Saturday, February 10, 2007

back to Taiwan...

Back again in getting ready for the big day--Chinese New Year! My trip to the Philippines was great! I had a lot of fun with the kids and enjoyed some Kapampangan cuisine. I took the kids to Echanted Kingdom...not much of an amusement park but the kids enjoyed it. I just wish I can afford to take them all to Disneyland so they experience a real amusement park. I'm planning on visiting again this summer (April to June) and get the children interested in gardening and maybe visit one of the beach resorts nearby like Subic Bay and teach them how to swim and appreciate the great outdoors...they spend too much time surfing the Internet and playing video games.

Back to Taiwan's most important holiday of the year--Chinese New Year! During this time of the year, you can see most people doing some major cleaning--washing their windows, mopping their floors and hanging red papers with writings on them. Five years ago, alot of people visits the market place in Jong Hua road where a bunch of vendors sell Chinese New Year items such as candies, red papers, and other items used during this certain holiday. Today, the market place is empty and most people prefers to go to western-style department stores own by either Americans or French. The culture in Taiwan also calls for the family to cook special dishes to be shared with the whole family on Chinese New Year Day; however, most families no longer cook. They order a "Chinese New Year Meal" from either restaurants offering the service and 7-11 stores.

Like poinsettas during Christmas time in the U.S., the comquat tree is also sold and displayed in front or inside everyhome. They believe it will bring them money luck with the yellow lemons symbolizing gold. I have a couple myself that bought the first year I was here and they bloom and fruit every year.

Finally, this is the time of the year when families get together and distant close relatives come home and stay for at least a week. This is when my husband and I feel obligated to spend at least 2-3 days at his parents house...something I find very uncomfortable since their standard of living is different from mine. It's also very difficult for me to sit there not knowing what they're talking about because my Mandarin is so terrible. But, since it's only once a year, I just play along--smile and nod and smile some more and eat whatever wierd stuff they put in front of me to show appreciation for their efforts and hospitality.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

having fun in the Philippines...

First day: A van I rented (with a driver) picked me up from the airport and took me and my family in the Philipppines to Mall of Asia. I heard many things said about the supposed new mall but it really wasn't that great. The outside appearance didn't look really nice and went you went inside it looked just like another mall with the exception of the ice skating rink. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone planning to visit the Philippines.

Second day: I woke up at 6:00 am and visited another wet market in Pampang area, a place where my mother used to take me. The place is the same but the roads are different...more chaotic and the pavement that was once there is all worn out, so the tricycle ride was really bumpy. I bought a week's worth of fish, meat, and vegetables and cost me a mere $60! For my relatives here in the Philippines, they feel it was too expensive, but I thought it was cheap. The area where they sold fish and meat smelt terrible and the floor was wet and disgusting but I soon got used to it. The thing that I couldn't stand to see and experience were the beggars. Little children tapping you on your shoulder or arm, looking dirty and pitiful, asking for money. I also noticed women and children carrying little babies doing the same thing. I was told it's a tactic they use to get people to feel sorry for them and give them money.

Third day: On my third day, I decided to take a jeepney and visited a shopping mall--Nepo Mart. The place changed a lot just like all the other stores I frequented during my childhood in the Philippines. It is now a 3-4 story building with a huge grocery store on the bottom floor. On the second and third floor you can find lots of stalls selling fake goods (e.g., LV, Coach, Chanel, etc.) It's amazing how they can do such thing openly...I know in Taiwan they do the same thing but they do it secretly or go to jail. They get most of it from Korea and China I guess.

Fourth day: Now, on my fourth day, I think I'll take it easy around the house and think up more exciting things to do. I'm thinking of visiting Baclaran, a place I heard where shopping is really cheap!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

on job hunting...

I remember days when looking for a job meant writing endless resumes and spending numerous hours browsing through the classified ads. Today, the computer and the Internet makes it much easier to land your dream job--all you have to do is log-on and google it! I'm still in Taiwan and wont be in Monterey until April but I've already found numerous jobs I'm interested in and have sent out my digital resume and intent letter without spending a cent! With a digital resume, I can also be more creative without spending tons of dollars on resume papers...the best part about it trips to the post office! With the computer and the Internet, I'm also able to post my resume online for companies to view. A company/organization can easily view my personal website and know everything they want to know and decide wether or not to hire me. Too, I can view an organization's website and know about them so I can decide if I want to work for them or be part of their organization. Today, companies post job openings on their websites...including job descriptions, qualifications and pay--before you email your resume, you already have a good idea what the job is about, how much it pays, benefits, and if you qualify. Finally, in todays technology, you can also sign-up for Job Alerts. I get weekly job alerts from newspapers in Monterey free of charge! Great stuff!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

faded memories...

I came across this picture on the Internet and it made me think of my father and how he used to be. My father passed away in 1986. I wasn't able to attend the funeral but I find it difficult to get over his death.

This image actually represent what I remember about my father...I feel really sad because I can't remember what he looked like. I don't have a picture of him so my image of him is a blur.

One thing I'll never forget about my father is that he was a great cook! And because he was a great cook, he was a very picky eater. The best times were during the Christmas holidays. He used to always cook a feast fit for a king. He also used to take us to the church every Sunday on a Kalesa. I couldn't figure out what happened but at about 8 years old, he stopped taking us to church. You always knew when his rooster won because he would bring us goodies favorite was the rice cake he used to bring me.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

stress tips

This little book titled, "The Little Stress Book" by Rohan Candappa used to make me laugh so hard but today when I came across it, flipped through the pages, but for some reason, did nothing for fact, I found it kind of ironic. It's amazing how some things can do so much for us at one time but do nothing at another????? Is it just my mood, or has my sense of humor changed? A few stress tips in the book:

Depress Yourself Early

As soon as you wake up in the morning, turn on a radio news show. News is always bad. What better way to put you in the right frame of mind for the day!

Everyday, the first thing I do is watch CNN. I was always made to believe that staying abreast with what's going on around us is very important. Don't ask me why it's important but most of us believe that. Of course, I always feel terrible when I see people killing people or children being abused, etc.

"But I Love Him/Her"

Constantly choose the wrong partner. Always turn to
the same friend for support when things go wrong.

It's true that people are attracted to men/women they know are totally wrong for them. Of course when things starts to fall apart they always act surprise.

A Sale

Go to a sale on the first day when the crowds are the
biggest. Then buy something you'll never ever wear.

A classic indeed! Women specially will rush to store sales (e.g., Black Friday) on the first day of the sale when they know tons of people will be there and then they buy something they'll never use just because they thought it was "a good deal." I know, I'm guilty of it myself.

I suppose, the author is trying to be facetious but most of what he wrote down is what most of us do on a daily basis.