Category: OFW

Word connoisseur

When I first came to Dubai, I thought I’m a word connoisseur (is there such a term?)
Since I love to read, I got exposed to different words and though I don’t use them often, I have fair grasp of their meaning and know how to spell them (like the word connoisseur).

And then I came to Dubai.

This is how skinny I am when I first came to Dubai. Global Village 2006.

First few weeks were struggle. I think I know how to speak English but why the hell I can’t understand my colleagues?
British, Indian, Arabs- they all talk gibberish.

This is what my ears were hearing:
Indian:  Wer ken I get ye-four and delephone? 
British: Can you shed-jool sem-ee prive-et yat?
Arabs: Akhaamed wants bizza and bebsi.

My first job in Dubai was a receptionist so you can imagine the number of people I encounter everyday.
I am so embarrassed whenever I ask them to repeat what they said since they already repeated it twice.
They might think I can’t understand english or I’m just plain stupid.

I clearly recall an Indian colleague repeatedly yelling ye-for,Ye-For, YE-FOR since I don’t get it.
He was so frustrated. I’m so dumb.

As it turned out. He was asking for A4 paper. In the Philippines, we call them ‘typewriting’
Even if he had a heart attack screaming YE-FOR, I wouldn’t be able to give it to him.

Over time, I told myself it’s not me, it’s them. If I can’t understand an English man, it’s not because I don’t freaking know English, but his accent is at fault.
There are some people who speaks english in neutral accent and I don’t have a problem in conversing with them.

Also, there are so many words added on my vocabulary in 12 years I’ve been living here.

Toilet – does it sound very vulgar? We’re used calling it CR, comfort room, washroom but toilet?! No.

I recall going to a mall and asked the cleaner
Me: Excuse me, where’s the CR?
Cleaner: No
Me: Bubble thoughts ‘for sure there’s CR in the mall’. Oh, I mean comfort room.
Cleaner: No. No.
Me: Washroom?
Cleaner: NO.
Me: Bubble thoughts ‘WTF’

I then started using sign language as if I’m washing my hands.

Cleaner: Ohhh! Toilet, go straight then left.
Me: Almost peed on the floor… 

Pantry – If I tell my mom to grab coffee from pantry, I will end up just taking it myself because what the hell is a pantry. We call it cabinet on our side of the world.

To Let – my first thought when I read this in 2005 – “Have they stupidly forgot the I in the banner? But why are they promoting toilet?”

Tiffin box – when my son asked if he can have a tiffin box, I googled it right away.

And you know how we are taught of US English in school? It’s quite an adjustment to write centre, colour, organisation.

And the most difficult adjustment is using day-month-year when writing.
So 5-6-2017 is not May 6, 2017. It is June 5, 2017.

When we got married in 2016, Gibson and I discussed how we should write the date on our wedding ring.
He said that we are Filipinos and we should write August 6, 2006 as 8-6-06.
I agreed.
After 11 years of marriage, I am now confused on what’s our anniversary date since I always rely on my ring to help me remember. Don’t tell my husband. I’m really bad with dates.

Overall, I’m grateful being exposed to different nationalities and learning different accents and new words.
Now, me and my family can survive going to any parts of the world and be able to communicate as long as English is the medium of conversation.

Have a good day!

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From an Overseas Filipino: 10 Lessons I Learned From Becoming A Self-Made Millionaire

This is not a brag post. I am not here to enumerate the things I acquire or tell you how much money I have. I am writing this post to let others know my way of thinking that helped me achieved my first million (in Philippine Pesos for now) in my early thirties.

As someone who aspires to be rich (in all aspects of life), I devour reading positive and enlightening articles, how to get rich posts, success stories and anything about getting out of debt and poverty.

I would have loved to read something similar to my post now when I was younger.
Someone who I can relate to. Be inspired to achieve more in life.
If all of us will be scared to tell people how we achieved our success for fear of being labelled as brag, then we’re not helping each other. (more…)

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It’s all about the mindset

I’ve been following Peso Sense’s Facebook page for a few months now.

And I find the comments very amusing. You get to know how most Filipinos think about money.

Today, there’s a post about their First Million Challenge, read on…


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The Story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 2)

The story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 1)

Here’s PART 1.

It has been almost 2 weeks since our nail salon opened last February 22 and it’s quite a ride. The board of directors – Gibson as Chairman, me as CEO and Jholen as General Manager – are constantly in-touch and discussing the day-to-day operations, staff performance and issues, advertising ideas, financial aspects and everything you can think of. Thanks God to Facebook Messenger. (And if you’re wondering if that’s our official titles, NO. I’m just kidding but isn’t it fun? And who knows, we can be incorporated one day and the dream will again turn into reality) (more…)

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The Story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 1)

The story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 1)
The Story of SLIAN NAILS (Part 1)

If you are following me, you know that I am in the process of setting up my own nail salon business in the Philippines. 

And you might also know that one of my mantra in life is ‘Sharing is Caring’. This world will be a better place if all of us can be more generous to one other. Not only sharing material things but our time and knowledge as well.

I want you to know my experience and learn from it. Take those information that apply to you and disregard things that don’t. I will share the difficulties and my mistakes (which I hope I won’t do often) and hope you try to get something from it too.

Note that we haven’t opened yet and I still have lots to experience and learn but if I wait until everything is settled and done, then I might forget some details. I would rather document things while I still remember them.

I am no expert, first and foremost. The things I am doing now for my business is purely based on research, reading other people’s stories (both their successes and failures), and my gut instinct. My mother is a business-minded woman and a serial entrepreneur but she never aimed high. What she (and my father) wanted was just a regular income to survive and let their 6 children graduate college. I don’t really have a mentor. I don’t personally know anyone that I can look up to. (more…)

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Dear fellow OFWs, just go for it!

Being an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) has its perks. You get to experience other nationalities’ cultures, you get paid more, you get to experience things that seems to be unthinkable before but reachable now. Most important thing is the opportunity to provide better life for our family.

But comes with these benefits is the reality that it can be lonely. Being away with our children, partner, parents and siblings becomes a sad norm. Missing special occasions and important moments has been inevitable.
And the harsh truth of being an OFW in Middle East countries is time will come that we will need to leave our host country no matter how much we love it.  The benefits of a citizen can never be given to us.
We will forever be an expat to our host country. (more…)

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How’s life?

How’s life my friends? I hope your having a fab weekend.

I usually go through my phone’s photos during weekend to delete 3/4th of nonsense shots I took that week. You know, that 14 food shots of one dish or the 28 selfies wearing the new lipstick.

To be frank with you, I’m very conscious of what I’m posting on social media specially the frequency. I can survive not posting anything for 1 full month but if you have a blog and want to be somehow recognize then I have no choice but be visible.
But still I don’t want to bombard my followers of what I ate or what I’m doing every minute of the day. That’s why Snapchat is not for me.

Although taking those pictures are good reminders of how your week went. You can look at them and somehow remember how you felt that day. So now instead of deleting them I thought why not just post some of the pictures here. Those who want to see them can see them and at the same time my social media followers won’t think I’m a narcissist. (more…)

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If there’s a will, there’s a way – The bento lunch box idea

I think moms in general always feel guilty for a variety of reasons. The feeling that they fail their children one way or the other.
It’s specially true for working moms.
Personally, I always wish I have enough time. Time to help with their studies. Time to attend all school activities. Time to prepare a nutritious lunch box.

Since I started following Cuddles and Crumbs’ Facebook page, Abigail’s lunch box ideas became an inspiration.
It’s so nice that I want to be her child 😂. And I’m amaze how adventurous her children are with food.
Chicken Pilaf – check. Sushi rolls – no problem. Fruits and vegetables- bring it on! Her kids are amaze-balls!

But to be honest, I thought I can’t do it because Abigail is a good homemaker. She has the skills and the time. Might sound unfair but that’s what I thought. SAHMs have more time in their hands to conceptualize, research and prepare their children’s lunchboxes.
A working mom like me doesn’t have a chance to compete with them.

Or so I thought. (more…)

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What’s your plan for Eid?

Eid Al Adha is announced to start on 12th September. That’s a 5 day long weekend for us in UAE! Wooohooo!!!

What's your plan for Eid?

Now the big question is what are we going to do?

5 days of staying at home is not an option.
Mall visits are boring. Going to new attractions in Dubai throughout the holiday period is quite expensive.
Should we do a hotel staycation? Yes, why not. But I’m thinking of something different.

It’s about time we push through my plan of visiting all 7 Emirates of UAE in 2 days.
Based on research, you can visit all just by driving non-stop around 4 hours.
Well, we’re not that crazy. Two days is better for a group that consists of kids and 1 senior citizen. We’re also planning to rent a car.

Aside from visiting all 7 Emirates, I intend to go to places/do things we’ve never been before.

Dubai – want to go to Dubai Museum and try the abra. Yup! Never done that in 11 years in UAE. Que horror!
Sharjah – visit Al Qasba and the corniche side. What a shame as we are living in Sharjah for almost 6 years now.
Ajman – I’m still trying to figure out what we can do/visit here.
Umm Al Quwain – eat in this local restaurant that has good reviews. Although I’m not so sure if we can do it with kids. I can eat anywhere but some people in our group might not be too adventurous in dining.
Ras Al Khaimah – visit Al Jazirat Al Hamra, the ghost town of UAE.
Fujairah – stay here for 1 night
Abu Dhabi/Al Ain – the Grand Mosque and probably the Emirates Zoo

I have less than a week to prepare the itinerary, have it approve by the committee (lol) and off we go!

Who wants to join us? 😀


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One fine Friday

After attending mass at St. Mary’s we went to Burjuman to have lunch at Barrio Fiesta. We’re quite a big group, 6 adults and 4 kids so when we saw the Friday buffet for AED 49, we thought it’s better to go for it than order ala carte.

One Fine Friday

Don’t be deceived by the photo. They don’t serve those dishes shown on the ad. I’m not sure if they change menu every weekend but last Friday we had spicy beef (really good), fried tofu, crispy chicken skin (good but bad for your health), creamy pumpkin soup (good), fried rice, grilled chicken (didn’t taste but Cole said it’s fine), chicken sisig (bleh!), sweet & sour fish fillet (didn’t try), goto (good but I wanted it to be extra hot – like boiling hot), stir-fry Asian noodles, some vegetable dishes, salad and dessert which I did not at all try. (more…)

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