Do First Impressions Last?

>> Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Maybe yes, maybe no.

I met my in-laws even way before we were engaged.You see, Hubby is my first and last boyfriend. :D I first met his Nanay when we were still in college. Then I met Tatay when I had my first job interview in General Santos City. Who would even expect that they were to become my in-laws nine years after right? I guess it was meant to be.

My first impressions of my in-laws? I thought they were all both nice. Nanay is approachable, soft-spoken, warm and is the kind of person that you easily warm up to. Tatay on the other hand is the type of person who loves to talk about politics and religion and his sons and will never fall short of giving his fatherly advice. He is always the one who is telling me to be patient with my Hubby.

As of this writing, both my PIL are on board Singapore Airlines bound for Frankfurt, Germany. Their plane will land tomorrow morning and we are very eager to see them after more than a year of not seeing one another. They will be here for three months for a vacation. I just hope that they will enjoy their stay here with us and they will also come to know and understand our life here abroad.

Rodliz’s Nest


Optimizing Online Shopping

>> Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Have you ever kicked yourself when you are on the last leg of making an online purchase (be it for flowers, a flight, a designer garment, or tickets to a show) and the option to enter a coupon code appears? It is often too late and you realize that you've missed the chance to save some cash.

The question sometimes arises: does any item actually have a price? Or is the price always variable? It seems that in most cases, discounts of varying sizes are available for those who know where to look.

Online discount coupon sites unite whole rafts of retailers, making coupon codes easily obtainable on the specific brands or products that the individual customer tends to prefer. Personal preferences can be recorded and a tailored selection of discounts regularly offered.

Referring others is a tried and tested method of gaining a discount for oneself. When catalogues - literally heavyweight paper compendia of goods for sale - were the principal mail order vehicle, those who became agents were rewarded with discounts on their own catalogue shopping. Not surprisingly, all of the big-name catalogues have gone online, cutting off that particular earnings stream. However, online retailers do value loyalty, and this appreciation generally translates into dollars.

In order to avoid being bombarded with too many offers - many of which are of no personal relevance - wise shoppers can sign up to sites that specialize in just one type of merchandise. It may be beauty products, computer accessories or tickets to events, to name just a few possibilities. Online shopping is on balance a safer bet than 'live' shopping in stores. You are less likely to find discounts with impulse shopping, as a greater amount of thought and price comparing can be invested into the process of shopping online. And then, of course, there is the availability of all those promotional offers. The message is: don't purchase until you have checked out all the discount possibilities.


Falling In Love

I was running on the cross-trainer this evening, sweating my fats out, listening to my mp3 player full blast and watching the TV screen so that I may refrain from looking at the equipment monitor that displays my progress. I have quite a large collection of foreign songs in my m3 player so that I can choose how my pace should be: fast, normal, slow. The more upbeat the song, the faster I become and the more calories I am able to burn.

I was about to skip this one particular slow song when I heard that it had different yet very familiar tune. I decided otherwise and just listened to it. It has been a while since I last heard this song by Lisa Loeb called Falling in Love. The song has a nice message, and tells of the story of a woman who wanted to be a cowboy but who in the end found her man. I particularly love the lines: "The time between meeting and finally leaving is sometimes called falling in love."

This song is particularly played in the TV series Grey's Anatomy, which is now in it's 6th season. I have been way behind when it comes to watching this series and I seriously have a lot of catching up to do. I don't even know who Teddy and Owen are anymore! But I just love the drama and the quest of the doctors to save lives and the challenges and ordeals that they face, both personally and professionally.


How to Manage Your Prescription List

>> Monday, June 21, 2010

After a visit to the doctor for a slight illness or a regular checkup, you may be handed a prescription list of medications to get filled before heading back home. This list will often include medications to help manage any current conditions, along with a measure of preventative medications to keep you well. The first step in deciding how to handle this prescription list is where to get the items filled at. There are many legitimate online pharmacies which can save in price depending on your situation, as well as a multitude of pharmacies and other vendors, often found in grocery stores, that offer varied prices.

While some brand name medications have fixed prices, insurance or assistance from the pharmaceutical companies themselves may be able to help with these. For generics, many grocery store pharmacy outlets offer a discounted co-pay with insurance or even a discounted price for those without insurance. Once the prescriptions have been filled, it's important to manage your medication intake to assist in ensuring the medications are taken on schedule; this is especially important if there are numerous medications.

Purchasing a pill organizer is certainly a helpful step—especially for those early morning or late night medications when you may not want to be bothered with too much hassle. If you're taking medications from two or more doctors, even for completely different reasons, you will want to double-check the medication compatibility with your pharmacist. Make sure you're speaking with a doctor or pharmacist with a full list of medications from all sources to ensure the types of pills and amounts are safe with one another. Be sure to also check with any food interactions related with medicines; grapefruit is a known react with certain types of products and can cause undesirable interactions.


Friendships Never End

Last weekend, a good friend of ours visited us for the weekend. We knew him from college and we were involved in the same organizations. He is connected with the Australian National University where he is taking up his Ph.D. and is doing medical research. He is "on tour" to give a talk in various medical universities all over Europe and he decided to drop by since it's on the way. He came with a friend and it was nice to see an old face again. 

It was raining last Saturday morning when we fetched them at Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (Stuttgart Main Train Station). We had breakfast at home and let them stretch and refresh. Thankfully, it stopped raining in the afternoon and so we were able to show them around the city. Our itinerary: visit to the Mercedes Benz museum, walk around downtown Stuttgart and show them some of the popular landmarks, drop by the vineyards, stop by Porsche Museum, Filipino dinner at home.

It was an eventful day and I am hopeful that they enjoyed their stay with us. Dinner was quite long but worthwhile. We caught up with each other's lives over green mungo soup and shrimps, rice, two bottles of wine and ice cream for dessert. I can say that it was a long day but a great one nonetheless. 

Truly, no matter how far we may have gone, no matter where fate may have taken us, friends will always be friends.


Baby Steps into Life as an Adult

Growing up and heading out into the world can be scary, but it does not have to be paralyzing. Many soon to be or recent graduates cringe at the thought of the new responsibilities that they will have to deal with as they enter the real world and have to take care of themselves. The most powerful lessons will be ones that they learn along the way, usually resulting from major mistakes or failures but those are the foundational fortifying building blocks that can lead to life’s greatest successes and talents. Going into the fear is the fastest way to move through it, or else you will spend your life and most of your energy always running.

One aspect of adult life that can be terrifying is finances, especially if one never had to be responsible for them before. The thought of rent, let alone a home mortgage, can seem daunting. A naïve fledgling may not be aware of utilities like power, water, sewer and any other fees that may be mandatory in your residence. Those are just the bare bones. Cable, Internet, and cellular service can add up quickly. Add to that food, a car payment, auto insurance, health insurance, fuel, and various sundries (things like batteries, paper towels, cleaning supplies are things that many kids take for granted at home but when you need them, you need them).

It does seem like a lot to take on initially, but dealing with it one step at a time makes it manageable. First of all, live within your means. That may mean that you can’t initially have every little extra that you want but knowing that you can eat and pay for a place to call home means you’ll be able to sleep at night. Credit card debt just adds one more bill to the pot making it that much harder to pay for your essentials.


Summer Dresses for My Little One

I just discovered an online shop that is exclusively for children. I love the colors and the designs of the dresses for girls, they are just perfect for my little one. It's called Tea Collection and below are just some of the dresses that I would love to get for my little girl.

The sandals are very colorful, lightweight and made of leather. Just perfect for hot summer days and for play because it allows the feet to breathe. You wouldn't have to worry about the leather getting wet because it is waterproof. Cool eh?

But I know I have to stop myself and wait for my PIL (parents in law) to arrive on Thursday, June 24. I ask Nanay and my mom to buy some summer clothes and foot wear for my little girl and they already that they bought lots for her. So there's no need for me buy these dresses and foot wear just yet. I just have to be patient and wait till they arrive. It's only three more days and they will finally be here. I am excited. I know they are too.

And I am thankful that we will be seeing family again after a while. Thank God for willing it.


Children's Clothing Free At Last!

What to wear to the slumber party, the swimming pool, the sixth grade picnic? What says, "look at me!" and, "I'm too cool to care" at the same time? So many questions for the young fashionista...

It used to be that children didn't have any say in the matter of what they wore. In fact, until the late 1800's, there really was no such thing as children's clothing. Parents dressed up their children like miniature versions of themselves, in tight, uncomfortable garments that limited their movement and labeled their place in society. Young boys in Little Lord Fauntleroy suits reflected daddy's formal wear and his oh-so-important social status. Little girls in stiff lace and petticoats sat still and upright like mama.

Today's kids have broken free. It's all about comfort, casual and COOL. Little boys will wear shorts or jeans with plenty of room to move. Cargo pants, athletic shorts, or classics in plaid, solids and camouflage are all popular with the jungle gym set. Add a tee, polo or button-down shirt and Zach is ready to go. Hoodies, sneakers, or Van's skate shoes and he's outta here. It's a brave new world, mama, and we gotta run...

Girls love to express themselves in layers of multicolored t-shirts, camisoles, shawls and scarves. And it's her choice: skirt or trousers--or why not both? For the slender young filly with long legs, it's a fun and funky combo. Or wear opaque tights with crazy patterns for another bold look. And underneath those skirts, how about classic Mary Janes or brightly colored rain boots? There's no rule but cool, and the more fun the better!

No doubt mom and dad will still have an influence on their child's look. There are children's clothing lines in surfer, preppy, vintage, and even couture styles. But when it comes to freedom in fashion, you've come a long way, baby!


Father's Day Plans

>> Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Father's Day here in Germany has come and gone. We celebrated it last May so that there's no Father's Day Plans. Lol! I will just relate to you how our Father's Day went though and when it is celebrated here.

Father's Day is always a national holiday here because it is celebrated every Himmerfahrt (The Ascension). And because it was a holiday last May 13, the family along with a good friend went to Switzerland to visit friends. I was not the one who rendered service to Hubby but the other way around on that day. He didn't mind driving though because he loves it. A week before that, I ordered something for him online and it arrived the day before Fatehr's Day. It was supposed to be a surprise but since he was the one who received the package, it was no longer a secret. So much for my surprise plans. But I am glad he liked my little gift. It was a Lacoste shirt, to add to his short-sleeved shirt collection because it was getting warmer.

The next day, we visited Zürich for a post-Father's Day celebration. We didn't really plan much for our outing in Zürich and just went with the flow. We just walked to where our feet took us and found lots of interesting sights. It was a stress-free one too because there was no need to rush.

Then we went back to our friend's house and met more new friends there.

I guess Father's Day need not really be a grand celebration. For as long as you appreciate what your father / husband for your family and let them know about it, I guess that is what counts the most.

Rodliz’s Nest


The GLUE That Holds Us Together

>> Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I received this message from my former mentor and manager when I was still working my butt off in the corporate world. It's got something to do with our anatomy and laminins and how amazing God really is! I just thought it worth sharing here.

A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio... And I was BLOWN AWAY!

I want to share what I learned.... But I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is... How He spoke the universe into being... How He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire, Etc. Etc.

Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know)... And I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking... 'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???'

Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart.. how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

And then I lost my breath. And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!!

It was because he started talking about laminin. I knew about laminin.

Here is how Wikipedia describes them:
'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue.'

You see... Laminins are what hold us together.. LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn't know is what they LOOKED LIKE. But now I do.

And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)... Here is what the structure of laminin looks like... AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it...

If you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see...

Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!! Amazing. The glue that holds us together..... ALL of us.... Is in the shape of the cross.

Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth,visible And invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in Him all things HOLD TOGETHER.' (Colossians 1:15-17)

Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool. Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words.

And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held together... One cell to another... By the cross.

You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything Other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like long before Adam breathed
his first breath!!


Off To Bamberg

>> Friday, June 11, 2010

Tomorrow, we will be going on a trip to Bamberg, a town in Bavaria, Germany. It is known as one of the few cities in Germany which was not destroyed during the World War II bombings because of the nearby Artillery Factory that prevented planes from getting near to Bamberg. Our purpose for going there is to join the Filipino community in the celebration of the Santacruzan, an old Filipino Catholic tradition to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. Perhaps we could also go on a little sightseeing around the area if time permits because it boasts of beautiful churches and old architecture. And maybe a little einkaufen (shopping) at Mohren Haus, the house of beautiful things.

The Filipino community in Stuttgart recently held it's Santacruzan last Sunday. We also went to hear mass and watch the procession of angels, Reyna Elenas and the Blessed Virgin, and watched the program after the mass. It was a nice event because we got to see our fellow Filipinos in another religious gathering. We had fun... The service was made more special because it was said in English and was celebrated by a Filipino priest, Fr. Simon. This is the second year that we witnessed the Santacruzan here in Stuttgart. Perhaps when Samantha is a little bigger, she will be invited to be one of the angels too. :D


There's Always A Way...

>> Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am just amazed at how perfect God's timing is. He has always worked in ways when you least expect it. And I am just thankful because He has answered our prayers yet again. Even if we sometimes fail to give thanks and praise, His love is steadfast. Even if we stumble and fall, He still leads us back to the right path. Even if we sometimes become too comfortable with our lives and forget that all these came from him, He didn't stop providing for us. I am writing this in testimony that indeed, with God, nothing is impossible. He always works in ways that we never thought possible. And when God works, it's always for the BEST.

Shame on me who sometimes doubts whether things can be done or not. God has yet again knocked in my heart, making me realize that for as long as put our entire faith in Him, nothing is possible. There will always be a way. God will make a way. He is the way.


Meet Our Fathers

>> Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This week's theme for Couple's Corner is Meet Our Fathers in honor of our fathers.

I will start off with my Papa: Marcial Pahimalan

My Papa was born to a poor family. He lost his father when he was only a kid and never had the chance to finish primary school. Determined to have a better life, he left his hometown in Liloan, Southern Leyte and headed South in the island of Mindanao. He worked as a laborer in various companies until luck smiled down on him and he got hired in a multi-national beverage company in Davao. While we were growing up, my Papa worked very hard just to send all four of us to school. He was the disciplinarian type and when we were smaller, he would discipline us when he can. A very responsible father who wants to provide for his family, I can say that he has really done his best. I am very thankful for everything that he has done for us although I miss the times that he could have been there but he cannot because he has to work. Now, he just retired from work. I hope that he will be able to enjoy his time with my mother, now that all of us are grown-ups and have families of our own too. I miss my Papa. I hope that we will be able to see him again one of these days.

Meet Hubby's Tatay: Vergilio Pera

Tatay hails from Calauag Quezon and migrated to Davao City to find his luck there. Tatay is a very responsible father too and he loves to talk about politics and religion. He is a big fan of Erap and he would always defend on our various conversations. He also loves to share his advice. Like my Papa, he also came from a poor family but was able to send his two sons to school. I am excited to see him and Nanay soon. I hope that he will enjoy staying with us for three months.

Both of my fathers are now old. I regularly pray that they will always stay healthy. And that we will still have the time to enjoy each other's company.

Rodliz’s Nest


Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

>> Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When Hubby came home from work yesterday, he told me that his boss talked to him about his career options within the company. Because he is on an international assignment, much of the discussion was focused on what his training design would he should he decide to stay or should he decide to go back to Japan after his assignment contract.

He was sharing me this because he wanted me think it over in the next few days what I want and where I really want to settle down. Here in Germany or back in Japan... There are lots of pros and cons to consider on both sides and I know that I should weigh them all out well.

We had a good life in Japan... Although it was filled with challenges on my part because I never really got to learn the language, it is where we really toughed it out and where it all began for us as a family. We have friends who have become dear to us and we immensely miss them. There are also lots of conveniences that we missed while in Japan: the Sunday shopping, the fresh seafood, its geographical location.

Our present location also afforded us with lots of benefits because we are on assignment. Should we decide to stay for good, all the benefits of being on international assignment will be removed. No more company paid rent, no more free annual home trips. And because our present abode is furnished, we would need to purchase home furniture and move to a smaller and cheaper place once the assignment contract ends. Germany is also very, very far from the Philippines. The good thing about living here though is that this is where our child grew up. She has found some friends and she will also be starting school soon. I also had the opportunity to study the language and to go back to school. We also have regular meet ups with the Catholic Filipino community here so that our adjustment became easier.

I am writing this all down so that when I think again, I will have this for reference as I tend to forget things. We wouldn't want to regret our decision later because that would only make our staying or going unhappy.

Whatever decision we may come up, I hope that it will be what's best for the family.

So, what do you think? What have you got to say? Should we stay or should we go?


Killing Time

>> Saturday, June 5, 2010

It is already the first weekend of the month. I hope that everyone has a good one, spent with family and friends. As for me and my family, it's going to be the usual weekend where we just relax and spend time together. No special trips this weekend though, we are saving that up on the third week because we are expecting friends over the weekend. I wonder where we're going to take them... Hmmm... But we are going out later for our monthly prayer meeting for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

My hands are full today but I am feeling restless. And when I feel restless, I know that I have to stay still for a few minutes and quiet down. My little red book entitled Hearts On Fire (Praying with the Jesuits) has always been handy in moments like this.

While browsing through the pages of this beloved book, I coincidentally chanced upon this prayer by Leo Rock, SJ. A lovely prayer that talks about how man kills time.

Killing Time

How do I kill time?
Let me count the ways.

By worrying about things
over which I have no control.
Like the past.
Like the future.

By harboring resentment
and anger
over hurts
real or imagined.

By disdaining the ordinary
or, rather, what I
so mindlessly
call ordinary.

By concern over what's in it for me,
rather than what's in me
for it.

By failing to appreciate what is
because of might-have-beens,

These are some of the ways
I kill time.

Jesus didn't kill time.
He gave life to it.
His own.

A very beautiful prayer don't you agree? It made me think twice because most of the ways to kill time that is mentioned in the prayer are applicable time. It overwhelms me to learn that I have been killing time all along... I did not do it intentionally though because I mean well. Thanks to this prayer, I am now made conscious of all my petty concerns and selfish interests. I have to work on not killing my time anymore. For my own peace of mind.


Hubby As A Father

>> Thursday, June 3, 2010

I have decided to officially write my Couple's Corner entries in this blog beginning this month. And I know that I am late yet again so I will get the ball rolling.

They say that there will always be a first for everything... and like all firsts, they are more often than not, turning points in our lives. I knew that my Hubby would fare well when it comes to raising a family and a child for the first time, and so it is no surprise when the first time he became a father, he became exactly like one.

Although he grew up in a normal family, he spent most of his childhood with his grandparents because he was sickly and his parents had to work. He was surrounded with cousins and relatives so that he was close to them and a fond affection for his aunts and uncles.

Because of the environment that he grew up in as a child, I knew then that family would always be a priority for him. I am blessed because whenever he can, he would spend time with Samantha. He sees to it that we spend weekends together as a family. He also tries to vacate his schedule whenever I ask him to accompany us somewhere. Although work is important, he would request for a day off to be with us for let's say, Samantha's regular check-up at the pedia. I am just happy though that Hubby's company work hours here are very flexible so that he can always adjust.

Although I find it odd that Hubby hasn't ever given Samantha a bath because he is afraid he might do her harm, he would happily change her diapers. And while I am usually the one sending her off to sleep, he would happily wash and sterilize her feeding bottles and change her clothes. Hubby knows when to give in to Sam and when to be firm with her. He sees to it that he is there especially when Samantha and I have our moments. And he speaks to her like an adult, explaining to her what she did wrong when I get mad at her. Yes, he knows how to handle her daughter most of the time and I am happy with it.

Rodliz’s Nest


Thursday is Fronleichnam

>> Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am lucky to be living in a Catholic state here in Germany because I am able to practice my belief / religion freely. But did I tell you that the state imposes religious tax? I think you have to pay 3% of your net income for religious tax. This is probably the reason why many people here have chosen to declare themselves atheists. But whether one pays religious taxes or not, one is still welcome to join the services or Gottesdienst. The church doors are always open for everyone. However, if you want to have your child baptized or confirmed or have their first communion, I think that is the time when you really need to pay your taxes.

But anyway, we just celebrated the Pentecost, the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. The church thinks of the Pentecost as the birth of the church. On Thursday, June 3rd is another Catholic celebration: the Fronleichnam or Corpus Christi, where we honor the Holy Eucharist. That means, it is going to be another public holiday in most of the German states. I consider that Eucharist as an important aspect of my Catholic life because through it, I am in communion with God as I partake of the bread and wine. As Catholics, we see to it that we hear mass and take part in the Eucharist every Sunday. With the service done in German, it is quite difficult to focus. But a priest friend once told us that even if you do not understand everything that the priest is saying during the service, you still receive grace. And that is what matters.

I hope everyone has a beautiful month of June! May you all be blessed.

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