Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Category: Working Mama

Not your usual signs made by Lowen Sign Company

It’s been two years since I came home from Kenya, the country where I lived for 14months to work with a local community in the eastern coast of the country. Despite the pre-departure training volunteers undergo before the big move, it was still a big shock arriving in a new country. My senses were assaulted (in a very good way, that is) with everything right at the moment we stepped off the airplane and set our foot on Kenyan soil! At that time I could feel the signs the heaven was sending to me – like those signs at that flag your attention right away- as if to tell me that it it was going to be a helluva experience!

At the airport, on our arrival, we were greeted by the following sign. Sure it’s not a professional looking one like the ones made by the Lowen Sign Company but we had no trouble finding our welcoming committee.

VSO Jitolee, Filipino VSO Volunteers
Here I am with a fellow VSO from the Philippines arriving in Nairobi. We had no trouble spotting the sign.

I was so tired; my head ached and my body was yearning for a warm shower and a nice, soft bed to lie on and have a shut-eye but you still see me smiling here because I felt so relieved to finally plant my feet firmly on the ground after a long haul flight.

We didn’t have time to go sight-seeing in Nairobi because after our orientation and language course we were immediately sent to our respective areas of assignment. I lived on my own in the community with only the very basic Kishwahili language skills as my tool to help me get by. My work as a VSO Volunteer in Kenya has allowed me to travel inside the country. Living abroad has made me notice new things around me, especially signs that are different or not found from where I come from.

There were so many new things around me! Imagine seeing giraffes walking along the roadside? Or the noisy babboons while stopping for a rest during a road trip? Oh, only in Africa!

 Here’s a friendly reminder that I keep in my mind all the time.

 And this I miss so terribly…. the chocolate, okay?

 These are actually great points here but, sadly, not strictly followed, especially the part of using a mobile phone when driving.

When you see this sign, you should be scared… Really scared. Riding on a matatu is not for the faint-hearted.

This is from my fellow volunteers Bara and Chinita. Matatus are vans turned into a public transportation.

amel advertising. Anyone? This is a very common site in the tourist town of Mombasa. We don’t have this in the Philippines.

There are so many stories I have yet to tell (or post here) but I’ve been caught up in my present life, working in an industry that is alien to me and in an environment that I’m not accustomed to. But a mama’s got to do what she has to do, right? Just like a real trouper, I picked up where I left off and slowly, but carefully, move on with my “now”.

My stint in Kenya was only short but the memories are enough to last me my lifetime. Although they are now in a special compartment in my brain, they have a way of getting creep out to me at times. Looking back, I should’ve taken more photos of the different signs there and compile them into one book 🙂

This is a sponsored post, however, all the contents and views presented here are all mine.

Mellow Yellow Monday 037: Granny squares

A lot of my friends are asking me what do I do on my days off. You see, I work in a call-center and I have a graveyard shift. Like vampires, we call-center agents who do the graveyard shifts, spend most of the day sleeping and up and about at night till the earling morning hours of the next day.

I pretty much did that daytime sleeping part when I was new at work. But as time went on, for some reason, I could not sleep that much anymore. I tend to wake up around noon when my son comes home from school. So we’re able to have lunch together. And when he goes to school, I am left at home with practically nothing to do. The choice is to — a) go back to sleep; b) watch television, or c) do a bit of crocheting. I chose letter “c”. It relaxes me and when I feel tired and sleepy, I just go back to bed.

Here are some granny squares I finished two weeks ago. I need more to make a pillow case:

I love the yellow yarn and red combo. They yellow stands out.

I wish I have a variety of designs. I need patterns and the ones I see on the Internet are downloadable for a fee. I was browsing through a lot of crafting sites and I wish I had crochet books, like below,  that I can hold and turn the pages back and forth. I don’t only copy the patterns. I study patterns them and improvise them. I love making extra changes here and there to make the crochet item more “me”, you know what I mean.

[amazon_image id=”1589234723″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” align=”left” ]The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet: *All You Need to Know to Crochet *The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters *Comprehensive Guide … Charts, and Photos for 200 Stitch Patterns[/amazon_image]<br> [amazon_image id=”0470879971″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crochet (Teach Yourself VISUALLY Consumer)[/amazon_image]

Just a random post

After meeting my brother at the NAIA last Saturday, he didn’t stay long as he had another plane to catch. So after he flew out to Roxas City, my husband, the little boy and I went to the Mall of Asia to have something to eat. We were up since 2am so by the time my brother left, all three of us went for lunch at the mall.

Funny how almost every single teenager, boy or girl, I saw at the mall looked like K-pop wannabes. The style of clothes, the make up – the works! Anyways, watching them reminds me of this popular Korean actress. She is so pretty and cosmopolitan. I heard from a Pinoy working there that most of the Korean actresses have undergone cosmetic surgery there. Nothing surprising about that. At least the actresses or actors there admit to doing so, unlike back here in the Philippines where people deny to death having undergone such.

What’s wrong with cosmetic surgery anyway?
Cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever than it has been, say, 10 years ago. If it makes some people happy and they have the means (money), then, why not? Want the perfect aquiline nose? Good. How about a fuller, Angelina Jolie-like lips? Sure. Want to have a great, smooth, wrinkle-free skin? Of course. Through the rapid advances in cosmetic surgery, a lot more people go under the knife to enhance the way they look. If you go visit a cosmetic clinic, you will be surprised at the kind of technology they are using now – either surgical or non-surgical procedure. While aesthetics is the main thing that comes to mind when we talk about cosmetic surgery, a lot of lives have changed because there are also reconstructive surgeries done to people whose bodies have been damaged due to accidents or congenital defects to correct these.

A lot of people ask what are the benefits  – so simple, if I may say so. Cosmetic surgery increases the self confidence and self esteem of a person. They lead normal and happier lives because their worries about how they’d look to others are diminished and they’d feel more secure and feel accepted.

I see nothing wrong with it, honestly. It’s a matter of personal choice.

Ahoy there!

Hello, people!

It’s only been three days since my last blabbering but now I’m at the office lounge  I’m taking the opportunity to check my blog and make a quick update. This is actually already in my drafts post so I’m going to just add a few thoughts here and there. Besides, I am inspired to post because of my new blog makeover… lol.

My son goofing around again. He never stays still!

Sometimes, the thought of blogging more about my son crossed my mind. But this thought gets overpowered by another thought – why write about my son when it would only be interesting to me as his mother? Why, indeed? But my sister has always pointed out to me that my blog is my own personal space in the blogosphere, ergo, I should blog what I want to blog about and don’t let others tell me what to do {or write about}. I can write and post photos and videos of my son. In fact, it is or he is what I should be documenting most, he who is now growing up fast he’ll be a second grader soon. I’ll try do write more about him in my future posts.

In other news… work is still work. Am still coping with the pressure that goes with a tele-center job. There are some perks though which I can say is the highlight of this week. Apparently, my employer gives additional bonus to employees who have outstanding performance at work. This is different from the usual Christmas bonus and mid-year and end-of-the-year bonuses. It is called WINber where employees, within the quarterly periods, who have zero absences, in other words, perfect attendance, gets rewarded in cash and in kind. So during the last quarter, from October to December, I was one of the lucky recipients of the WINber! I was told only the other day and I can’t wait to pick up my prizes! I don’t know yet what my prizes are but whatever they are, it is going to be great! I only wish there’s a computer involved, hahaha, or if not, just any discount rates for a computer, just like what the offers from dell.com at frugaldad.com. I really want to have a new computer this year as my younger sister’s desktop is already six years old and needing replacement.

I can’t believe I am writing fast today. I glanced at the clock and it is still 30mins to go before my shift begins. My father, by the way, is coming to visit us here on the third week of March. My son’s nanny will be returning to her hometown to gather papers she need to enrol here in the city. This means, it’s going to be my father and my son together before my husband comes in April. I can’t wait already.

I better run along now. I hope to post the pictures of my prizes the next time I go online again.

Signs 013: Cut Emissions

A young activist from Mombasa, Kenya holds a sign for the environment. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to helping Mother Earth.

If only government officials all over the world can see and hear the pleas.

This was one of the  activities in 2010 with involvement of the communities that the VSO Coast Volunteers {of which I was a part of} initiated as part of the global grassroots campaign to raise the awareness and push forward the issue on climate change. Environment scientists/researches suggest that the world needs to cut CO2 emissions by 350 ppm (parts per million), or below, to stabilize the Earth’s climate.

It’s a gigantic task but we can all start right in our homes. Let’s find ways to cut our carbon footprints and help save Mother Earth.

Mellow Yellow Monday 024: My first breakfast in Kenya

It’s exactly one year and one month since I wrapped up my assignment as a VSO Volunteer in Kenya and returned to the Philippines. My stay there was a flurry of activities – time flew so fast, too little time to finish the plans. No matter how fast the time flew by, I still remember very clearly the things I did in the time I spent in a farming community in Lukore. Yes, including the first breakfast I had in Kenya!

Two slices of slightly toasted bread with butter, a serving of macaroni with tomato sauce, and a banana, to go with my cup of coffee.

Carbo-loading much? Hahaha.
The newly-arrived volunteers like me were advised to eat as much as we can by the old-timers for it could be the last proper meal we would have after leaving the city to go to our areas of assignments.

Feeling blue and what-nots

Do you know the phrase “as cute as a button”?
Is this supposed to be a compliment, or what?
Please excuse the questions. The weather is really affecting me, making me ask silly questions, lol.

Well, to answer, anyway…
As far as I know, cute is something nice and pretty and charming and it has something to do with small sizes. Buttons, on the other hand, are small, usually round objects that are used to fasten our clothes. In the advertising and promotion world, buttons are actually graphics and badges used to market/promote/advertise something. Companies and establishments everywhere use this kind of buttons as giveaways for their occasions or celebrations. For example, when a store is celebrating anniversary or special sales, buttons are used to promote these events.

If I remember it right, I also ordered to have custom buttons made for me back in college when I ran for the student council and was paid for by my godfather (lucky me). They are such a common and a great tool during election campaigns, not only  in school but in the national elections as well here in the Philippines. Yes, you heard it right. Even in this day of heavy and sophisticated advertising tools, buttons are still the best way to promote a candidate. Thousands of money are put into campaign materials only and, for sure, these pinback buttons are in the list. And why so? It’s because they are cheap and easily produced, and not to mention their effectiveness in terms of marketing/promotion reach.

Aside from campaing use, you can use the buttons as tokens, too. Thehe company where I’m working now is actually giving out buttons to new as well as loyal customers for their continuing patronage to our products and services. As for me, my holiday budget is a bit tight and so I’m thinking of making personalized buttons as presents for friends. What do you think?

I’m a survivor!

Yes, I am so.
But I am getting an addiction. Caffeine addiction.

It’s been two months since I started with my new job. I thought I was not going to last this long because I’ve never been the one to pull an all-nighter even when I was still a student. But, as time goes by, I’m surprised my body is coping well with the graveyard schedule. But I felt like a somnambulist in my early days and weeks at my new workplace, walking aimlessly never fully awake.

Coffee became my new best friend – and I’ve learned to like my coffee strong. It keeps me awake and somehow now I am addicted to it. My sister is afraid that too much caffeine will adversely affect my health. But it’s not like alcohol or drug addiction, I reason out. But still she frets; she says addiction is addiction, period. To avoid that scenario, she suggested I eat apples instead when I feel drowsy while at work. Apples have natural elements that boosts one’s energy. Plus, she says, they are more digestible and gives enough fuel my body needs to get going. Hey, wait a minute. That’s going too far, don’t you think so? I’m only experiencing coffee addiction, and not something serious. And I’m supposed to be the older one, how come my younger sister is telling me all of this? LOL.

Mellow Yellow Monday 016: Some yellow stuff from the past


Here’s something yellow that I found while tidying up my laptop. This picture was taken from long ago when I was facilitating a workshop for farmers as an NGO staff in my hometown of Roxas City.

Colored paper and yellow post-it notes illustrating a farmer’s groups dreams

Random thoughts

I’m glad that my Saturdays and Sundays are days off in my new job. I can be with my son and we can do things together. Gah, how I miss this boy. One of the disadvantages though is that I tend to just sleep the whole weekend because of my weekly evening work schedule. But anyways, we are probably going to hit the mall later today or tomorrow. I must also buy nexium for an officemate who asked me to. I hope I don’t forget.

Weekends are also time for me to catch up on blogging and my social media network circle (chos! haha). I was looking at my Kenya photos again. I could not believe I was there – it was a whirlwind kind of stint! I also saw pictures of Kelly, the VSO Volunteer who I replaced. But before she left, she so kindly showed me around, introducing me to the people as well as giving me the orientation (if you like) about our work there, giving me tips, too. Before her departure, she gave me lots of stuff that she didn’t need anymore on her return trip to Canada. I am so happy to have “inherited” some of her things because that meant I wouldn’t have to purchase these items considering our allowance. Apart from some household items, she left me some over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen, analgesic, etc. which were very helpful for my headaches and menstrual cramps while I was in Kenya.

I’m glad I had these meds with me while on volunteer assignment in Kenya. I am very careful about the kind of meds I take, and the kinds I buy from drug stores. Some drug stores sell fake meds so it is a bit tricky. So “inheriting” these Canada drugs was a blessing.

Mellow Yellow Monday 015: Cheesy birthday cupcakes


My birthday cupcakes – cheesy, yummy cupcakes!

my birthday cupcakes

I quietly celebrated my 3*th birthday with the family – without my husband who is in far away Roxas. But I’m not going to dwell on that as he’s going to be here with me and my son soon enough.

Thank you GOD for another year of adventures, excitement, fun, ano pa?! I hope everything will be a success and our lives will be with ‘everything’ =) Salamat sa mga friendship!

Seriously… I thank the Lord for the continued blessings He is giving me and my family. For the gift of love, happiness, hope, strength, and perseverance, and for a close-knit family that makes life beautiful, despite the circumstances… all these will keep me going and going and going… just like the energizer bunny!

Thanks to all those who remembered and greeted. Appreciated it a lot.

Daghang salamat… Madamo gid nga salamat… Maraming salamat… Asante sana..Okorn charan…THANK YOU guys…..I wish we all have the ‘beri beeri’ BEST things in life! =)

Here’s to another year of making good memories. And, oh…Happy birthday to me!

Mellow Yellow Monday 014: Yellow-striped matatu

My new job is keeping me away from blogging… tsk.. tsk.. tsk. So, being a Monday, I’m in a manic mode as I’m supposed to be in the office in… two hours. I can only post photo memes for now. So this is going to be quick:

This was my ride to work when I was in Kenya a year ago. It is called a matatu. You can find my posts about matatus under the tag "matatu". I promise to update when I can.