Life: relaxing weekend

First let me show you our sleeping setting. One adult mattress couples with a toddler mattress. Obviously I get the small one which means my legs are on the air. Well…. I’d say better than sleeping in an air mattress

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Girls’ favorite playground in town is Kidzoona, a japanese playground with large space, assorted toys for all ages, a mini playground, a many many stations for pretend play. Sofia loves serving ice cream to mama

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the little one just tag alone

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also serving yummy cakes

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Sofia loves doing craft and keeps me bringing home materials for decorating my office

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my absolute favorite one is this piece of art that took her two art class, that’s 4 hours! Amazing. Even the teacher was impressed that a 5 years old has the patience and focus to do all these small details.

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Last Friday Tony and I went for a date night. We wanted to go to watch a movie but it was sold out when we arrived so change of plan. WE went to The Spa instead

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for an hour of couple massage in a private suite. SWEET

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the ambiance is relaxing, we both didn’t want to move after we were done. 😉

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Sunday morning the family had breakfast at Pancake House… a sugar comma place. I accompanied them but preferred to have my tofu veggie scramble with toast

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after packing luggage for our upcoming trip to Shanghai, Sofia and I went for a mani/pedi, with the view to the park. Manila has very little green space, but we’re lucky to have many around us.

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she’s my biggest fan and loves making me company

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such a sweet girl

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so relaxing

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an hour later…. all done

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once home I prepared lunch for the family, put the girls for nap, and had my lunch at 2pm. I had a bowl with black rice, roasted veggies, baked bean and german sour cabbage.

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TMI. Since I arrived, I’ve been severely constipated and bloated. I guess my body hasn’t found the routine yet, so I’ve been trying to eat very clean… although not seem to help much. I went to the doctor twice this week and took X-ray. The first doc suggested to use a strong laxative to clean it out as there’s a lot of build-up. The second doctor suggest to take Resolor, a special medicine for women with IBS-C and another power to get things moving in a less invasive way. I’m trying the second way. Let’s see how it goes.

After naps, we went to a neighborhood halloween party. Our building has all sort of decoration already including this gigantic spider

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the party had magician shows, a lot of snacks and candies, and face painting

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my little spider kept snacking on popcorns

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what a fun event

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once home no one really had appetite for dinner, so I made myself my comfort food: kabocha and corn. 🙂

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that wrapped up a nice relaxing weekend

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Travel: Kuala Lumpur

My second trip in East Asia since our arrival was Kuala Lumpur. First was Bali, that will be a long post. I went to KL by myself for 2 days only for work. Since it was my first time with Tony with both girls, I kept it short.

The flight from Manila was only 3.5 hrs. I arrived KL in the evening, with this amazing view of the sunset and the shore

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probably the thing that I was most looking forward was a real bed. I’ve been sleeping on the floor in a toddler mattress for over a month and the idea of a real bed with pillow and everything was so exciting!

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after check-in it was past 8pm but I still wanted to see the city a bit as I knew I might not have time later. I stayed in Shangri-La, it was only 10 min walk to the famous Petronas tower

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the buildings were stunning, especially with the night light. Inside was a big shopping mall. Oh yes… welcome to Asia, shopping mall everywhere!

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then I head back to the hotel to have my date with the bed. 😉

The next day I woke up again at 5:30am but felt refreshed. First stop, the amazing gym

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after a quick shower, I got 20 min for breakfast, which was too short. It was me 10 min to go around the many stations to get food

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some local cuisine which after I opened it, it looked gross to me so I didn’t try them

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sea scallop congee from the chinese station

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pho soup

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omelette, a must!

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some fruits and toast

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obviously I was well fed to start a long day at work

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the room name was funny

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the office building was located at the Central Bank of Malaysia, a modern design building that looked more like corporate building and public institution

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we left the building around 6pm when it was dark already. After a quick stop at the hotel and change we head out for some city exploring and dinner hunting

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really nice malls, EVERYWHERE

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I suggested we go to local food place rather than international fancy restaurants. My coworkers happily agreed. We walked around for 15 min trying to follow google map suggested route, it was not easy as the streets are not straights and confusing. But then we found the Alor street, a local street food center. We went to the most popular place with an open cuisine

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sitting both inside and on the street

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we ordered assorted seafood vegetable and rice dishes. Fortunately my coworkers had good appetite to finish all these food

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then we walked around a bit to explore more options

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it was a fun adventure and tasty food, very cheap too. The next day we had work in the afternoon and took an evening flight. Due to Manila traffic at 10pm, I got home past 11:30pm. My dear husband was waiting for me with a gigantic hug. I guess other than missing me, he was relieved I was home. 🙂

Tony managed well the girls with the help with the nannys. Although I enjoyed the solo time, I also missed them a lot. Luckily I won’t have too many business trip in the next three years, definitely less frequent than before. We will plan to travel together more. 🙂

 

 

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First month in Manila

We’ve been living in our new home for more than a month and I finally got to sit down to write a post about our new life. Part of the reason that took me so long other than I’ve been busy is that I didn’t feel or still don’t feel settled down. Well… I don’t have our furnitures yet! If we’re lucky, they’ll be here in two weeks.

Life in Manila, or to be precise, Bonifacio Global City is good overall. It’s a newly developed neighborhood, only 15 years old, very modern, like Singapore according to many, and where all expats live. It doesn’t look or feel like living in a 3000 USD GDP per capita country. Not the real developing country experience I was expecting, but it’s so much more convenient here than the real Manila. Just the traffic and pollution will kill us.

About our new life. The good:

  • I can walk to office in 5 min. That’s a life changing experience. So convenient. I can even go home for lunch, put Lizzy for a nap and go back to office.
  • Our condo is beautiful and big. We have an amazing pool that the girls go everyday. A well equipped gym that Tony and I go 5-6 days a week. The people working there are so friendly and kind. And we got a golf course view from the 32h floor. Also, most of people living in the condo are expats, we have a we chat group that share all kind of information and organize playdates for the girls.
  • We have a lot of help. We have a live-in-maid that works from 5:30-7:30pm five days a week and half day on Saturday. She cooks all our meals, clean, do laundry, and take care of Sofia and Lizzy when Tony and I are not available. We have a full time driver 6 days a week. And a part time helper that comes 5 half days a week. We are so spoiled. Life is good when you only have the work and enjoy your kids because everything else pretty much taken care by others.
  • Service is cheap. Tony and I both got a personal trainer twice a week for an hour. We love Erika. She “kills” us every time but we love her. I get to do a lot of pampering. Mani, pedi, massage, foot massage, you name it. Everything very affordable and good service.
  • We can travel around Asia. Everything is few hours away from Manila. We already have plans to visit Shanghai next week, then visit Bohol end of november, Taiwan end of december, then shanghai again for the new year in January, followed by tokyo for the marathon. We plan to visit many more in the coming years, at least somewhere every 2 months. 🙂
  • I love my new job. My coworkers are really nice, the office environment is good, job itself is super interesting. I find a lot of professional reward from it.

The bad:

  • Availability of food is limited, especially vegetable selection is disappointing. Greens for salad is basically lettuce and romaine, no kale, no arugula. Tomato is always underripe. Haven’t found frozen corn that I like. I can only buy kabocha in one store and half of the time is not good. Seafood selection is large but Tony would prefer more. Overall, food selection is limited and relatively expensive, sometimes even more expensive than the US such as broccoli, cauliflower. So crazy. I was hoping we’d spend less in groceries, but no, almost the same as in the US.
  • Traffic is bad. Sometimes 5km takes more than an hour. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with it often as all our life is in BGC and we have a driver.
  • I can’t run outdoor because it’s hot and humid 24/7. Also, there’s no trails as in DC. Recently I found an expat running group that runs on Sunday. I’ll join them soon as I need to start training for Tokyo 2018 marathon! oh.. yes, I don’t know if fortunately or unfortunately, I got into the marathon.
  • Lack of friendship. That’s no surprise that we left all our friends in DC. Making new friends takes time. Fortunately we’re four and we entertain ourselves pretty good and don’t feel lonely as a family.
  • Tony is not working. He resigned his job and doesn’t find a job here. He’s not complaining yet because he finds things to do. But ideally it’d be good to find something for him. We’ll see.

Overall, I think we are happy with this move because the bad things are all manageable and would become easier as we get used to them.

Now… some pics of our life in Manila

Tony gets to spend a lot of time with Lizzy

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she has became a little person with strong opinions and demands

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Sofia has became a lady… having mani/pedi for her birthday

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ridiculous hello kitty restaurant/cafe

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Sofia goes to international school of manila. This year she goes to preschool 4, from 7:30-12:30pm. She takes school bus at 6:48am and gets home around 1pm. She loves her new school, with 19 other kids and 3 teachers.

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we went to her class to celebrate birthday with her new friends

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bought cupcakes to share

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her chosen birthday toy was princess puppy from Troll

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we had dinner at a japanese restaurant that night

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loving my 5 years old… such a nice age

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since Sofia has free time in the afternoon, she goes to math, mandarin, and art class in the afternoons. She also takes swimming lesson in our own pool, and zumba once a week. She loves all her activities.

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she’s slowly making new friends. This girls is from our condo… who’s family used to live 5 miles away from our house in DC, and now they sit together in the school bus.

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our new tradition on Sunday (the day Elgie our main helper takes off) is to go out for breakfast. Their favorite place is McDonals so far. sigh…

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on weekends we visit museums

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spend a lot of afternoons in the pool

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best activity ever because I get to relax while girls have fun

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Lizzy started to go to daycare, from 8:30-11am. For the first two weeks she cries a lot when we drop her, but not anyway. She really enjoys it.

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loving this view from our condo

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since it’s hot outside, everything in Manila happens in malls. So we visit malls every weekend for the indoor playgrounds

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until next time. 🙂

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