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.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Why You Should Put Down Your Phones!

My husband and I love playing games and watching videos on our cellphone. He has his own likes and I have my own. At times, we get too absorbed with our phones. But, there is one thing that we don’t forget to do every night- put down our phones.

The key to a successful relationship is not a fairytale made in heaven but simply communicating with each other. Every single night as we put down our phones, we talk about practically everything. We discuss our differences, laugh at silly things, plan for the future, and sometimes just simply affirm our love for each other. Putting down our phones gives us the time to completely focused on each other.

More than two years of having no other means of communications but through phones, we learned that now we are finally together, the best way to communicate is when we put our phones down.


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