Choosing Paths: The right way

When you are still a child, where innocence is still evident. There’s a time where you imagine yourself who you want to be? And why?

It might be influenced by someone you admire; An incident; A thing that you like and curious about? Or due to what you have seen in the movies or hear from other people .

Might be because of the salary, or the honor it can give because of the title, the uniform, or the comfort it can give.

There’s a lot of reason why you are choosing a specific path of your life and choosing a career will be one on your top list.

In my case, I just chose a path that is more convenient and easier for my family.

I’m a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Though this is not the course I want to take up, I chose this path rather than my first love which is Nursing due to the most common reason–lack of money; and as a breadwinner of the family I need to look for a job right away.

From a fresh graduate perspective, this will be hard and I am no exception. Competition is everywhere from the moment you have your diploma to look for a job, sometimes the salary will not be based of what you can do and finished. The question is if you want to have the job or not.

The dilemma of not having work after you graduate is harder than having a work way far from what your degree is.

 

I did find a job, luckily, that can sustain our daily needs and for me to support my brother in his studies but the job I am currently in makes me feel stuck, no progress at all but on the other side I am thankful for what it can give me financially. But there will be a time that I feel burnout because  I feel like the things I’m doing are the same every day. There’s no room for growth not unless you got promoted or transferred to a different department. It’s losing my interest and motivation to go to work. 

Business Processing Outsourcing is a decent job but I want to take it to the next level, where I can improve what I learn and enhance my abilities and this is why the virtual world amazes me, aside from the fact that they are well paid. You are in the comfort of your home, less traffic, less drama in an office setting workplace, and your working at your convenient time. There’s a lot of room for growth and improvement and that excites me.

This is a much more challenging and interesting type of job. It is very complex and will help you discover what’s best in you. There might be a lot to learn and adjustments, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

Transition to a home-based job from corporate is truly a big change in someone’s career but it will never make you any less of a person despite having a degree or whatnot.

In the end,  I learn that I want to choose a path that will make me motivated every time, where my interest is always on its peek to keep me going. Where I will be happier and where the job is not considered a job but a passion.

Change is constant as they say. Make sure to be prepared for these changes and choose the path you want to take. In the end, there is no right path because everything happens for a reason.

By: Gretchen Irene

A beginning of new life : My Motherhood Journey

“[Motherhood is] the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary—it’s an act of infinite optimism.” —Gilda Radner

Motherhood hits me at an early age. I just graduated in college and landed on my first job when I got pregnant with my first child. I felt scared when I saw the two red lines on the pregnancy test. I was scared because I knew that the obligation that comes to this is hard, and we are not ready for that. We are not prepared to become parents. A lot of questions have been rounding up in my mind especially when it comes to mothering a child. Will I be a good mother? But how will I do that if I never experienced the love of a mother at all because I’m a product of a broken home? How can we support the child if both my husband ( which was my boyfriend then) and I didn’t have a decent job to support a family? Having all these questions in mind, we knew for a fact that we have to embrace the situation we are in this time, because as all they say, “A child is a blessing from God”. And true to His word, God provides whenever we need it. Truly, this baby was a blessing to us.

Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

After we learned about the pregnancy, news came up that my husband got hired. He finally landed on his first job as a sailor after a  year of job hunting. Unfortunately for me, I was not regularized by my employer when they found out about my situation. But it doesn’t matter at all, because as Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, a window opens”. And that’s our case when my husband got his first job. My pregnancy brought a lot of positive turns for us. Though it was hard, especially for me, that he will be gone for almost a year because of his work, ( I badly needed his presence this time), we knew that we have to be strong for the baby and the family that we are going to start.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Before my husband left for abroad, we got married in a civil ceremony. We knew that this was the first right thing to do for the baby at that time. Then we rented a small apartment for me to stay temporarily while he’s gone.Then fast forward to the time that he was leaving, everything seems so hard for me because I knew that by the time he’s gone, I’m in this all alone. After I took him to the airport, I felt that I was gonna die of sadness. The sleepless night I cried and cried. That time, there was no email, social media, or anything that could make our communication line easy. The only thing that I can get news from him is through snail mail, which took months before it gets to me. Sometimes, he called me through their satellite phone on the ship, but the charge was so expensive and we cannot afford it. We need to cut-off our expenses because we need to save money for my delivery.

I knew that what I was going through is not healthy for the baby. So I had to compose myself and live every day just like any normal day. So I go on with my monthly check-ups with my OB-Gyne, making sure that the baby is healthy. And because I stayed in our apartment alone, I decided to live with my sister to alleviate my situation.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

Then on the eve of May 14, 2003, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. I’m overwhelmed with joy the moment I see her face. I forgot all the hardships and sacrifices I went through during my pregnancy when I held her in my arms. I knew that this was just the start of my journey of being a mother. With the nature of my husband’s work as a sailor, the responsibilities of both father and mother to our child will all be tasked on me. But it won’t matter at all because I knew that by the guidance of the Lord, everything will be alright.

Now, I am a mother of two. Though I have my flaws, I know that I am doing a great job in raising our kids, these of course with the help of my husband, who is not getting tired of providing us our needs and supporting me in whatever my heart desires.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

 And now that my kids are grown-ups, (I still attend to their needs though), I decided to do something good for myself. Something to uplift my self-worth after years of being a stayed-at-home mom, and I am hoping that it is not too late for me. I enrolled in this Virtual Assistance course online, hoping that I could gain my self-confidence back again. And I’m looking forward to something great that awaits me after this. 

Pauline Adan

Stepping Outside The Comfort Zone: A Journey Of A Freelancer In The Works

By: Jennel Paytone | August 14, 2020 |

Dream Job

Since the first time I found out that there are such things as work from home and freelancing, I’ve always wondered how it would be like to work remotely from the comforts of my very own home. The thought of no longer dealing with hours of heavy traffic to and from the office, the long queues at the elevator lobby, the polluted air of the Metro, the crowded office pantry or restaurants during lunch hours; the endless list of perks that come with it make it too enticing and surreal to not give a try! It’s like a dream that I want to become my reality!

The Great Walls

Just I’ve convinced myself to dive into the world of freelancing. I end up hitting the great walls of “Where do I start?“, “Can I do it?” and “Is it for me?” head on. This happened to me every single time the thought lingered on my mind. When I think of not having a long-term contract with a company, not going to a physical office where all tools that I need to work are provided, not having workmates I can chat with during breaks, not having HR officers who will take care of government-related stuff for me and most of all, not expecting and earning a fixed salary each month, I take a step back in a snap and erase the thought of freelancing off my mind. I couldn’t blame myself. Having a corporate job has been my comfort zone. Aside from somehow giving me a feeling of financial security, I’ve been on the same spot for the past decade and up to that time, I was never brave enough to take a single step forward. I was terrified; afraid of the unknown and frightened of failure and regrets. And in a blink of an eye, I was back to the same old spot where I used to be. Stuck in my spot in the corporate world where I felt comfort but almost never experienced real joy and fulfillment.

The Corporate World As I Saw It

Almost immediately after passing the board exam, I had my first job as an electronics engineer in a Japanese automotive company down south of Metro Manila. Though the salary is a bit low, I had great moments with the company and also had my fair share of opportunities. My team was sent twice to ”The Land of the Rising Sun” for training and we stayed there for a total of 6 months. The people at the office, both Filipino and Japanese, were all warm and felt like family. However, the work load and the micromanagement imposed on employees became too stressful and suffocating for me. I was unhappy and did not feel any motivation to be productive at work. I was also yearning to do something different. It was a very tough decision for me but I had to let go and move on. I tendered my resignation after staying for a good 6 years and 4 months.

I took a break for 4 months before trying to find a job again. I got hired in an American automation solutions company with an office in Ortigas Center. At first, I did not plan to take a role that was similar to my previous job. But when I was looking for job listings, I still sent my applications to related jobs because I don’t know where else I’d fit in. I did not expect that I’d even be shortlisted in the position because some qualifications were not in my resume but to my surprise, I actually got the job after a couple of exams and interviews. From then up to now, I’ve been with the company for almost 3 years. The people in my department are also nice but the bond I had with my former colleagues were notches higher. Now, I only have a very small circle whom I am close with but the rest are almost strangers to me up to date. But I’m actually not really bothered by it. My real worry is the fact that I’ve never felt the motivation to level myself up in terms of work skills and knowledge since I entered the company. Unlike before, I know have a very loose and relaxed work environment. Actually, a little too relaxed that I often feel guilty that I’m being paid without actually ‘working’. This had made me become kind of unmotivated and uninterested in giving my 100% in my tasks.

As the days went by, I began asking myself, “Is this is what I really want my career to be?“. Inside me, I know I want to do something else. I want to do something that would make me want to give my best foot forward at all times. My dilemma is I just don’t know when or how do I start. And so, I moved on as usual.

Along Came COVID-19

March 16, 2020 was one of the most bizarre Mondays I’ve had in my 31 years of existence. It was the first day that the country was officially placed under enhanced community quarantine due to the alarming number of individuals infected by the deadly corona virus. And I thought Mondays can’t get any worse! Our department, which never had the plan to offer a work from home schedule due dependency in laboratory equipment, was forced to have us work remotely. The managers let us take our desktop computers home. Yes, you read it right, some of us took home even their monitors along with the CPU. Luckily, we have recently upgraded to those tiny CPU units which are almost the size of a huge hand and weighs way less compared to the common bulky CPUs. And just before the chaotic lock-down began, I was able to leave the office and went to our home in Bulacan safely.

A Glimpse Of The Dream

Thanks to my ever reliable husband, my remote work set-up was in full operation the next day. The moment I turned on my computer, I thought I was having a glimpse of how it is like to work freelance (or at least the part of working while staying home). And inside my mind I was like, “Hey, this is not bad at all!“. That day, I was able to squeeze in some time for my little one during my breaks (and even on my work hours!). I got to eat my meals with my family. I did not have to worry about the weather or heavy traffic. I got to enjoy fresh air since I live in the province. It was just the first day and everything just felt surreal! Ironically, the only piece that doesn’t belong to the puzzle is the work that I’m doing. There’s just no spark left between me and my job and I want to call it quits, badly.

Walking On Thin Ice

Sooner than later, the trial period of the dream almost came to an and when my managers started to ask me to return to the office amid the pandemic. I understand the nature of my job but I also know that I have tasks that I could still accomplish while working from home. So, I had to request them to allow me to continue working remotely. I felt scared of my family’s safety more than mine. I have a months old baby and a senior citizen mom at home and I don’t want to risk their safety. The number of cases in Metro Manila is doubling in an alarming succession and that worries me a lot. However, I know I could only ask for their consideration for so long. Soon, I’ll have to return to the office even without any vaccine to protect myself and family. Another huge struggle I have to face is the fact that I no longer have passion for the job I’ll be risking my life for. I felt like I was walking on thin ice that could collapse anytime. I also felt like I was trapped inside a small box. That time I asked myself, “How long am I willing to settle on this uncertainty?“. That was the moment when I thought to myself that it is the right time to take the leap of faith.

Pursuing The Dream : Taking The First Step

I revisited the freelancing-related Facebook groups I am a member of and saw that I am part of FHMoms group. Another aspiring freelancer mom friend told me about it a few months back and I was accepted when I tried to join (Thank you, FHMoms Admin!). But at that time, I never had the chance to be really engaged in the group due to my busy schedule. I only got to see and read posts by fellow moms on my feed every now and then. I managed to watch some of the free webinars before bedtime. I completed the free webinars “How To Start Working From Home” by Mommy MK Bertulfo, “Introduction to Social Media Management” by Mommy Janelle Swing and “Introduction to General Virtual Assistance” by Mommy Christine Barraquio. I chose to watch these three since I thought the topics cover what interests me. I can see myself being a virtual assistant doing social media management because I am currently managing the Facebook page of a small business my husband and I started during the quarantine period. The videos were long but very informative! After completing the three webinars, I was finally able to completely convince myself to enroll on one of their online courses. I consulted my husband about it and he was very supportive of my choice as always. So, I signed up the enrollment form and I chose to be a part of the General Virtual Assistance class for August 2020.

Before the classes began, I took the time to appreciate the success stories of the admins and members of the group. The women of FHMoms inspired me to create a better me; to find in myself what I really want to do with my career. I’m grateful that I was able to stumble upon the FHMoms community. The group gave me the courage to take one step outside my shell. Their stories of failure and success made me realize that I have the power to take control of my career. And the best part is that they have the means to help me build my confidence to enter the world of freelancing and eventually leave my comfort zone! I was so exhilarated to learn and discover new skills and eventually get paid for something that I actually enjoyed doing!

Right now, I’m on to a fresh start. The beginning of something that I know I’m not going to regret. I’m now in full throttle in pursuing what I am passionate for and of course, earn from it as well. I know that it’s not a walk in a park and I am still miles away from reaching my goal. But at least I know and feel that I’m following the right path. I’m finally walking outside my comfort zone, one step at a time.

Balancing Work and Family Responsibilities in the “New Normal”

What is Work-Life Balance?

It refers to the decision, commitment and actions that portray the amount of time spent on work and one’s or family’s personal life.

Responsibility for both work and family is crucial. Moreover, balance is necessary for working diligently and productively. Thus, all of us make an effort to achieve the best work-life balance. We were dealing with the load at work and role at home while finding ways to relax and ease our stress.

Today, because of quarantine/isolation required due to pandemic the boundaries between work and family become unclear. These blurring boundaries can make a substantial challenge for our work-life balance.

What can we do? How can we balance both our work and life at home?

Here are some insights that can help you to create a work-life balance while working at home:

Flexible schedule in Work Arrangements

Flexibility in the schedule is a new working arrangement between employer and employee. Moreover, they need to adapt to employees’ exceptional needs. Thus, it should be done without bias and expectations.

Some organizations allow employees to set their schedules, so they can work on the time when they are most productive. Like Unsplash, CEO Mikael Cho explains that some employees are at their mental peak during night hours while others thrive in the early morning.

 “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind”

– Bruce Lee

Set Priorities

Employer and Employee need to discuss and decide the priorities clear and concise. They need to be open and honest with one another so that they can understand their expectations and needs.

The main point in this is to allot most of the time on meaningful and important things. Make a list and categorize it so that you know where you will start.

 “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”

– Stephen Covey

Scheduling

Set working hours. It is easy to lose track of time when working from home because of the environment and days are looking the same.

Take Breaks. Step away from your work while taking your break. Go for a walk, watch tv, listen to music, or do things that can relax and ease your stress.

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you”

– Jim Rohn

Be efficient

Create an Environment that can help facilitate efficiency by creating and maintaining specific workplace at home. Allot a space or pick a room to become your workstation.

Avoid multitasking, if you juggle multiple things at once you may not accomplish any task. Don’t do household chores while you are working, often it is more distracting than helpful.

“Efficiency and focus are the key to success”

– Robert Crais

Know when to unplug

Once you are finished with your duty, turn off your computer, tidy up and leave your workspace. With this, you can change from work mode to home mode.

Take control of your technology. Know when you will be connected or when you will unplug, don’t just answer emails or calls when your working hour is finished. It is your choice to be available or not.

“At the end of the day, give up your worries and give thanks for the journey”

– Ben Vereen

Take care of yourself and stay healthy at home

Take care of yourself, just like you are doing in your work load. Eat a Healthy Diet, Exercise, pamper yourself, keep learning and don’t be too hard on yourself.

“Don’t forget to love yourself”

– Soren Kierkegaard

Work-life balance is more challenging now. Change is here, we need to embrace it and move forward. Be patient as you learn to adjust to a new situation. We must figure out how to balance working from home, doing household duties, spending quality time with our family and to oneself.

By: Matet

Sources: https://digital.com/how-to-become-an-entrepreneur/work-life-balance/; https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-achieve-work-life-balance/

A PARADISE INDEED: BORACAY

A small island in the central Philippines, known for its resorts and beaches “ Boracay”. Featuring White Beach backed by palm trees, bars, and restaurants on the west coast. Strong winds make Bulabog Beach a hub for water sports on the east. Mount Luho offers panoramic views over the island.

Famous for being one of the world’s top destinations for relaxation and tourism. And also was awarded as the 2012 Best Island in the World by the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure.

When you feel exhausted and tired of the workload!  

And need time to unwind and refresh after being away from home for quite a while. A short vacation will reset and refresh our well-being.  After having quality time with my family and catching up with them after years of being OFW. We decided to take two days and a night stay in Boracay with my friend, whom luckily hometown is in Aklan, take a short break away from the busy life.

Its been my second time in Boracay, but I appreciated it compares to the first visit. I must say that not all FIRST IMPRESSION LAST! My second visit became memories that engraved in my mind. Its showcase it real beauty that gone because of the busy business side.  Since we visited it after the rehabilitation made by the government, I complimented them for the outcome.

I’m grateful to have a friend who shares with the same passion as mine. We’ve been in a few places and usually manage to spend realistically. At this time, we visited places that I never been to before. Let me take you to the scenes that captured my eyes.

Its located in station 1, West Cove offered a fascinating view of the sea. Formerly with some restaurant, but due to rehabilitation, it was closed. Its indulge a relaxing vibe where you can see the boat, the tourist enjoying the boat hopping, and the fresh sea breeze that makes you relax.

WEST COVE

Puka Shell Beach has a white-sand beach with clear water, souvenir & food vendors, rental chairs & a laid-back vibe. I love being in a quiet place where I can rethink and ease my mind. I love the white sands, the clear water, and the waves that calming you from within.

Puka Shell Beach

Mount Luho featuring an observation deck with sweeping views of the island & ocean. Away from the seashore part where you can find this overlooking view. Amazed by nature can offer, we can take a deep breath and release our worries.

Mount Luho

Photo shooting is a must. Capturing the lifetime memories we spent together. Enjoying the calm and clean water. We also tried to spent nightlife along with the band and strolling along the white sand beaches. Visiting stores and, of course, the most love of all-food trip. Buying some we called “pasalubong” should not forget. We usually love to bring souvenirs to a place we been to. 

This is why this place has been loved by tourists all over the world because of its beauty, the locals, the food, the memories, and the joy they bring to them. To escape for a while in this hectic everyday life. It’s been full during the summer where you’ll see different kinds of nationalities, enjoying the view, trying different foods, buying souvenirs, taking photos and videos, and just relaxing.

With all those captivating views for sure, all our worries and stress lighten for a while. For all the struggles, obstacles, and hard work being an OFW, spending my holidays in that PARADISE makes me regain my strength, recharge my body, and clear my mind. And ready to face the reality of leaving my family for a while.

Nature, for me, is like a natural medicine that we can recharge and be heal.

By: Marites L. Oclarit

Unexpected blessing: The most challenging part of my life

Motherhood  It’s a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what is the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” – Donna Ball

Motherhood is a fulfilling duty and the most important of all professions.

Being a mother is a lifelong responsibility.  This is the part of a woman’s life that changes a lot, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Here you will learn to love and take care of the life you conceive without thinking of anything in return.

At the age of twenty-eight, I’m engaged to be married and I just found out that I was pregnant with my first child. Either of those life events is huge on its own, so navigating both at the same time can be tricky but definitely doable. Being pregnant may mean your financial circumstances and priorities may have changed, but it also might mean they haven’t. There’s no hard and fast guide to what to do, its all about working out what’s right for you, and your family

“The children we bring into the world are a small replica of ourselves and our husband; The pride and joy of grandfathers and grandmothers. We dream of being mothers, and for most of us that dreams are realized naturally. For this is the miracle of life”. – Azelene Williams

June 23, 2018, When we got married.

Marriage is full of many ups and downs, adventures, and incredible memories with the person you love. Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for; companionship, intimacy, and friendship. A couple must learn the art and form of the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising keeping the box full. 

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.

When I turn forty weeks pregnant this is the time that my Ob-gyne advises me to undergo a pelvimetry x-ray because my baby is still not in the right position.

There are a lot of questions running in my mind.

Who can be with me at birth? 

What if I would undergo a Cesarean Section?

 Does that hurt? 

Will I see my baby immediately after giving birth? 

When can I nurse my baby?

Giving birth is a life and death situation for all mommies. You will risk your own life just to bring a new life.” – Unknown

I’m a C-Section mom, That does not make me any less of a mom. It just means I went through surgery to save mine and my baby’s life. The birthing plan does not define who we are as a mother. The way we raise and our children do. And the most memorable time of my life, Exactly 9:06 in the morning, December 5, 2018, when I gave birth to my son. 

Babies are the most priceless gift from God, and as a parent, I am proud and lucky to have one.

I loved you from the very start. 

You stole my breath, embraced my heart. 

Our life together has just begun. 

You’re part of me, my little one.

“Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child, but when you’ve gained from having one.” – unknown

Written by: Abigail Officiar

A Day in Siquijor

It was an early start for all of us on the day of our Siquijor trip. We wanted to board the first scheduled fast craft from Dumaguete port so that we could see all the sights on our list. We were all excited because, for the majority of us, it was our first trip to Siquijor. By the way, I travelled with my husband and our two kids and with my husband’s siblings and their respective families as well. So, imagine the chaos and the noise, and the laughter and the tears that went with this trip.

The 5 AM scheduled boat ride was cancelled by the operator for reasons we didn’t know. We then settled for the second trip for that day, however, we got left behind! With patience running thin and children typically asking when we would get to Siquijor, we finally boarded our boat at 8 AM!

Our first impression of Siquijor wasn’t so encouraging courtesy of rough sea travel. The children weren’t feeling so well and were a little bit scared as we began our tour. I remembered a nephew asking if there was any other way of travelling back to Dumaguete without the sea ride. Although, I must say, it was all forgotten during our sight-seeing activities. 

From Lazi port, we passed by the oldest church in Siquijor known as the Lazi Church. It has signage at the front of the church warmly welcoming guests at Siquijor.

To the beach, we went next! Since it was just a day trip, there was no time for us to have a swim at Paliton Beach in San Juan. The clear blue waters and the unspoiled almost-white sand with the majestic coconut trees were a perfect background though for all the social media posts after the trip.

We had a tasty lunch at Balete Bistro. It was near the famous 400-year-old  Balete tree where visitors can have their feet nibbled on by the fishes. It was a tingly experience and we were all amazed by it.

Siquijor or Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) is well-known for its mysterious other-world of sorcery, black magic, and witchcraft. This was evident in their souvenir shops where several potions were being sold and at Hapitanan Cafe, where one could take on a broomstick challenge. Of course, we gamely tried the challenge and had posterity shots taken as “witches” on a broomstick flying, albeit, in the middle of the day under the full blast of the sun!

Our trip was capped off at the Larena Triad Coffee Shop. It is a coffee shop/restaurant at the top of the hills with a spectacular view of Siquijor and its surrounding seas.

Five spots for a one-day visit! Oh, wow! This Siquijor trip gave me new experiences and as always, a sense of being proud and in awe of the beauty of nature and our country, the Philippines. It gives warmth to my heart looking at the photos we had and the memories of good-time and laughter we shared on that tour. Just don’t forget to bring with you also loads of patience and humor, it helps when things don’t go according to plan. But, hey, it’s part of the adventure and fun. And I’m definitely looking forward to more excitement and travels just like this! 

by: Aimee Pearl A. Lamayo

My Arduous Strive for Motherhood

I used to believe that the life cycle of a woman is finishing school, getting a job, getting married, giving birth, and taking care of children. Very simple, and straight to the point. However, adulthood taught me that life doesn’t follow any rules. And I learned it with all the bumps, u-turns and mostly downs, rather than ups, especially in fulfilling my dream of being a mother.

I got married at the age of 27, in 2011. As the ideal newly married, we wanted to conceive our first child right away. My husband who was working in Saudi Arabia was lucky enough to be granted a six-month vacation in the Philippines, enough for him to find a new job and for us to get pregnant. However, he was not able to find a new job that would likely match his salary in Saudi, and he decided to go back to his work. And I was left in the Philippines.

Seven months later, I was endorsed by my company to work in Singapore. I grabbed the opportunity as it was my dream to live and work in Singapore and so that my husband can join me and raise a family together. In December 2012, my husband resigned from his job in Saudi and joined with me. We were very hopeful that finally, we will be working in the same country. However, the Singapore government got stricter with the number of foreigners working in their country. My husband had a hard time securing a job, and he needed to exit and come back again. This has put a financial burden to us. We talked and decided that maybe, Singapore is not for us. Few resumes later, he was hired in a company in the United Arab Emirates.

January 2014, I came to the UAE to be with him and to finally continue what we had been hoping for, be together and raise a family. End of January, I was in so much joy because we found out that we were pregnant! But our excitement turned to tears when my obstetrician told us that I am having ectopic pregnancy. There was no way but to abort as my baby will not survive and my life is also in danger if my pregnancy will continue. Since I didn’t have health insurance in UAE yet, I decided to travel back to the Philippines.

Losing my baby was painful for me. My left fallopian tube was also removed giving me a lesser chance of conceiving. I went back working with my previous company in the Philippines for me not to dwell on my loss. May 2015, I moved again to UAE with my husband, hoping that this time, the universe will be on our side. But luck was still elusive as 3 months after getting a job, I was diagnosed with graves disease, causing me to have hyperthyroidism. I felt devastated. I get depressed. My husband was so supportive he never said anything that would discourage me. We learned that conceiving is not a good idea until my blood test results are at the normal state. We seek second, third, and fourth opinions, and they say the same thing, no to conceiving yet, but having optimum blood state will take longer. The only option was, to have a total thyroidectomy. My thyroid will be removed, and I have to live everyday taking a synthetic hormone for the rest of my life.

In April 2016, my surgery only took 1.5 hours. Yes, we took the fastest route, total thyroidectomy. Taking a small pill to replace my thyroid hormone every morning for the rest of my life seems an easy way. But what I was not prepared for was getting the correct dosage of the pill isn’t as easy as taking 1000 mg of pain reliever. It took us a whole year to finally figure out the right amount of pill that will make my blood test on its normal state.

The whole ordeal made me realize that I really have to take care of my health. If I’m not healthy, how would I be able to take care of my family? For the next six months, I dedicated myself to self care that my body has been longing for – less stress, right amount of exercise and a total control on my food intake.

And in June 2018, I gave birth to our precious daughter. It took us seven crazy years before we were blessed with what we had prayed for. It put me and my husband’s relationship and faith into a test, but everything taught us there’s no more obstacle that we cannot overcome. Maybe the universe tricked us to take the roller coaster ride with so many loops but hanging on lead us to our destination — our hearts’ desire.

by Hazel Recio

Mom of Two

Don’t look at it like it’s forever

It will get easier tomorrow, or maybe next week, next month it will get easier. 

I always tell that to myself,  things will change.

Life with my toddler and my second son on the way felt exhausting. At nine months pregnant, I worried about how I was going to manage it all with two kids when keeping up with life with just one child felt so challenging. With no nanny and family around us.

There are a lot of questions running in my mind, plus a lot of emotions, happiness, worries, fears. How can I taking care of them, all of the household chores? Can I do it by myself?

When my partner leaves for work. I need to drop off and picks up my daughter at school with my baby boy with me. While my daughter is in school and my baby boy still sleeping it’s the time I’m doing my household chores very quickly. I know no one will do it and I don’t have a choice so I just enjoy every moment, every moment of a sleepless night, changing countless diapers, reading books, cleaning endless messes, making up silly songs to entertain, cooking food constantly, managing the family’s time, finances, and home. Researching different ways of teaching and learning. 

Washing clothes, folding clothes. Sweeping floors. Loading up strollers and diaper bags. 

Washing baby bottles, locating lost snacks. Paying bills on time and a lot more. I realized being a stay at home mom is the best job in the world and the toughest job at the same time , and the best part is when they look and just smile or stares because they know you are their person. Like nobody else is as important as you. They know that you have them like nobody else ever will. They know that they are protected. I  always said to my self that I am lucky because I have an opportunity to stay at home with my kids to look after them and I always cherish every moment with my kids because I know I will never have the day with them again, and tomorrow they will be a little bit older than they are today. I know that one day they will have their world, they will be all grown up and have their friends and things to do. 

And thank God, by his guide and protection. We made it this far. My kids are both in grade school. And it’s getting easier now, although I am still hands on to them especially in their school activities. And at the same time, I have some me-time now, I can do a short workout and managing a small business.

Thank you to my partner for being a responsible daddy to our kids, he always reminds me of my worth. When he arrives from work, he always asks about my day. We switch off entertaining the kids, and we talk about our workdays. He’s always interested in hearing about the silly things our daughter said and the new toys our son likes, and he praises me for the work I did being a mom.

So to all the moms out there who go to bed not knowing how they will get up and do it all again the next day: 

We are allowed to not be okay.

We are allowed to ask for help. 

We don’t need to do this alone.

We are good enough.

The worrying doesn’t disappear—but what you worry about does.

Always remember that

We are an extraordinary person, which makes us an extraordinary mother. 

We are patient. We are loving. We exude calm and compassion. 

I know there will be difficult days that will test us, and knowing how beautifully we mother our babies.

We will come out winning. 

So, Taiwan?

Taipei 101

It’s 5 a.m., and we’re already queued up in the check-in area at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 for our 7 a.m. flight to Taiwan. We traveled in a group and it was around November, so the airport is expected to be crowded. I can still remember one of our companions, he bought another ticket because his name was misspelled and changes can’t be made at that time. Other than that, everything went smoothly from checking in to immigration and boarding. Flying time from Manila to Taiwan only takes less than 2 hours, so by 9 a.m., we’re already at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1. We were at the airport for about an hour and a half because the queue from immigration to baggage counter and pocket WiFi is quite long. Probably because October to April is the best time to visit Taiwan, so there’s a lot of tourists this time of the year. The weather at that time is cool, the temperature is around 18°C to 26°C.

DAY 1

Too cute to eat!

So after getting our luggage, we use the subway to go to Ximen MRT Station where we had our lunch. We were all so hungry so we decided to have our lunch at a buffet restaurant which I didn’t get the name, sorry! After eating, we just walked to the Diary of the Ximen Hotel in Zhonghua. We checked in around 2:30 p.m. and only rested for 30 minutes because my sister wants to go to Pingxi District. They say the average time travel from Zhonghua to Pingxi is 2 hours to 2 hours and a half so we had to ride an Uber because we need to go back early for a restaurant booking. Shifen Old Street in Pingxi District is alive at night. The street ambiance is like in Japan. Though it’s cold that night, it feels warm and homey. Do you know their tradition where you release a lantern in the sky? We get to do it here.

Releasing our wishes using a lantern. Hopefully they come true.

With a colorful paper lantern that holds our wishes, we released it in the sky in the middle of an old railway. I wonder what will happen when it lands so I asked one of the locals where does it land and what happens if it lands in the ocean? He said no need to worry because there are people in charge and assigned to get it once it lands so they won’t pollute the water and avoid any accidents. How mindful of them. People here are approachable and friendly. They’ll try to help you if you ask them, so don’t hesitate if you need help when you go to Taiwan. I walked around the area with my nephews and sister. We bought a few snacks and souvenirs and then head back to Ximending for dinner. Oh, in case you’re wondering lanterns costs around NT$150 to NT$200.

One of the sandwiches offered in Modern Toilet.

We had our dinner in a toilet-themed restaurant called Modern Toilet in Xining South Road, Wanhua. It’s just around Ximending too. The place is nice and Instagram worthy I guess. Service is great, the staffs are approachable and the food is good too but a bit pricey if you’ll ask me. After eating we only looked around the place to see what’s what then went back to the hotel.

Day 2

Yehliu, a beautiful and peaceful place.

On our second day in Taiwan, we had a breakfast buffet in the hotel. Then we went to Yehliu Geopark & Baoan Temple in Wanli District, New Taipei. Let me tell you, this is my favorite part when we travel to Taiwan. The cool and fresh air in your face, the sound of the waves crashing in the rocks, the calm and clean nature you are in; it makes my heart at ease. The place is known for its rock formations. Some of the best known are the “Queen’s Head”, “Fairy Shoe”, “Beehive”, “Sea Candle” and “Ginger Rocks”. The rock formations are named based on their shapes. We only stayed there for a couple of hours before we get back to the city to explore Peace Park, National Taiwan Museum, and Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Zhongzheng District. We only looked around and enjoy the peace while walking although the weather that day is a bit hot. Around 5 p.m., we decided to climb the famous Elephant Mountain also known as Xiangshan. There are 600 steps in total to reach the top. Some steps are too wide or too small. Sometimes it’s too high so your steps should be big.

View from the Elephant Mountain.

We took us about 30 minutes to reach the top. I almost gave up but luckily I didn’t because the view is so worth the sweats and aching thighs! Haha. I even saw old people trying to climb the top. Those with a cane, it made me go ‘wow’ they are still strong to do this. To experience something beautiful. We stayed there until the sunsets. One of the best days of my life.

That night we tried the street foods in Ximending Night Market. We were planning to visit Tong-Hua Night Market and Rahoe Night Market but our energy level has reached its peak so we settled for the nearest one. I like the ice cream burrito with shaved peanut and the large chicken at The Hot-Star store. They are famous around the area. Long lines and people are wanting to have a taste. The street has a lot of performers from magics to dances and acting. It’s a bit rowdy at night so kids might not enjoy it. Around 10 p.m. we went home and enjoyed milk teas and a few snacks that are famous in the city.

Day 3

Cable car from Maokong Station

Last day to tour around Taiwan. Early in the morning, we went to Maokong Gondola to ride a cable car to see Taipei City from above. Sadly, it was drizzling so it’s a bit foggy that day. We made a stop in Taipei Zoo. The place is quite big but they only got a few animals to see. I think they are famous for the panda show but we didn’t get to see it because we have an appointment that day. So by 1 p.m., we went to NNCU Elementary School in Wenshan District. Here, my nephews got to experience being a student in Taiwan. They bond with Taiwanese students, play a musical instrument, and tries answering some questionnaires in a paper.

Tallest buildings in the world.

After that, we went to Taipei 101 in Xinyi District. It’s one of the tallest buildings in the world and has the fastest elevator. From the 5th floor, it will only take you 37 seconds to be on the 89th floor if you ride the elevator. But there’s a ticket if you want to try it, and you have to queue up because they only take let people per batch. They said the building can withstand earthquakes because of its structures. The view from the top is nice, the city lights are colorful. We had our dinner at Mos Burger back in Zhongzheng District. After eating we, bought some more souvenirs and sweets for our family back in the Philippines. And because we have an early flight the next day, we had to head back to the hotel early because we have kids with us and we need to sort out our stuff.

So, Taiwan?

Taiwan 2019

My stay in Taiwan was a bit short, so I will come back. People are friendly and always willing to help so I felt safe even though I’m in a foreign country. Not everyone can speak English so some of them use phones to translate and communicate with you. There’s a lot of greens(trees) even in the city so the air is fresh. Stores open around 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. I believe. At night, the Night Markets are a bit crowded and a lot of stores are busy. The tourists’ spots are a bit far from one another, so you have to plan which places are you gonna visit; in our case, we didn’t. Their food selection is nice too, well what do I expect? Asian cuisine is great. You should try their bubble tea if you’re a fan of milk tea, you can find it anywhere you go in the country. And Xiao Long Bao too is a must-try. When I come back, I want to try and climb Rehai Cliff. Maybe I’ll go with my friends. They said only a few locals know this rock climbing spot in Beitou Hot Spring Village and it’s not recommended to go on your own so there’s an option for a tourist guide. I also want to try paragliding in Fenglin or Luye plateau. The adrenaline, can’t wait! These two are already in my to-do list when I come back. I also didn’t get to visit their beaches and other tourist spots because most of them are already close at 5 p.m. And I want to try more food, preferably home-cooked and not in a restaurant to experience the traditional ones. I didn’t get to try a lot of traditional foods because we’re always eating in a Hot pot or Shabu-shabu restaurants, which is the first thing you should do when it’s your first time in Taiwan according to some travelers. I almost forgot the hot springs, maybe I’ll try it too. Though I prefer the beaches and mountains. All in all, my first time in Taiwan wasn’t bad at all but I’m not satisfied so I’ll surely come back for more. So, see you again Taiwan!

Written by Romelyn S. San jose

p.s. If you like this blog, please check out another one which is about depression. You’ll surely love it promise!

https://littenanna.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/and-then-theres-depression/