Teacher Wanderer: 3/1/18 - 4/1/18

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

I Can Only Imagine Movie Review


I Can Only Imagine (Movie Review/ Reflection) 

The old lady beside me was wracked with an onslaught of sobs. My husband was sniffling and so were the people in front of us. It’s been a while since I watched a heavy-drama movie and apparently, I Can Only Imagine has moved a lot of movie-goers in an unbroken stream of tears.

I knew the song long before the name of the singer. The titular, I Can Only Imagine became my source of comfort during the really low point of my life. The lyrics speak through the core of my soul offering both solace and assurance when I thought that I lost everything.

Movies adapted from books are fairly common and I think it’s a bit odd that a song would be the heart of a movie. I expected it to be a bit tedious and desperately sentimental but the movie far exceeded my expectations. The characters gave in-depth justice to the roles they played and while obviously based on a Christian faith, the movie succeeded in conveying the message without overwhelming the audience with Biblical references. While trying to convey the message of abuse as the source of deep pains and hurts, there’s no overpowering graphic images of violence yet the emotions were tender and poignant.


Finley as Bart Millard impressively brought us into his painful journey that gave life to the lyrics of the song. Surprisingly, Quaid as an abusive father was the reason of the first tears I shed. The scenes were relatable and one could surmise it does happen in real life.

While the song was mainly about a promise when the time to face God comes, the movie was undeniably a journey of forgiveness. More than the lyrics, what really got through me was the celebratory tone of the music despite of all the pains and sufferings Millard went through in the hands of his father. It evoked feelings and memories long buried inside.


Millard’s journey through forgiveness is certainly a beautiful story that’s worth your time. My husband and I were thankful that we spent our Friday night watching it.

“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel 
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still 
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall 
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all 
I can only imagine 
I can only imagine.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time Movie Review


Though there is this great attempt to focus on the all-encompassing rationality and order to the cosmos and the beings within it, A Wrinkle in Time is mostly an allegory about life in general. It is overtly a children’s movie but at the same time, it teases the imagination of adults about choices and life’s decisions. It is easy to get lost in the realm of our dreams and aspirations without really looking from deep within about what matters the most.

The movie was an adaptation of a novel and thankfully, I have not read it yet so I was able to spare myself from the usual disappointments that come after watching a movie adapted from a book. More often than not, the book is better than the movie.


The movie tried to be thrilling but I felt like there were missing aspects that could have filled me with more wonders. It is definitely a cerebral story because it leaves you contemplative about the universe and what lies beneath, however, the movie also contains nondescript scenes that left me condescending about the fact they didn’t seem essential at all.

The story revolves on the three children in search of a physicist missing for four years and three magical creatures. The magic was definitely magical but not enough to fill me with thrill and wonder. What appeals to me more is the didactic nature wrought by the journey of searching and finally finding the main protagonist’s (Meg Murry) father. 

Though it failed to fill with that ‘awe factor’, it did leave me pondering about life and it’s definitely worth watching.

“You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it? Yes. Mrs. Whatsit said. You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”

Monday, March 12, 2018

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks Book Review


“This, I remember thinking, is what life is really about. Love and laughter and friendship; happy times spent with those you care about.”


When reading the novel of Nicholas Sparks, I always need to prepare myself emotionally for cataclysm of emotions that usually come with his works. The thought that he makes me fall so much in love with a character that he’s just plotting to kill is disturbing not to mention heart-breaking. But, more often that not, that is the case.

Surprisingly, this novel is less formulaic and predictable which is a bit dissimilar from his style- an emotional powerful story not of falling in love but falling apart. Every story usually starts with two people falling in love and the ending is a happily ever after. Clearly, Sparks decided to experiment.


The characters are not subtle, enigmatic or complex. But, Sparks still managed to make them interesting. The protagonist, Russel Green lives in his comfort zone with his beautiful wife and a daughter. Seemingly, he enjoys a successful career, and an almost lavish lifestyle. As a character, there is this gnawing feeling of his inability to explicate himself and yet that’s what made him excelled in his career. His wife, Vivian, would give you a glimpse of every person who makes each relationship fails. Among all the characters, it is with Emily that I hardly feel connected.

When you are blissfully living in your safe haven then suddenly lost everything, the pain is incomprehensible. This part of the story and some vignettes probably moved me the most. Some situations seem palpably unfair and yet could happen in real life.

The whole reading time was heavy. Just when you thought Russel lost everything, then he lost more; it would leave you aching for the character.

I highly recommend this for the Sparks fanatics but expect to feel dispirited the whole time you’re reading. There are many faces of love and one of them is sadness.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

We Beat the Odds!

The struggle started early morning realizing that Daylight Saving Time has started. Meaning, we lost an hour of sleep. It was so tempting to just stay on bed and sleep in but we reminded ourselves that we missed church for three weeks and it would not be a good idea to miss it again today. So, off we scrambled out of bed trying to wake up.

While at the shower, I heard my husband and I knew something was wrong. The truck’s tire was flat and he forgot his air pump at work! The car was not a choice since he just found a leak on it. Needless to say, we had more reasons to stay home.


Somehow, David found a way and we made it in church on time. Our experience however reminded us that life would always be full of vicissitudes. It’s easy to take the easy way out by simply staying at home and taking care of the problems of the cars but I’m glad that we were able to figure out a solution without getting overly stressed. We feel immensely blessed by the church service and seeing family and friends.

We beat the odds and ended our day with this yummy treat!

At night, David cooked the best steak ever as if we didn’t just go through something nerve-wracking this morning!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Saturday Mess

There’s nothing worse than going on a vacation during the previous weekend and getting sick at the middle of the week. It would not be surprising at all for the house to end up such a disaster that I needed to spend almost my whole morning cleaning up the mess. My husband is pretty good in helping but since he needed to work, I dealt with all the clutter. It did not help that I am such an OC that every little nook and corner, including drawers, appliances and furniture must be thoroughly clean. This is the American life. No helper at all to do all the household stuff.


While having dinner before our movie date, David reminded me to take my antibiotic. Though without fever anymore, I still need to finish my dosage. Of course, I would do anything silly to get away with it since I hate taking medicine.

Me: Beb, you said you’ll take a bullet for me, right?
David: Of course!
Me: So, can you take the medicine for me?

The rest of the time we were preparing to leave the house was spent laughing because of what I said. Yeah, I ended up taking the antibiotic. The trick did not work with my husband.

The movie, Wrinkle in Time, was beautiful and a review is coming soon.

The Power of Love (Speech for Kids)

(This is a speech that I wrote for a primary student in Jakarta, Indonesia that he used for a competition.)

Te amo, Mahal Kita, Wo le ni, Saya Cinta Kamu, I love you. 

Friends and fellow citizens, I stand here before you definitely honored and privileged to share my dreams empowered with love. As a young dreamer, I invite you to join me and together let’s dream of a beautiful world to live in for the Generation Z.

I have a dream. I dream that when a child goes to school, he would not go home bullied and beaten by negative behaviors.


I have a dream. I dream that families would put down their phones during meals and have a meaningful conversation instead. A family that look happy in real life not just in uploaded pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

I have a dream. I dream that friends would talk and do something together instead of just liking or clicking hearts and emoticons on their Facebook statuses.

I have a dream. I dream that young children would go out of their house and play, get wet under the rain, chase animals and smell plants, run with the sun until all the energy has worn off instead of just spending time in the corner playing on an Ipad or a tablet.

I have a dream. I dream that people would not just share photos of suffering or extreme poverty around the world, instead they would go out and do something to less fortunate people out there. There is nothing more powerful than taking a proactive role in the world where millions of people are deprived of the basic needs in life.

I have a dream. I dream that one day, there would be no single child who would die because of hunger. I dream that every child would have the same opportunity like me to live, to learn, to enjoy life, and to have a decent life.

I have a dream. A dream where the only language that exists, is the language of love.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Wedding Anniversary Dinner at Red Lobster

I finally went back to work after missing two days. One of the kids asked me to lift him up then he cupped my face with his hands, kissed my right cheek, turned the other side and kissed it, too. I thought that was it, but, he took my hand and kissed it also, hugged me and said, “I love you, Ms. Nina. I missed you.” Fourteen years of teaching and I never had a welcome similar to this. Although the day was a bit crazy, I was definitely happy to see the kids. 


My husband picked me up in the afternoon and we decided to have a late anniversary dinner at Red Lobster. Normally, my husband would say no to anything seafood but I assured him they also offer steak. Lo and behold! We were both satisfied with our meals.

Red Lobster's Seaside Shrimp Trio. 

I got the Seaside Shrimp Trio which includes Walt’s favorite shrimp, hand-crafted garlic shrimp scampi, and shrimp linguini Alfredo.

Red Lobster's NY Strip Steak. 

My husband of course favored the 12 OZ NY strip seasoned with peppercorns, grilled on a wood fire, and served with mashed potato and fries.

We ended our Friday night shopping for his work materials and buying chocolates for my niece.


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Not So Gentle Bug

Being sick is no fun. My husband spent the previous night trying to lower my temperature since the medicines didn’t seem to work. I would take fever medicines and after an hour or two, my temperature’s high again.
When he woke me up this morning, my ear was extremely painful but my temperature was finally down. I hate taking medicines and I remember that the only time I got scolded when my father was still alive was because I would not take any medicines. I would force myself to throw up after taking it or secretly kept it in my pocket. Nothing really changed much. I still hate it. Having a very patient and caring husband makes things easier. He makes sure that I take them on time.

After sleeping about six hours today, I woke up feeling a lot better. It’s definitely not a gentle bug but I am blessed and grateful that my husband’s here to take care of me.

Thank you to all the family and friends who greeted us on our anniversary.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

My Husband is the Best

Flowers from the best husband in the world. 

This is supposed to be a very special day to celebrate with my husband. Three years being married fill us with beautiful memories and inexplicable love. But, as fate would have it, I am stuck in the house with on and off fever and extreme pain in my right ear.

Not to be deterred by the circumstances, he went out of his way to make me feel better by constantly checking on me while he was at work. He also came home with a take-out from Asian Buffet since I was too sick to even go out for dinner.


Thankfully, we had an early celebration at Chicago last weekend and he even gave me flowers and cards in advance! At night, he was up so late trying to reduce my fever by washing my face with towel. Though we spent the night not exactly as planned, I’ve felt so much love from my husband and this is definitely the best wedding anniversary I could ever ask for- unconditional love and care.


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

A Touching Surprise!



My husband surely knows surprises. I came home from work not feeling well so he ran at the store to grab medicines and of course he came back with these beautiful flowers and card!

Our 3rd year anniversary (tomorrow) reminds me of so many reasons why I made the decision to marry him. More than his thoughtfulness, he showers me each day with love and care more than any wife could ever dream of.

He’s probably the only husband in the world who wakes up early each day just to prepare my breakfast and lunch! He helps me with household chores without qualms- doing dishes, laundry and folding clothes, and even sweeping/ mopping/ vacuuming the floor!


Three years ago, my dreams and priorities were different. I’m glad they all changed because my heart is finally home- in the arms of my husband who loves me unconditionally.

Happy 3rd Year anniversary, Beb and looking forward for more travels with you. I love you to infinity and beyond!

“You are the answer to every prayer I've offered. You are a song, a dream, a whisper, and I don't know how I could have lived without you for as long as I have.” -Nicholas Sparks-

Monday, March 05, 2018

Happy Birthday, Ms. Dina!


There are three events that would always remind me of Ms. Dina. She was my former co-teacher at El Shaddai International School where I worked before at Jakarta, Indonesia and probably one of the two Indonesians who touched my life the most (The other was my former school director).

The first event was during the most painful time of my life. After seven years, my first relationship ended and of course I was heartbroken. Even without telling her what really happened, she was the person who was there for me the most. She comforted and prayed for me without judgment. She opened her house for several days so I could be out of the city and take a breath. During the days that I was just going through the motions of life, she paved way so I could still function and try to ease the burden. Without her, it would’ve been doubly hard to just simply surpass that moment of my life.

The second was during my most memorable birthday in Jakarta. I’ve been hinting to her how I would love a particular recipe of fish and during a surprise birthday party for me, she went through so much just to bring me that giant fish exactly as I wanted it!

The third was of course the happiest day of my life in Jakarta. When I chose to get married so quickly, some people were not so happy about it. She on the other hand chose not to judge and simply showed nothing but love and happiness for me and David. During my wedding, her family was there as well.

Needless to say, she will always occupy a very special place in our hearts.

My Dear Ms. Dina

Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me. I would never forget during the time that I was in dire need of a friend to lean on, you were there for me. How could I ever forget how you simply invited me in your house and allowed me to be part of your wonderful family? We had so many memorable memories together and even during the time that I made the biggest decision of my life, you supported me without questions.

Thank you for everything and wherever I go, David and I will always remember the kind heart you have shown us. Indonesia will always be a very special place in my heart because of you and your family.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Trip to Chicago (Part 3- Sunday)

One thing I noticed whenever I go on a trip with my husband- time flies so fast. This would be the last day of our trip before driving back to Michigan so we wanted to make the most of it. Driving around the city was a lot easier and less stressful since we have figured out a more efficient way of looking for the place and parking.

Field Museum at Chicago. 

First stop was the Field Museum. It’s strategically located near Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. City Pass also offers a VIP entry and an all access to the different exhibits. We had a lot of fun and so fascinated with everything. The place was huge and definitely contains millions of gems of knowledge. After watching 4D movie about Sue the Dinosaur, we could not contain our excitement to see her! It was amazing how she was discovered, the process of excavating her, and putting her back in one piece. However, much to our disappointment- Sue was no longer in her place! Only a part of her could be viewed in a window glass and the other parts of her were inside the wooden containers. Apparently, another dinosaur bigger than her was discovered and would be the next attraction in the museum. We felt sad but it was still worth the visit.


Our last stop before heading home was the Navy Pier. It was the first and the only place we visited when my husband picked me up at the airport November 2016. We spent the time basking on the beauty of the lake and skyscraper buildings around it. We also had lunch at one of the famous pizza place- Giordano’s. The food was scrumptious and worth the price- close to a hundred dollars for two meals!


The trip was short but our hearts are grateful for the time that we have spent just simply having fun and far from the usual hustle and bustle of life. I am definitely blessed to have a husband who makes me feel loved every single day.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Top Three Places to Visit in Chicago Using City Pass

My husband and I almost had a zero argument. We rarely contradict each other and most of the times, we settle everything without arguing. It was funny to find out that there was one thing we bickered a lot when we were in Chicago- finding the parking area! 


It was stressful enough driving in a city with some crazy drivers and looking for parking area was another thing! After a while, we agreed that I’ll handle Google map so he could concentrate driving. We knew our itinerary beforehand since the night before, we purchased the City Pass as recommended by friends. Here are the top places that you need to visit in Chicago using the city pass!

1. Shedd Aquarium 


It was not my first time to be in a water marine park. However, this place makes it on top of my list as one of the best. It was huge and offered not just a glimpse but complete experience in educational way with various marine animals. Having the City Pass gave us unlimited access with all the features of the place.

2. Adler Planetarium
The place was a walking distance from Shedd Aquarium but it was freezing because of the strong wind. It was not worth the walk and the place was a huge disappointment. After being spellbound with everything at Shedd Aquarium, we had high expectations. We got VIP entry courtesy of the City Pass but we did not really enjoy much our visit. I fell asleep at the middle of the 3D movie (The voice over was so boring) and the exhibits were not extraordinary at all.

3. Millennium Park-Cloud Gate

Not having enough time to go to the Field Museum, we decided to just check the Cloud Gate at Millennium Park. It was probably the most stressful part of looking for a parking area. Thankfully, we found one just at the side of the park. Yes, the parking fee was ridiculously expensive! The Cloud Gate was definitely a beautiful art work of an Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor.

The last place does not need a city pass but if you are a Filipino, you definitely need to visit!

Jollibee/ SeafoodCity Market


There wasn’t really much to do at the Cloud Gate except taking pictures so we didn’t stay for long. Realizing we still have time to visit another place, we decided to go to Jollibee. It’s one of the famous fast food outlets in the Philippines known for its sweet spaghetti with hotdogs and crispy chicken. I was so surprised that there’s actually a city market in the same building selling Filipino foods. There’s another kiosk for street foods as well. I ended up doing grocery shopping!


It was another day of fun-filled memories spent with my husband. Despite of the stress in finding parking areas, we just ended up laughing about it. At the end of the day, we remain a couple who would rather show how much we love each other than spend time arguing. 

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Chicago


It’s one of the spur of the moment decision of my husband. We’ve been planning a trip for our wedding anniversary and considered Chicago as our destination but we didn’t really make any final choice yet since we were both busy at work. Thankfully, my husband and his surprises never failed me yet. 

After working the whole day, we hopped in the car and off we started our travel. We decided to have a pizza take-out for him and a Red Wok take-out for me. That’s when we realized that we forgot our swimsuits. So, we needed to make another stop over at Walmart to buy them.


The view during the travel was breathtaking. Lakes in the dusk were undeniably beautiful. While my husband was driving, I read aloud Daily Bread. The ride took three hours and thankfully, it was a smooth ride. 

Chicago at night is absolutely beautiful. It’s like a magic city filled with laughter and lights. The check-in was a bit stressful because parking area was in another building and my husband was not really used with city driving. We stayed at Hyatt Hotel right in the heart of the city.





The check-in was uneventful but entering our room was. We swiped the card so many times, checked the numbers written on the card, and nothing happened. The door would not open. My husband went back to the reception area to ask for help while I was left with our luggage. Back to the 15th floor after asking for help, still the card would not work. Finally, he called again for help and only to find out there was a mistake and we were supposed to be in the 16th floor. 

At night, Chicago was bustling with people. While at the elevator after grabbing something at another floor, my husband was even invited to a party! 

It was pretty amazing falling asleep gazing at the night sky illuminated with the lights from skyscrapers buildings! What’s more, it’s an indescribable feeling falling asleep with my husband’s arms around me.

I'm the Naughty Cat in the Hat


Growing up in Asia, we’re not really big on the books of Dr. Seuss. Since coming here to the United States though, I’ve heard more about him and I am truly fascinated with his books. This week, we’re celebrating his birthday and I was so excited to be The Cat in the Hat for the day!

Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:


“Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.”


“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”

“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”


“He should not be here," said the fish in the pot. "He should not be here when your mother is not.”

“You find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax. All you need is a book”

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