An Open Letter to my Busy Husband (14.10.14)

Love,

07.09.14

I know you’re busy right now. I also reckon that you need to finish your work today. Yeah, I understand that you must go out-of-town for business purposes. I know that you’re doing all of these for us, for the future of our child. Yeah, all for the sake of future.

I don’t know if you still remember our 5th wedding anniversary. I don’t know if you want to celebrate it with me. Many questions are rumbling here in my mind but I can’t find any answers to them.

You went to work early, so we didn’t have the chance to talk. I wanted to greet you but your phone’s out of reach. It hurt me knowing that I couldn’t spend this special day with you.

Love, I still want to greet you Happy Anniversary. I also look forward to celebrating it with you, though I don’t know when it will be. I still hope that you will greet me either. I expect those sweet messages and beautiful flowers from you. I dream of celebrating this day with all your surprises.

I’ve realized that we haven’t been to dates lately. We haven’t spent quality time together. We haven’t exchanged sweet messages and gifts like we used to do before. I missed those days, my betterhalf.

You’ve been so busy lately. You’ve been a dedicated and hardworking businessman for those fruitful years. But hey, have you intentionally forgotten that you have a family? A family who has been in need of your attention, love and care?

Few hours have passed. No calls, no texts from you. It saddened me. You’re really busy huh. I was excited, yet that excitement led to disappointment and hurt. I waited for you the whole night; unfortunately, you didn’t show up. I didn’t even see you nor greet you. Well, I decided to do it this morning.

I thought you’d come, but you didn’t.

I was here waiting for you here in our house. I was here with our four-year old son. Oh, maids, whom you’ve been paying much to make our lives comfortable, took care of us. Yeah, we’re home but you’re not with us.

Whole day passed, but you’re not yet home. Surely, you’re so busy with that damn business. You told me before that all those things were for our child. True, I believed you.

14.09.14

I waited and waited. The waiting tormented me because you didn’t show up for one week. Our child kept on asking me why you’re not yet here. What would I tell him? That you’re just busy. Hell no! I knew he wouldn’t understand. I gave him toys, bought him new clothes and took him to amusement parks and malls. I did all those things to cheer him up, to prevent him from asking you again. I also went to spas to relax, to cinemas to unwind and to shopping malls to buy new clothes.

We’re happy but there’s still missing.. YOU.

Finally, you’re here! We were very happy to see and hug you. I thought something happened to you, but I was wrong. You’re just busy. Our son was so eager to be with you again, so was I. I was expecting that you would say ‘sorry’ for not being with us on our anniversary, yet you didn’t. Again, it hurt me, but it’s enough that you’re here with us again.

I missed you, Love. I wish you wouldn’t be away that long.

15.09.14 onwards

The next day, you went to work again. I was there again, waiting for you to come home. Days passed and you became so busy. We seldom saw you at home. We rarely went to malls, restaurants or other places. “I’m busy”, you told us. It’s your usual alibi, but I kept on telling myself that I should understand you because I’m your wife and I love you. I wanted to be an understanding wife. It’s fine. There would still be other days to be with you.

One day, I just woke up being used to all your busy schedules. Yeah, I’m used to those alibis, lies and other things that you told me. I got used to getting up in the morning, seeing no traces of you. I didn’t bother to text or call you anymore. I also didn’t expect that you would be here during dinner. It’ was ok if you’re late at home; it’s fine if we couldn’t be with you on weekends. I got fed up, Love. I stopped expecting things from you. Yes, no more!

13.10.14

I am surprised for realizing that I don’t think of you that much anymore. I don’t yearn for your care and attention anymore. I don’t know, but I become numb in waiting for you. My attention now is just on our child. I give him all my love and care. It’s ok, just focus on your work. I won’t interfere with your business anymore. I won’t ask for any favor from you. I just hope that you will not be surprised if you don’t see us in our house anymore. I hope that our child will still understand and love you despite your shortcomings. I hope that he will still consider you as his father.

You’ve been drowned at work. You’ve been addicted to meetings, conferences and other stuffs. You’ve forgotten that you still have your family. I can’t deny the fact that you still provide for us, the clothes, the house, food and other necessities, but they fail compared to the longing that we need from you. We need you – your presence, love, care and attention. You’ve failed to give them.

Money and other luxuries can never replace true happiness. I sometimes envy my friends, though they are not really rich, but they’re complete and loved. They lack material things, but they are blessed with so much love. That’s the bitter reality within us. We almost have everything, but we’re not loved.

Yes, you’re definitely busy but heck, I needed you. We both needed you. We needed your precious time. Why couldn’t you give that to us? Should I get an appointment with you first? Should I call your secretary for you to talk to me? Or should I be your associate instead? What? Just tell me what to do and I would be willing to do it.

I would do that not for my sake, but for our son’s sake. He needs you so badly. He’s your son after all.

To be honest, I’m tired of waiting.

I’m tired of understanding you.

I’m tired of hoping for nothing.

I’m tired of seeking for your damn time.

Above all, I’m tired of loving you.

Your Wife

(P.S. This is NOT about me and my husband! Gott sei dank. I wrote this on October 14, 2014, when I was still single. I got inspired to write this open letter after reading a certain story about a couple with the same dilemma. I do hope that this will be an eye-opener to couples out there especially to busy ones. God bless your marriage.)

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Filipino Roots

The ever meaningful Philippine Flag. Photo credits to my husband.

As you all know, I am an expat living in Central Europe but I am very proud of my Filipino roots.

I love Philippines. I really do. In fact, I consider it as the best home ever despite all the not-so-good issues that its citizens complain about.

The camaraderie. The hospitality. The love and warmth. The happiness. The Pinoy resiliency. And yes, the Filipino spirit. These make Philippines the best home ever for me.

It’s not that I don’t love Hong Kong and my husband’s country. I love both with all my heart, but as a Filipino, my heart always go with my first home and first lovePHILIPPINES.

I may be away from home, but I think of it every day. No joke. I might be speaking Deutsch most of the time now, but that does not surpass the great value of Tagalog in me.

And if you are to ask me whether I am happy or not in my husband’s country, of course I will say I am HAPPY, but you know, I can’t help but to think of my parents and siblings back of home.

I am definitely happy here with my own family, but this will never change the fact that I also miss Mama, Papa, my sister and my brother and their own families.

Moreover, questions like these occupy my mind…

What is my family doing at the moment”

“Are they ok?”

“How are my friends in there?”

“How’s the education in the Philippines?”

“What happened to my former students?”

“What’s new in my hometown?”

“What are the current events there?”

“When will be my next vacation to my beloved country?”

Oh, how I miss Philippines. Really!

Five months of being away from my home country isn’t easy. More difficult than being away from Hong Kong.

It might take three to four years from now before I get to visit Philippines again. Seems like an eternity huh. But yes, I have to wait. Good thing, I have lots of patience. Anyway, time is just fleeting.

After a few years, I’m back again. How excited I am to see my family and close friends on my next vacation. To spend quality time with them and to see them happy are what I dream of once in a while.

It might not be too soon, but at least, it will happen in the near future. I hope and pray that my family and friends in the Philippines will be (and are) always healthy and safe.

Trusting God is what I do now. In time, my family, friends and I will meet again. That’s for sure.

For now, I just have to be contented to having our daily communication via Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Whatasapp. I am really grateful to these social media platforms. They make it easier for me to connect with my home country and of course, to my dearest family back home.

My Filipino roots will stay with me as long as I live. Wherever I go, whichever language I speak, whatever foreign food I eat or whatever lifestyle I adapt to, these will never change the fact that I am a Filipino, by blood and by heart.

Mahal kita, Pilipinas. Pangako, babalik ako. Kitakits ha.

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.

.

7 Unique Gifts for your Partner on his Birthday

Birthday is definitely a special day for your partner, and giving gifts is certainly a yearly tradition that you should not miss, be it a material thing or a sweet gesture.

To help you with some ideas about the perfect Birthday present for him, I have come up with a short list of seven unique gifts you can give him on his day.

  1. A song or poem dedicated to him.

If your special someone is a hopeless romantic like you and appreciates songs and poems that much, then this unique gift is for him. Write a poem or song about this heroism as a husband, partner or father; or some verses telling him how much he means to you and your family. This will surely melt his heart, girl.

  1. Serenade

Isn’t it romantic to serenade your man to the tune of his favorite song or your theme song as he wakes up in the morning of his birthday? If you have an angelic voice, you can try this unique present for him. He will definitely like this kind of surprise. Try it, and he will set his yes on you, only you.

  1. Spa Treatment

There are days that your betterhalf is stressed-out. Don’t let him get drained especially on his special day because he deserves a break. A spa treatment, could be a couple’s romantic retreat or a solo activity, will help him unload some stress caused by work and other things. In addition to this, facial, pedicure or manicure will also lighten his day. You can check out some great spas through Spafinder.com, Idospa.com, Treatwell.co, letsbookr.com, or bloomme.com.hk. They have hundreds of nice and affordable spas for you to choose from.

  1. Hiking Day

Is your partner a hiker? Then, a hiking day on his birthday is a great activity to do together. You can savor the sweet moments you have with him as you hike higher. When you reach the peak of the hill or mountain, you can eat snacks together, a sort of date indeed. But please, don’t forget to check the weather first so as not to ruin your date on the mountain.

  1. Grand Prix Ticket

Your significant other is a car enthusiast and he likes watching car racing. What else to gift him on his birth date? Yes, a ticket to watch the prominent Grand Prix is 100 % awesome. If you are somewhere in Europe and have enough money to indulge your husband to a very memorable and once-in-a-lifetime Grand Prix experience, you can buy two Rolex British Grand Prix 2019 tickets and have fun at the Silverstone Circuit, Towcester in Great Britain. This is a brilliant yet expensive gift for your partner. Anyway, just be ready for the huge expenses that might incur afterwards.

  1. Vintage Car Rental

He is a vintage car aficionado and he likes driving classic cars. Then, why don’t you try to rent a vintage car as a way of celebration? The thought of you and he riding inside the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro or 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia will surely make his day too special. The sites bookaclassic.com and drivevinty.com are a great help in finding the perfect car for you and your partner on his birthday. Visit their websites now for more details.

  1. Adventure Day

If your husband is an adventure seeker and his bucket list includes skydiving, bungee jumping, paragliding and rafting, why don’t you set up an adventure day for him to enjoy? This is undoubtedly an experience he will remember for a lifetime. But before doing so, make sure that he is as healthy as a horse, so he can do such activities with minimal health risk, and of course, a very good medical insurance on the side.

Whatever gift you plan to give your partner, husband, or betterhalf on his very special day, what matters most is the love shown and the time spent with him. The price, kind and uniqueness of your gifts are only secondary.

All you have to do is shower him with your love and give him your most precious time on his remarkable day and he will, with no doubt, appreciate it fully.

-JL

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

Together Again

Hello, friends and readers!

After a few days of being silent on social media and WordPress, here I am now, making a short update about the happenings in my life.

My husband is finally back in Europe as his work contract in Hongkong has just ended. We are together again. No more long distance. No more timezone problem. No more worries. Thank God!

My parents-and-law and I fetched him from Switzerland because we’re near the Swiss airport. We did not have to wait for him longer because he’s already at the arrival area 10 minutes after we had arrived. Then, exchanges of kisses and hugs. Indeed, a happy wife. 😁

Now, we are a little busy having family bonding because next week will be the start of his work here in Europe. We are now making the most of our time because it is so fleeting, right? The day after tomorrow is already June. OMG!

Anyway, I am definitely happy and thankful that hubby is with us now. I can’t wait to make beautiful moments with him in his home country. More beautiful than what we have had in Hongkong. Hopefully.

That's it. Just a short update. Hope you'll continue supporting my blog despite my not-so-frequent posting.

Have a nice weekend ahead. God bless!

Regards,

JL