First post for the year

Happy new year everyone! I am grateful for 2022. It was the year I was finally able to move to Melbourne to be closer to relatives. This is 10 years in the making. This year I am hoping to be more settled here.

The new year had me reminiscing. This made me realise that I have been blogging for almost 20 years now(since 2004). It started with blog drive then Blogspot then WordPress. I also had Multiply, where I met new friends and also LiveJournal. Well actually, I’ve been journalling virtually all my life. It started when I was in third grade but I became active when I was in 5th grade. From then on, I’ve been writing. It’s too bad I destroyed my old diaries. It would have been nice to read them now that I am older. One thing I got from journalling is I am able to gather my thoughts and analyse them and come up with realisations and solutions. In short, it was like therapy to me. I have also loved writing. When I was in high school, I did consider to be a writer. But I wasn’t talented enough so I gave up the idea.

One thing that resonated with me was when I was still writing in my Live Journal. There is a portion where you can share the title of the song you listen to. You can also choose some nice icons to post it with. At that time, I wanted to do so many things and I was frustrated that I couldn’t do yet any of them. I yearn for a better version of myself. I have these pictures in my head of who I wanted to be. I’ve been working to be that person. It’s more than 20 years but I still cannot fully say that I am there already. It is a constant thought in my head. This helped me to keep going and not settle for less.

2022 is my mid-life year. This is the year I turned 40. Of course, this caused me to reflect heavily on my life’s choices. I did consider so many things. The whole year is full of what ifs, could Is, should I have hads, and more yearning. I am grateful that God helps me along the way. So far, up to this point in my life, I have started to see the whys in my life. They all make sense. I could see God’s hand in these. He is really a good God and He is in control.

So what have I realised in my mid-life reflections? That I am where God wants me to be. I can thrive. I can live fully. I can choose to be happy. That I have always been joyful because of Jesus. I can choose to see God’s hand in my life. I can have peace of mind. And I can be kinder to myself.

This 2023, I hope to finally settle down. To live in my own house. To settle in the promised land. I have been living in “tents” for so long. This year, I also want to be like Joshua–that as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord and that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and that goodness and mercy will follow me where I go and where I am right now.

Daiso Sticker Haul

My husband wanted to go to the shopping centre last Saturday and it made me think what I would do there. I have gone back to being a homebody again since I got flu 2 weeks ago. And since Iā€™m still over the moon with my Hobonichi, might as well get some accessories for it which are stickers and washi tapes šŸ˜Š

https://youtu.be/vitRzNL-7Tw

And while on it, might as well show you my purchases.

Hobonichi Haul 2023

My planner for next year.

It is a nice surprise to realise that I have ordered bank papers. I have been hearing about them from stationery vlogs and I have wanted to try them so when I saw them on the Hobonichi English website, I just have to buy them.

My next purchase would be planner stickers. I have been collecting washi tapes slowly but the ones I really love are so expensive. I can’t really spend $65 for 6 rolls of washi tapes when I can buy 10 rolls for $6 at Officeworks. I wish they would lower the price. Maybe then I can buy a few. But for now, it’s just nice to look at them from the screen. šŸ™‚

Choose to be Kind

This was what I reminded myself of yesterday. The day started hard. But it ended sweet. I thank God that He hears me and answers my prayers. I thank God for giving me the strength to click on the preachings from the church I attend here. It shows that sharing the gospel is not a waste of time.

I went to the city because I wanted to have coffee and a Japanese egg sandwich. The one from Melbourne Central is really, really good. I was planning to just buy what I needed and go home right away but the weather was nice–clear skies. I went outside and I have a clearer view of the city. It gives me a clearer view of where Emporium is and QV and how they are all interconnected or just adjacent to one another. I am feeling more like a local now.

I also saw a very bougie Asian grocery near the train station so I had to check it out. The only thing I bought is a $2 potato cookie.

I then went to Footscray to catch a train home. I stopped by a Vietnamese restaurant that sells the best pork chop in Melbourne. I would have done some groceries as well but I forgot that the market was closed on Mondays. I also bought coffee from Maples Cafe before finally going to the train station.

My fascination for Melbourne coffee has stopped. I find coffee so bitter now. I don’t know why. I’ll try coffee again next week. But for now, I’ll just stick to my iced teas. šŸ™‚

Modular

I’ve been here in Melbourne for 3 months now. It’s been a busy 3 months. So much has happened that I couldn’t stop and look at life to see how I was doing.

The move to Melbourne was not easy. The drive was long and scary. I also experienced some sort of discrimination. This experience convinced me that I was right to move to Melbourne.

Still healing from the awful encounter, we stopped by Albury for lunch and the bustling town sparked my excitement. I was also shocked, in a good way, that drivers in this town give way to other drivers, unlike in NSW. This is because Albury is a border town to VIC.

Philip’s (my car) tenacity was tested. 1500kms of distance traveled is no joke considering how heavy my car was. By the end of our ride, Philip was like crawling already. The first thing we did was pass by my current work. Then we went home but since we didn’t have any food, we went to the nearest shopping center to buy food.

Melbourne is definitely busier. Driving was a challenge at first but I got the hang of it. Now I can drive further but I still couldn’t drive along the freeway and in the city.

My new workplace is different and much busier but I don’t really mind.

I do miss the sense of community in the country. Here, people don’t really care about one another. They are not used to greeting anyone sincerely like smiling at someone you meet on the street. I still don’t know any of my customers.

However, Melbourne is a big city and there are so many things to explore and do here. I do like the food here–I like Asian cuisine–especially Chinese-Vietnamese and of course Filipino food. We recently ate at this restaurant in St Albans where we had the salt and pepper pork and it was heavenly. I’ve never had SAPP that good! It was amazing! The best thing is, I am discovering other dishes as well and I have easy access to them!

Another thing I like here is the coffee. I’ve discovered with myself my favorite coffee which is flat white with oat milk and 2 sugars. I don’t like my coffee that bitter. I want it smooth and creamy.

Moreover, I love that Melbourne has lots of bookshops!!!

My relatives and I went camping/glamping in Bright Victoria. It was really enjoyable. I really loved it. I am definitely doing it again.

Melbourne is beginning to feel like home as days go by especially since our modular has been delivered. It took them almost 4 months to deliver our couch. I am looking forward to inviting people over but at this point, our priority is to work whenever we can. I also hope to find a church near where we live. I miss going to an actual church to praise and worship and fellowship with others as well.

Now that I am in Melbourne, there are so many things that I want to do. I pray that God will teach me how to manage my time properly so I will be able to do not just what I need to do but also what I want to do.

time at all.

I also started some additional job in the city.

Easy

Browsing through social media has its disadvantages. Seeing updates from people got me envious because they have it easy. Like they don’t have to struggle so much with what they have because they were born rich, or their partners did a lot of the hard work to be where they are. They don’t have to think about or worry about what I worry about.

Gratefulness stops envy.

These are the things I realise:

Yes, I have to work hard for everything. I have to study hard, when my cousins are having a great time playing with each other, I was the only one with notes with them, sneaking to study. But I was able to finish and graduate from the top university in my country. I was also able to meet interesting and intelligent people. I wouldn’t have met them if I didn’t go to that school (if I’ve chosen the easy way).

When everyone is moving to greener pastures, I had to deal with bad people first before I was able to move to my “greener” pasture. But going through those adversities made me realize the power of God in my life. He truly made rivers in the desert. His power and glory were shown in those situations.

And when I finally got to my greener pasture, I had to move away from the people I know to move to a remote area while they enjoy the city life. But moving to the remote area paved the way for me to practice my profession.

While people my age have their own houses already, I still live in tents. Living in tents mean living in different places, ready to go wherever God takes me. Because of that, I was able to meet kind and generous people. I greatly relied on the kindness of strangers. It truly is God’s power manifesting.

While my friends would get together to travel or drink or do fun stuff, I couldn’t go because my salary is lower than theirs. But being in my job, I was able to serve the Filipino masses.

While everyone has their own savings, I don’t have any because I have to support my family. But I was able to do everything I can to help extend the life of my mother.

While everyone is having a child of their own, I couldn’t because (of my age) having a child means not being able to support my family. I couldn’t find the time to go see a specialist to look into IVF because I have to keep working. I asked God that if He’s gonna give me a child, I hope it is through natural means. I might feel a little worried but I know that if God would give me a child, I know that He will provide. A child is always a blessing. I would be honored, honestly, to have the chance to bring up someone. Who knows, maybe my child will have a great impact in the world in sharing Jesus and the gospel.

I may have had it hard, but I am still able to do what I want to do and able to go where I want to go. Moreover, there is one thing I do not have to struggle with–the love of my family. A great example set by my parents. How my father loved my mother and how both of them are great providers. We may not have a lot of money but they were still able to send us to the best schools. They also continue to help us set out into the world even after college. They may not be the wisest in the ways of the world, but I know that they have done their best for us, for which I am eternally grateful.

Get There

It is my tradition to do prayer and fasting at the start of the year to put things back in perspective–to remind me who I am in Christ. I was not able to do it with the rest of the church this year so I did it the week after. The first day was really difficult. I was about to give up but I got a breakthrough, which kept me going. On the last day, I could feel the momentum of an answered prayer. I was ready to shout for joy and proclaim the glory of God in my life. I was ready to shout Hallelujah! But we’ve got the virus instead. We recovered in no time but we still had to isolate for a number of days as per protocol in this country. I am thankful for the good system in place in this country. Because I had a symptom, a doctor called me to check up on me. She assessed if I could manage my symptoms at home or if I needed to be monitored closely. I am also thankful for the delivery services for the basic goods. We didn’t have to ask any of our friends to get us any necessities. I did ask God why it had to happen then but knowing God, He has a good reason for this. I was also grateful for a few days of rest. I had been exhausted with everything going on with my life. Those few days allowed me to just rest and let God. Although in the end, I had to fight for what would give me peace. Getting sick showed me the true colors of some people, of how selfish they are. I have always been aware of that but still, it did not feel good to witness it firsthand. My faith in humanity was low at the time. I thought no one really cared. Little did I know, some people actually cared for us. A fellow believer told me, when she finally heard from me, that she has been praying for my recovery.

Several days after our recovery, my husband had to drive down to Melbourne to start work as part of our long-term plan. We have to be in a long-distance relationship for a few weeks. It’s hard but I am gonna follow him there soon. I am impressed with him and grateful that God gave him the courage to go out there and chase after our dreams and that we are on the same page with this.

40

I turned 40 yesterday. It was also my 3rd wedding anniversary. So how was it? EXHAUSTING!

But God is His goodness, still able to give me a sweet surprise. šŸ™‚

My original plan was to have a big birthday bash here in Tamworth, inviting everyone but then that’s very impractical. In the end, I just gave gifts to some people who helped me in 2021.

My husband and I decided to book a flight to Melbourne so we can celebrate my birthday there. However, because of the surge in the omicron variant, we didn’t know how to celebrate my birthday together with my relatives.

A few days before our flight, Qantas kept changing our flight hours and the night before our flight, we received a message that our flight was cancelled. We had to look into our booking and it showed that the flight was just changed. But we weren’t really sure so we just cancelled our flight.

We thought about alternatives, in the end, we rebooked for Newcastle-Melbourne, but we got confused with the travel restrictions. We had to cancel the flight again, and when we were about to rebook it for the 3rd time, I couldn’t anymore. Probably because there are no more seats available.

We ended up driving to Sydney in the afternoon the day before my birthday. It only took us 5 hours because we ended up going through a tunnel that has a toll fee.

Once checked in, we quickly went down to buy toiletries and food since it was already 9ish at night. We thought everything would be closed already. But the restaurants were still open as well as the chemist. We bought some food. We brought them all back to our hotel room, we didn’t want to eat outside, cautious of covid. And with just one bite of the Sparrow Mills’ Korean fried chicken, all these hassles faded away.

The next day, we were early, ready for shopping. I had to make sure to stop by a bookstore. Dymocks was the most convenient to go to at the time so I went there. I wanted to buy more books but I opted to just buy 2. They were also discounted.

I also had to try the nasi lemak since I saw a Pappa Rich restaurant under World Square. It was definitely better than what I had in the Philippines. Some of the beef rendang was hard, if all are tender then I would have really enjoyed it. I also convinced myself into buying a perfume I’ve been wanting for a while now and because of that, and since it was also my birthday, the store gave me a gift, which was nice. It was the only gift I received for my birthday.

After shopping in the city, we checked out earlier than planned because we wanted an extra day of rest. Then we went to the nearest outlet store and met my friend and her daughter there. It was amazing to see the progress of my friend’s daughter. She was so talkative now and she can walk on her own. She is also a curious kid and she speaks her mind. She’s one smart girl.

It was sweet of God to remind me of His goodness, to let me know that not everyone is against me. I never plan to meet anyone in Sydney, but my friend went out of her way to see me since I was in Sydney. She didn’t even know that it was my birthday so she wasn’t “obliged” to. She’s definitely my person.

2022

Happy new year!!!

A call from Mom after a hard month made me miss home so much. I am feeling homesick. It’s been 2 years since I have had this feeling. I always feel homesick right after coming back from my vacation in my hometown. At this moment while typing these words, my eyes are tearing up. That’s how bad it is.

But this is a great reminder of the importance of family, and how important to rely on God’s help. Everybody is going through something. I should not take it upon them. God is still on the throne. God still loves me. I should not force it. The people for me will come along naturally. My dreams and goals will come true and be achieved through God’s power and will.

I am starting 2022 with the love that no one can take away from me, not even by myself. I am thankful that God is in my life. I am looking forward to witnessing how awesome God is in my life.

My Mocha Recipe

I only get to prepare and drink coffee during my rest days because it takes a lot of time to do. But I love the process of making coffee–french press, drip, or just simply adding milk in it. It’s fancy and a privilege–reminding me that life is beautiful. Coffee is always about mornings and new beginnings, which means hope. Or night-time and deadlines which means working for something that makes life better, which, again, means hope. Coffee ads are very effective in driving this message across. Coffee vlogs romanticize it even further–with the aesthetic mugs, kettle and how pretty the milk mixes with coffee. I am totally sold.

I don’t drink coffee every day of my rest days, just when I’m in the mood for it. Yesterday, I was in the mood so I boiled water in my “traditional” kettle (electric kettle doesn’t last on me), got a teaspoonful of the Starbucks instant coffee (medium roast but tastes like dark), with two sugars. I also used Uncle Tobys oat milk which I bought months ago. The result was surprisingly good. Oat milk is definitely worth the hype. I’ve tried lactose-free milk, soy milk, almond milk for my coffee, but so far, oat milk tastes the best among them. It makes the coffee tastes sweeter.

This morning, after going to get my booster COVID vaccine dose, I decided to do an iced coffee, using the same ingredients. However, as I was preparing the coffee powder and 3 teaspoonfuls of sugar while waiting for the water to boil, my eyes went to the box of Mork dark chocolate. I bought this a few months back, enjoyed it so much but for some reason (sheer laziness), I could never bring myself to prepare a hot chocolate. Here it was, staring at me, asking when I would use it again. Remembering the coffee vlog I watched yesterday about making mocha, I told myself, why not use it today. So I reached for it, add 3 teaspoonfuls of the dark chocolate powder into the mix, added hot water. Mix them all until dissolved then pour the mixture over my SB Christmas tumbler full of ice. And then I added oat milk to fill. The result was amazing! I love it. It is now going to be my mocha recipe.

More about the Mork chocolate powder, I bought this from Mork’s online shop. They are based in Melbourne. I first saw them on IG when my cousins posted how they drink the Mork chocolate. Mork created a buzz in Melbourne. Everyone loves a good show. I got curious. I wanted to try it for myself but whenever I go to Melbourne, no one is available to take me. I tried to go there on my own but I couldn’t find the actual store or their store was closed already (whenever I’d attempt to go) or it was closed on the day that I could go. Anyway, I did find another shop that used Mork for their hot choco. I ordered the 80% hot choco and it was too strong for me. I should have ordered a weaker one. It smelled so good though so I had to give it another shot. A few months ago, I googled if Mork has an online shop, it has so I had to order several boxes of the junior dark (50%) to give to friends and for personal consumption. FYI, I love hot chocolates more than I love coffee. It’s iced tea>dark hot chocolate>coffee for me. I did well with this purchase. It is how I expected it to be. The taste is on point. I’ve tried several hot choco and Mork is definitely one of the best ones.

The first time I tried oat milk, it was a disaster so I tried to stay away from it. However, during one of my grocery runs, I saw the Uncle Tobys oat milk on display. They look so appealing. Maybe it’s the brown-coloured oat milk font in flesh-coloured background that drew me to it, so I ended up buying it. It went straight on top of my fridge and stayed there for a few months until yesterday, when I finally decided to give oat milk another try. I’m glad I did. It was so good with coffee. Good thing as well, I felt fine after drinking it with my coffee so I guess oat milk is gonna be my staple milk for my coffee from now on.

So yeah, the point is, I’m really happy with my new discovery. šŸ™‚