave me tight hugs. Somehow, I knew, it’ll be alright.

There’s no place like home and this is my home now.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Love from Afar

The first time we saw each other! 

Hello, everybody. This is David, Nina’s husband. I am not much of a writer but I’d like to talk a bit about our adventure. I think our love story might be an inspiration to other couples since it is almost Valentine’s Day.

The way I see it, the person you will spend your life with should be your best friend and the time that I met Nina was the time I needed a good friend. She was there for me night and day. After a year of talking six hours a day on the phone, we decided that I should come to Indonesia and with me was a ring and I had already made up my mind that she was the one for me. It was the most terrible plane ride I could ever imagine and I never had any experience flying before so I was like a scared cat with my claws digging to the seat every time the plane experienced turbulence. But, the second I saw her when I was coming out of the airport, I knew she was the woman for me.

People say long distance relationship usually does not work out but I disagree. I feel that we know more each other because all we could do was talk. Most people jump into a relationship so fast and they don’t even have time to get to know each other. Our relationship is based on our feelings for each other not just by physical attraction but much deeper.

I think we know each other so well and that’s what helped us through such a long process that most people would not be able to endure. Most people would have given up but I saw something amazing in Nina that I would have waited a lifetime for. God has blessed us with a love that only people can dream about. And after waiting for more than two years, we are together for our first Valentine’s Day. So, I’d better get her a good gift. Lol.

I hope I didn’t bore everybody because this is not the first time I will be writing in her blog. Lol.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Finally Met a Filipino!

After more than three months in Michigan, I finally met a Filipino!

My husband and I were in the Food Hall of the mall trying to decide where to eat when a lady greeted me with a cheerful voice. She asked me if I am also from the Philippines and we just could not hide our excitement realizing we’re ‘magkababayan’. My husband was so elated as well that I finally got to meet a fellow Filipino.

I think she gave me a lot more than what she should.:) 

Her name is Marissa and she met her husband in U.S. military base in Subic. The American lady who works with her told us that Marissa has many Filipino friends who always visit her at work. My husband told me that Filipinos have this warm and jolly personality like her. He mentioned our friend, Sir JB who always makes him laugh. I needed to remind him that I’m a lot more serious than most Filipinos. :D

Anyways, I’m glad to know that I have many ‘kababayan’ here. What’s more surprising? When my husband told Marissa that we got married in Indonesia, she said that she has a coworker who is an Indonesian. Before long, two Filipinos, an Indonesian, and two Americans were happily (and noisily) chatting in the Food Court!

The best discovery? They also have my favorite pancit!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Busiest Day Ever!

It's been a day of running around. I can’t drive yet and I am just so blessed to have a husband who patiently caters to all my needs ALWAYS. The program director of the center even commented my husband is so sweet!

Anyways, seeing the dawn of understanding on the face of one of my students is the highlight of my day. When you know that you are making a difference no matter how minuscule it is, a teacher’s heart will always swell with pride.

Dani got to ride with us when I attended the staff meeting. 

Being an expat teacher for several years and learning various culture probably makes the adjustment easier. Not that there’s much difference from what I got used to. Strange as it may seem, I always feel like everything’s the same especially observing some of the teachers. But, there’s always some lesson you can learn along the way. Each day, I am meeting more people and I feel blessed to be in a place where I believe everybody’s accepted!

So, starting the day with the first class at 6:50 a.m. and ending it with the staff meeting at 6:30 p.m. wasn’t really that bad. Dani, one of our dogs, even got to ride with us when I attended the meeting!

Every day, we have a lot of opportunities to be stressed, frustrated or worried. But, we can always opt to take the positive side of things.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Man Who Redefined Humanity

It is easy to be swayed by the false pretext of what embodies humanity. However, one man changed everything.

At the time when so much hatred is going all around us and it is easy to spread the endemic of negativity, we can take refuge with the story of the man who redefined humanity in its entirety. Sir Nicholas Winton, the man who saved 669 children before the outbreak of World War II. It would have been easier for him to simply ignore the darkness looming since he had the comfort and the means as a stockbroker. Instead, he chose the road less traveled by.
He organized the rescue mission of the children and raised money for their travel. The rescue of the children from the imminent danger of the war did not even touch the surface of the magnanimity of his compassionate heart. For decades, he chose to keep silent and he did not even tell anything to his wife. Watch the videos and find out more about this man who embodied not just benevolence but humility and kindness beyond explanation. At the time when the world is so divided, we can learn a simple lesson from the legacy Sir Nick left.

First Day Back to School!

My first time back to work last week. I started my training at the center under Sylvan University.

The biting cold chilled my fingers in a freezing temperature as we waited for the school to open. The frigid wind made me shiver as I told my colleagues that I was never out that early since arriving in Michigan. I don’t know if it’s because of the excitement or what but I woke up earlier than what I planned. It was 6:50 a.m. but the whole school was still enveloped in darkness.

Taken this morning at the school where I am teaching part-time. 

Well, today officially marks my first day back in school so I guess I was excited about it. Technically speaking, this isn’t my first day of teaching here since I have started tutoring at the center last Monday. It is only temporary but I was a bit anxious about how the day would go.

The thousand times I was inside the classroom did not help to lessen that familiar adrenaline rush only teachers would understand. I needed to remind myself that my job is not just to teach but to experience the journey and joy of learning with the students. So, yes, it was an unforgettable day. I can’t wait to discover what else is in store for me in this place!

Monday, February 06, 2017

The Best Husband!

The journey of life can be challenging at times. While we have this fixation of a ‘perfect’ life, it can’t be at all times. The truth is, facing hurdles is a daily part of life and nothing satisfies but having a relationship with mutual trust, understanding and respect.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a husband who patiently teaches me each day that amidst the difficulties of life, we have each other to lean on. Today’s one of those challenging days and my husband being so sensitive with my feeling, simply hugged me in my silence. No words, just a loving embrace.

While others think that love can be equated by the butterflies in their tummy, I do believe that sometimes, it’s doing small things for each other. Like my husband waking me up with an elaborate dinner because he wanted to enliven my spirit.

We may not have a perfect life but I believe we have a perfect love. Yes, I do have the best husband and I thank God for this greatest gift of my life!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Super Bowl and My Husband

Finally, the most awaited time of my husband. He’s been talking about the Super Bowl for several days already and every time he does, the pitch of his voice rises a little bit higher because of excitement. Growing up in Asia did not give me much an opportune time to develop love for football. However, watching it live twice made me as excited as my husband talking about football!

My husband’s plan was well-coordinated. He knew exactly what time the show would be on TV and 30 minutes before it started, he had our dinner prepared. What’s the best part of today? Seeing my husband so happy rooting for an underdog team! Oh, yeah, they’re winning!

10 Best Ways to Deal with Online Stress

There is no doubt about it. Time has changed. Birth and death are documented by Facebook posts. Every day of our life is seen largely online and you may not even be aware of it, but the emotional chaos is probably starting to eat you. Noticeably, visiting comment section of news articles or posts is probably enough to give you a heart attack. There is the presence of vicious words and radical views are expressed without regard to the feeling of others. In fact, one of the surveys conducted by Harris Poll revealed that political and cultural discussions on social media cause stress to nearly 4 in 10 adults.

The source of stress may not be directly correlated only to the opposing views posted on social media but there is also this undeniable alluring presence of travel abroad pictures, proud posts about new boyfriend/ girlfriend, marriage or new houses which create this longing and desire to achieve the same. These pictures used to belong in the family photo albums but nowadays, they are broadcasted all over Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media accounts. Even gruesome killing and beating can be live already! A quick look at Facebook would give us a glimpse of how chaotic the online world has become thus resulting to higher stress level according to different studies.

It is time to look for survival tips and here are the best ways to handle online stress.

1. Uproot the cause. Some people can be very strong about their opinion and will not have any qualms to express it. Not just once, twice or thrice. As if there’s an endless hit button, posts ridiculing your views and beliefs are all over your Facebook. Depending on the social media you are using, various options are available for you. You may not want to delete that person as a friend but there is always the option to unfollow him/ her. You can report the post as well and the appearance of the similar posts will be lessened on your timeline.

2. Don’t fall as a bait to online fake news. Fake news is everywhere. Don’t let yourself fall into a trap. Sometimes we feel so badly about something which is not even true! Don’t fall for those spam or fake news which were fabricated to lure clicks and generate more money.

3. Express your opinion with no expectations. Chances are, your belief will always be different from the rest of your Facebook friends. However, you have the right to express your opinion. Just don’t expect that your belief will be reciprocated. Expectations will lead to heartache and then stress.

4. Remind yourself, ‘You can’t change anyone.’ Ever wish and hope people would grow up? Well, you can’t change them. When you read posts of your friend or family whining about something, it gets into you and it is normal. But, remind yourself that you can’t change anyone. You may be boiling inside and fire off heated arguments but the thing is, YOU CAN’T CHANGE ANYONE.

5. Choose your battle. Commenting on something means opening yourself for the possible attack. If you do this, make sure that you have braced yourself for the painful hurl of vindictive words. There are probably issues that you feel so strongly about and you may not be able to help but comment on it. But, don’t get into every issue because sooner or later, it will take its toll on you. You can’t just fight it all!

6. Realize that you can’t have everything. The extravagant lifestyle of others may not be for you. You can always opt to unfollow when the stress of looking at the vacation photos or new gadgets of your friends and family gets too much. The thing is, you just can’t have it all. It’s fine to accept the reality that you may not be so happy with regard to the fortune of others but it does not mean that you will be stressing yourself with wanting to have the same so you can brag about it on Facebook.

7. Keep your account private. Some people just simply enjoy the pleasure of picking fights. Keeping your account private is one way of shielding yourself from the unwanted visitors of your account. Some friends and family may still be considerate of your feelings and may choose not to comment against you but not the strangers just lurking around to look for a fight. Protect yourself by making sure your setting is on private and only ‘Friends’ can see everything you post.

8. Think before you click. Majority of the cause of online stress is of posts that went wrong. Think of an angry wife who derides her husband on Facebook and ended up completely wrecking the relationship. If you have thousand friends or followers, think how fast a post can spread and make it viral.

9. Take a deep breath. Come on. Spending hours in front of your social media accounts or constantly checking your Facebook on the phone can be suffocating at times. Take a deep breath and let all the negativities go out of your system.

10. Give yourself a break. When you think that you can’t handle it anymore, give yourself a break. Yes, the quickest way is to simply run away from it. Take a day off from your Facebook or Twitter and relieve yourself from the source of your stress.

At the end of it all, don’t say something that you will regret forever. Don’t sacrifice relationship with your friends and family just because of opposing views. Most importantly, don’t subject yourself with unwarranted stress. Spread love not hate. The world has already too much of it. 

Saturday, February 04, 2017

8 Reasons to Fall in Love with Indonesia as an Expat

April 23, 2013, I took a giant leap of faith and flew as an expat to the country I knew nothing about-Indonesia. The country which became my home for almost four years will always have a special part in my heart. It was an amazing experience meeting the best teachers in different fields!

Here are some of the reasons why I have fallen in love with Indonesia.

Borobudur, or Barabudur is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia, as well as the world's largest Buddhist temple, and also one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

1. Kind, Hospitable and Generous People-
Upon arrival in the airport, you will be greeted with their signature slight bow and the words, “Selamat datang di Indonesia.” The same gesture of respect is experienced when you visit malls or different places. It is also customary for Indonesians to shake hands as they welcome you. When you visit stores especially if you are staying for a while, they always have this bottled water prepared for you. I remember that the first time I visited the school, the director gave me her own food (fried chicken and rice) when she found out that I didn’t like those with spices and too much flavor. Their first class hospitality became clearer to me when I stayed during holiday with an Indonesian family. They treated me like their own family and showered me not just with kindness but with respect as well. 

2. Salary- The salary is definitely enough to live a comfortable life. As a matter of fact, it is normal for most teachers and their family to have vacation in their native country twice a year- Christmas and end of the school year. The salary is enough for most of them to travel in nearby countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Others even travel to Japan, Korea, Australia and United States. What I love about Indonesia is that your starting salary is based on your educational qualifications, experience and capabilities diminishing the ‘seniority’ rules in determining the salary.

With my husband at MONAS. 

3. Picturesque Sceneries
- With about 17, 500 outlandish islands, there are many places to explore. It is usual for many teachers to spend long weekends visiting picturesque sceneries. There are wild, untamed travels if you belong to the adventurous souls. There are also multi-colored lakes, hot spring, active volcanoes and long list of pristine beaches with crystal clear water. Some of my former co-teachers with different nationalities love scuba diving, snorkeling and hiking. You can also immerse yourself with their unique culture while enjoying scenic natural resources. If you are having a wearying day in school, a trip to Monas might just be the solution. The 433 ft. tower in the center of Jakarta boasts the top with plinth of stone where a bronze torch stands weighing up to 14.5 tons coated with 35 kg of gold plate.

Taman Bunga with friends. 

4. Deluxe Housing Plan- Schools in Indonesia offer lucrative housing plan. In fact, most of the apartments are located just beside giant luxury malls.

Greenbay apartment with a mall right beside it. A perfect haven for a demanding work at school and home to many expats.

Central Park residence also houses some of Indonesia's Expat. 

5. Professional Development- The learning opportunity for teachers is countless. It is common to have speakers in the seminars from UK, Singapore and other countries. It is the best training ground as well because you will learn other curriculum widely accepted in the world such as Cambridge, IB, and School of Tomorrow/ACE. Teachers are also given the prospect of traveling through International competitions and activities like World Scholar’s Cup which allowed one of my friends to travel and compete in United States. There is also the Reach Cambridge which may be your chance to travel to UK. The Harvard Model Congress Asia (HMCA) which is a global conference where international high school students learn and experience government while playing the roles of officials in the United States government and several international political bodies may be another way for you to explore other countries.

One team, different nationalities- Americans, Singaporean, Canadian and Filipinos. 

6. Unique Diversity Experience- On my first day in Indonesia, I was in the lift with a Chinese, an American and an Indian. That was just a glimpse of the kind of diversity I experienced in that country. I lived in the same house with a Canadian, two Chinese teachers, and Filipinos on my first year of teaching. I learned various cultures through daily personal interactions with people who came from different parts of the world. Imagine yourself in a Teacher’s office surrounded with Canadian, Indian, American, Singaporean, Malays, Mauritian, and of course Filipinos speaking their own languages. There are differences but to have a glimpse of other country’s culture is definitely a wonderful experience.

Nasi goreng 

7. Authentic Asian Food- Indonesia is home to some of the best Asian cuisines. Variety of seafood gastronomy is available in different restaurants. Indonesia has about 5, 350 traditional recipes. Their famous rendang, nasi goreng and satay are included in World’s Most Delicious Foods.

Taman Anggrek mall in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

8. 100 Plus Malls right in Jakarta- Of course, the demand of school works can always be exhausting. However, malls of different sizes and class is of your choice. Sometimes you just need to cross a road and you will be in a different mall. Your perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the endless school works is just around the corner.

Above all the perks and privileges, what matters the most is actually the beautiful experience of imparting knowledge and immersing oneself in unique culture and traditions of Indonesia. It is falling in love repeatedly with the humility and generosity of the people and embracing the little things that make this country a second home to expats from all around the world.

Filipino Song at Whitehall MacDonald’s!

Normally, we have a more stress-free Saturday. However, we had quite a long list of the things to do and people to meet today so my husband and I decided to just grab a quick meal at McDonald’s. We opted for the one at Whitehall since it is less busy. We were enjoying a quiet meal when I suddenly heard a Tagalog song being played. I was like, “What? Of all places here at Michigan?". It was the big hit of Yeng Constantino when she was just starting as a singer.

I started humming and before I knew it, what was just supposed to be an ordinary Saturday turned out to be an extraordinary one. It’s hard to miss the place where I was born and spent the big portion of my life, but, I do long for it whenever something reminds me of my home away from home.

When we were at the car, I translated the lyrics of the song to my husband. It’s actually a beautiful reminder of holding hands on a journey amidst uncertainties.


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