How is it like to be an Expat?

Expatriates. Abroad. Different Culture. New Language. Away from home. Far from family and/or friends.

These are just some of the issues that expats around the globe are currently experiencing.

I know it because I am an expat myself. Actually, I have been an expat since 2016. Kinda long now and to tell you the truth, my journey has not been so smooth and easy.

The beginning of my expat life was difficult, especially in terms of language barrier and socialization. When I was still in Hong Kong, I found Cantonese and Mandarin so difficult, that I gave up the thought of learning them someday. Going to local restaurants and buying some stuffs in the wet market, dispensaries or some local shops gave me a hard time because of the language barrier.

I tried to buy fresh goods from two Hong Kong wet markets, but talking to the salespersons there was not that easy for me. They seldom spoke English and for me, that’s one hard thing to deal with. I ended buying a bulk, instead of only pieces because of the language barrier. It also happened to me in some dispensaries and supermarkets in Hong Kong. There were a few times that my fellowmen would save me from talking to the locals and explained to me what the salespersons wanted to tell me.

Not only Cantonese and Mandarin were difficult, but also German language, however, unlike the first two languages, I had the guts and time to study the latter. I spent hours at home and in school just to learn it. (Why? Because my husband is a German-speaker! Hahaha)

Aside from the language problem, I also had an issue with socializaton. I longed for moments like bonding with my dearest family, going out with friends, and spending time with colleagues and former students.

Most of the time, I was only with my husband and two Pinoy friends. Very seldom that I socialized with my husbands’ colleagues. Well, drinking and going to bars were not really my cup of tea; so, I declined the invitation. Not to mention my pregnancy which made me vulnerable during those times.

I also experienced some down and difficult moments like homesickness, boredom, and culture shock. Every time I saw photos of my friends’ families on Facebook and other social media, and whenever I saw families at the park or in the mall in Hong Kong, I got sad and felt the dreaded homesickness. Truly, it’s sad and a little boring to be away from home, but the fact that me having my own family gave me hope and happiness as well.

Facing a new set of rules, a different lifestyle, and a totally divergent culture almost made me rather weary and a bit shocked. I could still remember my first two months in Hong Kong and first month in Central Europe. Encountering some people who looked down on me, or scrutinized me just because I’ve got different color and nationality. Waaah, this I hated!

But I did not give up. It’s not because I had no other choices. It’s because I began to realize that I was actually blessed to be in different countries in the span of three years. I started to be positive, embraced the fact that I was not alone, and of course, adapted to changes around me.

Yes, expat life is difficult, but if I start thinking of those people wanting to be in my shoes, I just feel blessed. I have traveled and experienced a lot since 2016–going to Europe twice a year, visiting my family three or four times a year, having some Macau trips, and living in Hong Kong for three years to name a few. Wew! Not bragging though.

Here I am now, enjoying my life as an expat and a stay-at-home wife and mom. Thanks to my very supportive and loving husband. He and our kids serve as my inspiration for defying the challenges and solving the issues in my expat life.

And of course, thank you to Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp and Twitter for connecting me to my loved ones and friends in the Philippines.

Above all, thank You, dearest Lord, for giving me this one great chance of traveling some parts of the world, and for entrusting me this expat life I have now.

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Summer is here, so what’s next?

Been so busy this week that I was not able to post for a while.

Lo siento. Tut mir Leid. Sorry. Patawad.

I’ve got a lot of things to do, so my WordPress blog is not so updated. But hey, I am here now, trying to post some things. Gott sei dank!

Anyway, it’s summer here in Central Europe, and when I say summer, it is literally freakin’ hot. Since Monday, it has been extra hot that I long for cool shower thrice a day.

By the way, this is not my first summer in my husband’s country; in fact, this is my fourth summer here, and I like it very much, minus the idea that there’s no airconditioner and so on.

We have done some fun activities like going to the mountain for a hike, enjoying the cable car with my two cutie bunnies and hubby, eating sumptuous lunch on the mountain, swimming, and the like.

Plus the fact that we celebrated hubby’s birthday. I baked a simple version of black forest cake, cooked schnitzel for the whole family, made kartoffelsalat and halo-halo. Oh, it’s indeed summer!

Simple version of Black forest cake. This is easier to make than the classic black forest cake. Thanks to my mother-in-law for helping me bake this yummy birthday cake for hubby.

Schnitzel mit Kartoffelsalat. This is my husband’s favorite, so I decided to make it before his birthday. A little birthday present for my love indeed.

I am just glad that my husband and his family liked the halo-halo that I made for the very first time here in Europe. Maybe some of you are wondering what’s the halo-halo I have mentioned here. Well, it’s a famous summer dessert in the Philippines, and since my husband likes this very much, I promised to make it on his birthday. Two thumbs up, he said! Thanks to the ingredients that I found and bought from the Asian market in the city.

The famous halo-halo of the Philippines. This is a very refreshing and yummy dessert you should try this summer. Promise!

So, it’s summer. What’s next?

Well, we have plans this weekend, like having mountain breakfast, hiking again, and grilling. I’m already looking forward to doing such activities. But hopefully, it’s not gonna be so, so hot. That we’re gonna beat the heat of European summer. Yey!

Haaay, I’m a little bit sleepy at the moment, so I have to go to bed soon. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Ciao. Bye.

Gute Nacht. Bis Morgen.

-JL

Blotted Soul

“Mistreated..

Misplaced..

Misunderstood..

Mistaken..

Underestimated..”

a part of Pink’s song entitled F***n Perfect

I never thought that I would be mistreated by some people I barely knew. I never thought that I would be misplaced in a place called darkness. I never thought that I would be misunderstood by few people whom I really trusted. Mistaken? Yes, indeed. Underestimated? Unfortunately, yes.

Many painful experiences have blotted my very soul. These awful experiences have made me so hopeless, weak and numb. The catastrophes have weakened my faith. Truly, these catastrophes have rendered me lonely.

Such painful experiences and dilemmas have brought scars into life. The vigor that I have had before and the valor that I have shown were nothing compared to hundreds of failures and disappointments I’ve had.

I was standing alone in my room, begging for a miracle to happen. I was asking myself, “What have I done to deserve such ill fate?”

Truly, scars were shouting and starting to kill me, little by little. I had no one to turn to. Again, no one. Such a sad reality.

Suddenly, one deep voice calmly uttered, “My child, I have never underestimated you nor mistreated you. You were never misplaced in my kingdom. You’re loved.”

I was really shocked and confused. Who uttered those strong words? Who touched my heart?

“I am Your Lord and Savior. Even when you’re blotted with sins, I still love you. Remember, I love you at your darkest,” God said.

I felt ashamed and I cried a lot after hearing Him spoke to me. In the blink of an eye, I realized my mistakes. I was really wrong for being faithless and hopeless.

At once, I knelt down and prayed for forgiveness. Yes, God’s with me and He loved me for whatever sins I’ve committed.

With great faith, I can now say these words:

“I am not mistreated. I am not misplaced. I am not misunderstood. I am not mistaken and I am never underestimated.”

Blotted soul, NO MORE!

By j. Lorenzin

Doner kebab please..

HERE I am again, craving for food in the middle of the night. How unlucky huh!

Hearing the grumbling of my stomach, I decided to stop my Google search for noodles and kebab. Why? Obviously, the photos of yummy noodles like ramen and pho, and of mouthwatering kebabs such as Doner kebab, mixed kebab, and chicken tikka kebab just made me hungry.

I remember……

When I was still in Hongkong, my husband used to order food via the Foodpanda. We had food order almost every week, especially Sunday. One thing we liked to order was the kebab from Ebenezeer’s Kebabs and Pizzeria and from Tasty Bites.

The abovementioned restaurants really delivered us what we liked—- DELICIOUS KEBABS!

To be honest, two of my favorites are the pho and Doner kebab, but let me focus first on the latter. I would dedicate another blog post for Pho. And that’s a promise, ladies and gents!

So, going back to kebabs, I really liked the taste of the Doner kebab of Ebenezeer’s and mixed kebab of Tasty Bites. Whenever my husband asked me which kebab I would take, of course I picked my perfect choice — Doner kebab.

Doner kebab. Photo credits to Ebeneezer’s Kebab and Pizzeria

I missed the distinct taste of the roasted lamb meat in Lebanese pita bread adorned with tasty spices. It’s perfect! (a little exaggeration won’t hurt, right? Haha)

Anway, I couldn’t believe that I almost drooled just the thought of my favorite kebab. Another exaggeration, of course. 😀

Empty stomach could surely make you nuts. Sad but true. Right?

But seriously, I’m hungryyyyyyyyyyyyy!

I wanted to search for Doner kebab near me……….. but hey, it’s almost midnight here in Central Europe and it’s Sunday tomorrow. It would just frustrate me more. No, thanks!

Maybe, oh just maybe, when my dearest husband is here, we can go to a Kebab restaurant nearby. Keeping my fingers crossed again.

Hmmm, eleven more days to go.

Ja… Schnell, Schnell, schnell!

Wait, I have to end this hopeless thought and finish my blog entry before I lose my wits (hahah just kidding). Time to go to bed, peeps.

Gute Nacht. Bis Morgen.

JL

What is Service?

When we finish our tasks, fulfill our responsibilities and we keep our promises, it is SERVICE.

When we do little acts that others don’t think of doing, it is SERVICE.

When we pay attention to someone who is in need, it is SERVICE.

Most of the time, we’re self-centered.
Most of the time, we’re busy with something else.
Most of the time, we’re not aware of others’ needs.
Most of the time, we’re too proud to do humble deeds.

Where is SERVICE?

Service starts when we are selfless.

Service grows when we are aware of the needs of others.

Service comes when we are available to help others.

Service emanates when we are humble to do greater things.

Keep on serving! 🙂

By j. Lorenzin

***Photo created via the Canva App

Acceptance is the key. Just feel the pain, accept what is not yours anymore and let time help you to mend what is broken. – J. Lorenzin ©