Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kitchen Experiment #2: Grilled Stuffed Squid

Hubby and I miss eating seafood so much. It was like months ago since the last time we bought fish or shrimp or crabs. So last Sunday, I headed to Kraz Supermarket after work to buy some fresh goodness prawns, squid, 1 big lapu-lapu and 3 big tilapias.

That night I have prepared Tempura shrimp for dinner. It was also a kitchen experiment but I chose not to post about it coz I wasn’t able to take pictures of the output. Besides, it was a bit of a disaster for me. I should have opted for buttered shrimps instead.

I have sworn to myself that next time, I should be more prepared with the recipe on my mind.

So yesterday, I was trying to remember that grilled stuffed squid we ate in a company party in Mimosa. All I could remember is that there is bell pepper and cheese in the stuffing. I’ve asked a former colleague about the recipe but she did not reply. Then I searched the recipe online but I can’t find the same stuffing that I like.

In the end, I just decided to stick with what I can remember.

What it’s made of:
10 pieces squid, 4-5 inches long
1 big tomato (depends on your liking)***
1 medium size yellow bell pepper***
1 medium size green bell pepper***
1 onion***
Cheddar cheese in small cubes
Soy sauce
Lemon or calamansi
Salt and pepper
Aluminum foil
***Note: tomatoes, onions and bell peppers here in the Middle East are bigger than the usual sizes in the Philippines. It’s up to you if you want to add the amount of veggies or other fillings you prefer.
How it is made:
1. Clean the squid first, remove innards if you like. It was actually my first time to clean a squid so I wasn’t sure what to remove or not. Hehehe.

2. In a big bowl, marinate the squid in soy sauce and lemon/calamansi juice for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Mince the tomatoes, bell peppers and onions. Put them on a separate bowl and mix. Put salt and pepper.

4. Get one marinated squid and start putting the mixture inside. In my case, cheese first, then veggies, then cheese, then veggies. So as to spread the cheesiness while grilling.

5. Seal the stuffed squid with a toothpick in the opening.
6. Put the stuffed squid over a sheet of aluminum foil. Before covering it, put some of the veggie mixtures on the sides and pour a tablespoon of the marinade sauce. Cover squid and veggies in aluminum foil. Make sure that you have also cut out the pointed parts of the toothpicks so it won’t make holes in the foil.

7. Then grill it on a live coal (or a stove, just like me!) for 4-5 minutes on each side. Don’t overcook so the squid won’t have the rubberized feel.

8. For the sauce, put in a small bowl the soy sauce, lemon/calamansi juice and chillies.

We don't have live coals so i used the stove! 4-5 minutes for each side please!

Cooked already, this is how it looked like when I opened the foil.

My finish product: Grilled Squid Stuff plus some garnishing effects!

Serve it hot and creamy with this!

I grilled another batch for our lunch pack today!
My Mom will be proud of her undomesticated daughter.

Monday, April 27, 2009

it's the same crisis

Here’s another Quarter-Life Crisis article e-mailed to me by a friend last year.

Beware: Long read!

Quarter-life crisis
By Gena Valerie Chua

I first heard it three months after graduation, over lunch with college blockmates.

Blockmate 1 (earns twice as much as any of us): I'm depressed. Work sucks. Is there any job that sucks more than mine?

Blockmate 2 (recently quit his job): Mine did. I was bored every day. I'm applying abroad. Do you know how much you can earn there?

Blockmate 3 (confessed bum): Money isn't worth your unhappiness. You should be dating more, I'll set you up with a friend.

Blockmate 1 says: But how can I be happy without money? Great dramatic sigh, I'm having a quarter- life crisis. Who are you setting me up with?

And there it was, the mystifying term that single-handedly captured our 22-year-old chaos. At first it sounded funny, but when the thought sank in, we were all quiet for an uncomfortably long period of time. Did we have it too?

Since then, I've heard the phrase thrown around a lot. After graduation get-togethers have been surprisingly frequent. It could be a withdrawal symptom, you're all desperate to hold on to the certainty you had in school. Now that everything has become so unstructured, we cling on dearly to the people whom we shared such carefree, and sometimes
careless days with. We reminisce about how our lives used to be, and how they are now. Many of us are in our third or fourth jobs. More and more are leaving the country to "find greener pastures," joining that ever-growing diaspora like spores drawn to more fertile ground.

There is a shared sense of "lostness," not because we have nowhere to be. No, we are all lucky enough to be somewhere, but most want to be somewhere else. Everyone tells us we are meant to be great, or at least achieve a slice of greatness. We are of that generation, the generation that has it all. The generation that never had to work for anything because it's all instant and automated. The natural expectation to surpass those before us poses an unnerving problem: What happens if we don't?

Maybe the pressure has been there for centuries, but never like this. The world used to be enormous, a planet of rocks we only see in science books. But now the world is shrinking.

Everything, everyone is within reach. The overwhelming proximity of it all has turned us claustrophobic. Wherever we find ourselves becomes too small a place. We are always looking for that something, the thing that will supposedly match our destined greatness.

Upon writing this article I decided to Google the term. Lo and behold, the omniscient Wikipedia had some interesting answers. Quarter-life crisis is a medical term for the phase following adolescence, usually for ages 21-30.

Some "symptoms" include:
(1) feeling not good enough about one's job
(2) frustration with relationships
(3) insecurity about life goals
(4) nostalgia for school
(5) a sense that everyone is doing better than you.

Furthermore, the stage occurs shortly after young, educated professionals enter the "real world", when they realize that it is tougher, more competitive and less forgiving than they imagined.

So it's not a 21st century thing after all. Ah, but Wikipedia doesn't stop there. It goes on to say that today, "the era when having a professional career meant a life of occupational security has come to an end." Indeed, it is no longer enough to get a well-paying job and do it for the rest of your life.

The lines used to be clearly drawn: you were a dentist, a doctor, an engineer, a businessman. Today, things are not as black and white. Our "real world" is now literally the entire world. We take our internships in multi-national corporations, study abroad on exchange programs, and attend art seminars in New York . We find worldwide options exceeding the imagination of those before us: techie jobs in Silicon Valley, trading in the Hong Kong stock market, even advertising for Google in hidden GoogleLand. I had a classmate who took up forensics in Maryland, while another one graduated from a famous fashion school in London . We are constantly considering so many options, debating which ones we can qualify for and which ones will ultimately help us define ourselves.

Older folks say this is generation me, me, me. We want it all now, now, now — even when we really have no idea what we want. So we end up wanting it all. They (my parents, friends of my parents, parents of my friends) shake their heads in disapproval at our inability to stay in one job.

They say we can't stand any ounce of discomfort, any morsel of unhappiness. It's true. We are impatient, always fleeing from one place to another — because that is what we grew up doing. Change has always been inevitable, but if there was ever a time when each year sees changes that used to span a century, this would have to be it.

As adolescents, none of our music icons had the longevity of The Beatles — every three weeks it was a new genre of sound. One minute we were shrieking fans of the Backstreet Boys, and the next we were cult followers of Matchbox 20. We have no memory of dinosaur computers; to us everything runs at 5Mbps. Our shelves of Britannica have gathered dust; we only have to go to YouTube and streams of video would unravel. We had the networking craze Friendster, but even that didn't last.

Soon we were creating separate accounts for Multiply, Facebook and self-blogs. We shop on sites of local strangers and order via cellphone banking. Oh yes, don't even get me started on cellphones. They have rendered everything else useless: watches, cameras, music players, calculators, dictionaries, even mirrors.

Every time the world changes a part of itself, we've had to change along with it. I'm not saying we should go back to the era of i'll-be-waiting-two-weeks-for-your-snail-mail. I cannot leave the house without my phone. Maybe we've become little brats of technology, the spawn of an age always trying to outdo itself. If patience is a virtue, then the remarkable deficiency of it has become our unconscious vice. Our adult lives are an extension of our adolescent years, when coolness was attained by downloading mp3s of a newbie rock band before everyone else did. We are always on the move.

We are fickle-minded, discontent and extremely volatile — which according to Wikipedia, are natural to those in their 20's. But to be in your 20s at a time when clients at work are Australians you will never see past email correspondence, then it becomes a world that gives you only two choices: move, or get left behind.

We are expected to march out into the world with iPod in backpocket, one earphone pounding against an eardrum. With our bountiful gifts from mother technology and our cross-cultural media grub, we're supposed to find a way to make ourselves great. Now more than ever, we have to prove ourselves worthy of the time we were born into. So who can blame us, for wanting to run all the time? The pressure is immense. So much is running
after us and worse, there is so much we are trying to keep up with. Like the reluctant monster Incredible Hulk, we are always growing out of proportion, our clothes tearing as we expand. And so we run, gasping for air, looking for a place that can contain us.

I'm grateful for being born in an era that constantly pushes itself forward. But we were raised in a period long past mere survival, where the worst blunder you can commit is not so much failure but mediocrity. And so we make this plea: don't be so hard on us. It may now be less challenging to defy boundaries, but the world out there is still as tough as ever. Let us have our little crisis; spare us the time that we never seem to have enough of. Give us the chance to find our own corner, where we can dig and shovel and bury ourselves in.

Because when the clouds clear up — when we can finally stop twiddling our thumbs and wringing our hands in restlessness — you will see what we have built out of our chaos, and you will be damn proud.

lost his topspin?

stumbled upon this article on my sports widget about my beloved Roger Federer:

Nobody Can Shine Brightly Forever

Roger Federer has lost his topspin, at least according to one weekly magazine. There wasn’t a better tennis player on the planet from 2004-2007. He’ll go down as one of the best three ever to wield a racquet, and likely tie Pete Sampras for the Grand Slam record this year. Nobody can stay on top forever. Nadal’s the best now, and maybe he’ll enjoy that spot for a year or two before some other hotshot emerges. The same’s going to happen to Tiger Woods. And LeBron. And Pujols. (Newsweek)

i really hope not...

Come on Roger! Get the next Grand Slam!

Although it would be a bit tough thinking that the next Grand Slam will be on Nadal's territory...

A Friend in Quarter-Life Crisis

One of my guy friends recently came here in Dubai, barely three months ago. Before and after P came here, for several times he had asked me and nagged me about his career life going “what-ifs”, his decisions being uncertain and his happiness nowhere at sight. I have jumpily concluded that he is actually having the “quarter-life crisis”.

He knows it!

He was the one who actually sent an e-mail to me 2 years ago. It’s the same e-mail that witsandnuts received and posted on her site.

And just minutes ago, my girl friend G messaged me about going to Spain or just going to any place where she could take a rest. That she feels so old and bored and needed to take a break. That if only she’s got the bucks, she would travel all around Europe and tag us along.

Hey, we’re just 25!

Same with my guy friend (who is a common friend), I told her that she’s having the same crisis. Then she was like “I’ve never heard quarter-life crisis. Is there such one?”

Yup G! E-mail sent to you just now!

Tuesday Night Gloom

Last night, me and hubby were watching the live telecast of Game 4 – Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls at NBA Channel 55. It was rather late. 10.30pm to 12.30am.


It was so tiring, with all the nerve-wracking, reactive hitting and bone-crushing “hawak-kamay” of me and hubby throughout the game. Add to that the rash comments we throw out to Bulls players.


”Bakit foul si Perkins [Celtics player]? Eh tatanga-tanga lang yang si ----- [Chicago player I forgot the name]! Di tumitingin sa dinadaanan!”

“Shiyeet! Bakit nila hinayaang makapuntos? Bwiset!”

Bulls’ player having a free throw: “please don’t shoot, don’t shoot, don’t shoot…..[long silence habang di humihinga]…..whoohoooh!!! [nakahinga na ng maluwag dahil dininig ni Lord ang aking munting hiling]”

My Celtics were doing great but the Bulls were catching up fast and furious! I was heavy with emotions (also hubby, I think, because he grips my hand so tight on every “shooting” moments).

The last one minute of the second overtime, I decided to leave hubby on the telly coz I thought I needed some time to calm my “hyper” self. I have prepared myself for the bad news.

Ten minutes have passed, I was still waiting for hubby to come to our room and make the brutal announcement that the Bulls have won.

After another five minutes, hubby came in the room and I realized that my heart was still beating so fast. I have not calmed myself at all! Anyways, the inevitable was announced: the Bulls won but not without the Celtics shining in their last minute. Too late though.

Next: Game 5 on 28 April 2009, 7PM EDT, Boston homecourt



because of our agitated-state-of-mind, it was sooo late already when we came to dreamland. 2am!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kitchen Experiment #1: Broccoli with Mushroom & Chicken

since me and hubby came here in sharjah, we have assumed independence from our parents. not total independence though. hahaha!

what i'm really trying to say is, back home in pinas, we don't do the cooking. we both have an idea how some dishes are being cooked but we haven't actually tried doing it in the kitchen. why complicate things when we have the best cooks at home?

that was before.

now that our parents/sisters/brothers are not here to serve us good food when we get home, it's quite a responsibility for the un-skilled like us to come up with a yummylicious food to serve on our dinner or to pack for our lunch.

we now just rely on our "basic instincts". not the R18 movie of course.


i'm not really thinking about that so let's skip that one. lol.

okay, moving on. me and hubby are being creative everytime. twisting some original recipes into what is just available here. for your info, the middle east is not as abundant as our pinas when it comes to the range of veggies available. even sayote (or chayote), in its super rarity in the supermarkets, costs 10 dirhams per kilo (1 dirham = 13 pesos). it's my favorite gulay pa naman. and i also miss the dahon ng malunggay!

anyways, today is Saturday and it's my off. since morning i've been thinking what to cook for dinner coz it feels nakakaumay if i cook fried chicken again or sauteed string beans. i remember that yesterday, hubby was eyeing that beef steak from our flatmate. it's a very rare occasion that hubby would crave for beef coz it's not really his most fave meat but i want to give him what i saw in his eyes yesterday.

we still have broccoli in the fridge so why not have Beef Broccoli for tonight. i went down to the supermarket right after i took a shower. i have gone into two supermarkets but no beef is available!!! i ended up buying oyster sauce, chicken and cauliflower, wondering what in hell will i do with the combination. i'm gonna reserve the cauliflower for tomorrow coz i'm still using the broccoli.

so here's my output for tonight:

Broccoli with Mushroom & Chicken

what it's made of:

1/2 kilo broccoli, sliced
1/4 kilo chicken breast, into small thin strips
2 cups chicken broth
2 gloves garlic, crushed & minced
sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
3 tablespoon soy sauce
salt & pepper for seasoning

how it's done:

1. first, bring to boil the chicken in 2 and half cups of water to come up with the chicken broth.
2. in a hot wok with cooking oil, cook the garlic until almost golden on its sides. then put the chicken and stir fry for about 10 seconds.
3. add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and mushrooms. stir fry again for 20-30 seconds or until the chicken has absorbed the flavors of the sauce.
4. put the broccoli and chicken broth. add salt and pepper to taste.
5. let it simmer for 5 minutes then serve it hot with rice!

Note: for a much creamier sauce, you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch. (i just forgot to buy one, hehehe)


i also cooked some beef kebabs but i was so focused with the broccoli thingy that i forgot them for some minutes. it was a disappointment. really.

burnt beef kebabs

hubby liked the broccoli blah blah blah but when he saw the beef kebabs, he turned cynical with my cooking skills.

hubby: nagluluto ka ba talaga? bakit sunog? (were you really cooking? why are these burnt?)
yummybite: ahmmm...sorry, i forgot eh. [while making pacute na naman]
hubby: *sigh* buti na lang masarap ang broccoli. (good thing that the broccoli were good)

on my mind while we were eating: "sunog daw pero naka-dalawang servings ng rice?"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

going green, going boston!

A very good news this morning for me and hubby. We weren't able to watch Game 2 of Chicago Bulls vs Boston Celtics as it started at 7pm EDT 20 April, which is 3am of 21 April here.

I checked it out at Yahoo Sports – NBA this morning and I was so relieved that they won last night’s game.

Game 1 last 18 April gave me frustrations especially when Boston already had the chance winning through Pierce’s second freethrow: scoring 97-97!

The overtime game resulted in favor of Chicago Bulls at 105-103 (at Boston’s homecourt!).

So now I am so glad that Boston Celtics have tied it up with the Bulls. Big thanks to Ray Allen’s shooting skills.

Allen gives Celtics shot of confidence
By Peter May, Special to Yahoo! Sports

BOSTON – There still is no Kevin Garnett. There may be no more Leon Powe. Rajon Rondo is playing on an extremely gimpy ankle – and Paul Pierce loves where the Boston Celtics are in their entertaining first-round playoff series with the Chicago Bulls.

“I think we feel very confident because we feel like we haven’t played good basketball yet,” Pierce said on Monday, after the Celtics eked out a 118-115 victory over the Bulls to square the series at 1-1 on a Ray Allen 3-pointer with two seconds left. “We win [Game 2] and we feel like we should have won Game 1 and we just say, ‘I feel like this is pretty much our ‘C’ game. We are not a team that gives up 100 points in consecutive games. I think our best is yet to come.”

Read full article here

Next game: 8pm, 23 April at Chicago's homecourt.

Monday, April 20, 2009

my youngest sister

my most favorite picture with Leslie taken at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

My sister Leslie and I are super close. Back home, she's my roommate, eating mate and "gala"-mate. And just like her big sister, she also loves reading. During her younger years (and until now, I suppose), she’s addicted with Tagalog romance pocketbooks. Then came Harry Potter (through me, of course) in her high school life, she started reading English fiction.

Her latest obsession today is none other than TWILIGHT! And since Twilight has been a big time craze among teens and women all over the world, my sister can’t find the book on any bookstore in Pampanga (my hometown). I can’t tell her to go to Manila for the book instead, lest she’ll get lost in such an unfamiliar jungle. So I asked her to wait for me to finish the books then I’ll send them to her.

That was December last year.

After that, every time I call her, she keeps on nagging me like “when are you sending the Twilight books?”

My younger brother Levi came home from the US last month so he bought the first two Twilight books as pasalubong to our youngest sister. Now I only have to send the last two.

As of today, I STILL haven’t read the fourth book, Breaking Dawn. Last week, I was already thinking of sending it (as brand new) off to her this week along with Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella, which I still need to buy.

I have all Sophie Kinsella’s books back home, except for this one because it was the first Shopaholic book I’ve read and I just borrowed it from a colleague 3 years ago. I felt no need to buy it that time so now, my sister can’t read the 3rd Shopaholic book, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, unless I buy the 2nd book.

However, as I just found out from courier companies online, airfreight charges would cost me some 1,200 dirhams (equal to Php 15,600) for express delivery of 2-3 days. Waaaaaaay too expensive! I can opt for the 150 dirhams (equal to Php 1,950) with some local freight companies here but my sister is not too willing to wait for 30-45 days for it to come. You see, I have delayed it already for nearly four months.

This morning, as I was going through my normal routine of browsing the internet for some useful stuffs and readings, a “lightbulb” came flashing on my boredom. Why not search an online bookshop and make them deliver the books right at my sister’s doorstep? And make that an online bookstore in the Philippines.

I thought of National Bookstore and Powerbooks so I browsed through their webpages. For no other reason, I have decided to go for Powerbooks and checked the availability.

[Picture Source: Breaking Dawn, Eclipse, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan]

After some minutes of adding my chosen books into my cart, I have checked out a total of three books (Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), provided the shipping and billing address, wrote a short message for my sister then paid for only Php 1,273 including the shipping cost of Php 250. The whole transaction for just 15 minutes.

A time-saver!

And soooo cheap!

I haven’t told her about this one but it will surely surprise her.

I soooo miss her!

Friday, April 17, 2009

screwed up

while i usually enjoy a short relaxing nap on the bus, last night was different. one of my bus-mates forgot his shot of depressant that he got so hyper he won't let anyone in the bus to sleep. he kept bugging all of us with his jokes, non-sense blabberings [since he speaks Hindi most of the time] and loud singing.

the bus was also on a happy state last night on our way home but we got caught up in a heavy traffic after some 15 minutes on the road. what more could get worst on my excited weekend happiness. the usual one hour ride home took us two hours! it has dampen my spirits in the end.


still on the bus.

an hour after we left the office, that hyper guy started a heated discussion with the other bus-mates on South Indian movies that for him are exaggerated and funny in a bad way. all of them are talking all at the same time. Mrs. S and I were wondering if they ever understood each other's opinion on the subject matter. it was like chaos. Mrs. S thought that we were on a fish market. I thought it was funny and irritating at the same time.

thirty minutes later, i was the one on the hot seat. Mr. S asked me to translate "sexy" to Tagalog/Filipino. I said it's also "seksi", just a different spelling. he wondered why it has to be the same. and i told him i don't know.

few weeks ago, this same guy asked me several words to translate in our Philippine mother tongue but i would refuse to do so on some words that are "bad".

anyways, this guy just keeps on challenging me so he came up with a phrase instead of words.

mr. s: so how do you say "life is screwed up" in your language?
me: what? ahmm, wait....
mr. s: "life is screwed up". you don't know?
me: [looooonnngggg silence]................[gawd! i'm struggling with words i can't find]
mr. s: are you sure you're a Filipino? [laughing]
me: yes i am but i don't know how to translate such a metaphor in our language. hmmm...can i have it as an assignment?
mr. s: oh my goodness, she's not a Filipino...hahahaha!
me: hehehe,,,bye bye! have a nice weekend [bidding goodbye to my busmates as i stepped out of the bus]

outside the bus...
me: whoooooooooooooooh! [long sigh]


this afternoon, i sent text messages to my friends about my "assignment".

friend 1's translation: "palpak ang buhay"

friend of friend 1's translation: "magulo ang buhay"

friend 2's translation: "ang buhay ay turnilyo"


how about you? can you help me please?

"life is screwed up"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

it's just rubbish me

i am so extra happy right now.


:) :) :)


:D :D :D

and i don't know why.

feeling hyper for the coming weekend?


currently listening to Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis


it has ended already.

it's Sway by Bic Runga now playing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

a feel of india

this morning, Mrs. S hopped-in on our company bus wearing a nice striped yellow traditional dress for Indian women called Salwar kameez. and upon seeing her jewelries and bangles? Wow! all matching with the yellow golden color of her dress. including the bindi.

she asked me if i want to try putting a bindi on my forehead and i was a bit apprehensive about it since i don't want curious eyes to question me in our workplace. but anyhows, Mrs. S managed to pull out one long golden bindi from her purse and put it on my forehead. Mr. Sj approved of it as he thinks it's cute and pretty in me. but the other indian guy, Mr. B, argued that it's better if i have the round one with black color because the gold one won't be visible in a distance of 5 meters. anyhows, they still liked it and even took pictures of me to show it off with our officemates.


i looked at myself in the mirror and i have admitted to myself that it really looks nice. but since the golden color complements my skin, it's almost unnoticeable.

some of my officemates actually took second glances when they noticed i was wearing bindi.

i took it off after lunch and decorated my puncher with it. :)


bindi is a decoration applied on the center of women's two eyebrows. they have varying colors which you can match with your colorful Salwar kameez. they also have varying sizes and designs. you can have the bead-like, the plain ones or the studs. anyone can pretty much use the bindi as a fashion statement, unlike before when it's only meant to symbolize a woman being married or sometimes, as part of a religious affiliation or ceremony. [Source][picture]

Salwar Kameez [Source]


Update: according to my Hindu officemate, the red round bindi symbolizes that your husband is still alive. if you're a widow, you only wear the black round bindi. she also said that there's a nerve in between the two eyebrows and so the bindi serves a protection from anything harmful. in addition to the bindi, Hindu married women also put red powder on their forehead where the hair parts. that red powder is called kumkum.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Was Not Invited?

just got this happy news from my sports widget. i was a bit late but still i just needed to share this one [especially to KG].

Federer Marries Longtime Girlfriend last
Saturday, 11 April 2009 in Basel Switzerland.

the couple, Roger Federer & Mirka Vavrinec, are expecting
their first baby this summer.

read the full article from this link.


writing a review about the book titled Princess by Jean Sasson gave me second, third and so on thoughts for i'm not so sure how safe it is to post something so controversial and sensitive. i've got two important reasons for this.

firstly, a lot of controversies were raised upon the publication of this book. mainly because it was written in the perspective of a Saudi royal princess. as written on its book cover: "The True Story of Life Inside Saudi Arabia's Royal Family", it sure is very catchy especially on people who wants a glimpse of how a Saudi royalty lives her life. being a member of the royalty surely makes your life a glamorous one, as we commonly perceive with England's queen, princes and princesses. but hey, this is Saudi and that makes it a different story.

secondly, the book reveals sensitive issues on human rights, most especially, women in Saudi. it was difficult for me reading the book and absorbing its content at the same time. there are times that i doubt what were written in the book and that exaggerations were put into it. it was emotionally bothering for me that on that part of the world, women were treated like they are are just for "procreation" purposes. i know this is quite exaggerating but below are some facts i found. this text was provided for by Jean Sasson on her book as part of Appendix A: The Laws of Saudi Arabia. the same text i found at wikipedia regarding Saudi women's human rights.


i am not a feminist or a member of such group but since i have grown up in a democratic country and on a different religion orientation, i sure want to defend women's rights. this is truly a sensitive issue in a very strict Muslim country but it somehow concerns the whole world. i cannot say that all women in this country or all Muslim women are living like this but they are surely defenseless.


Princess mostly depicted the hunger for a fatherly love of a young girl, her great envy for her brother Ali, and her most sought-after freedom of women from the bondage of their old traditions. she had devoted most of her time fighting against the will of the men in her household. but nevertheless, loves them.

there are times that i would laugh out loud from her mischievous antics with her brother Ali. and at the same time, i feel sad that such things happen in a family, like her father being indifferent to her, who is supposed to promote a union of harmony and love in their home.

i am glad that she still found a man whom she thinks can be instrumental in realizing her dream: that their society would find the worth of their women. still, her struggles has not brought much change in their society.


i am currently reading Daughters of Arabia which is the sequel of Princess. i have yet to see if there were changes on women's status after Princess got published.


Useful Links:

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Human Rights

Women of Saudi Arabia

Monday, April 13, 2009

Joy to the World

my officemate Ms. C forwarded me this e-mail about the seven ways on how to discover joy [and happiness].

1. Make a Celebratory Visit
This is a special visit that celebrates what someone else means to you and what they have given to you. It is a joyous form of gratitude, which has been proven in studies to boost mood and health. First, sit down and write a thank-you letter to someone for whom you feel deep love and gratitude. Describe their qualities, such as courage, loyalty, kindness, wit, persistence. Then visit that person, and read your heartfelt description. Celebrate with them the miracle of their life and their presence in yours.

2. Look at the Big Picture
Remember that you are an essential part of a very alive universe--no matter how tough your day or week or year might be. You are part of the greater whole, the weave of life and all of humanity. You can remind yourself of that feeling by looking up at the night sky, or going to a religious service where everybody joins hands and sings, or even volunteering at an animal shelter. Your life has ups and downs but embrace the large scale of all of life in its great diversity with a huge hug.

3. Be a Keeper of Meaning
Knowing that your life has meaning brings a deep-down satisfaction that offers lasting happiness. One wonderful way to experience more meaning is to bring meaning to the lives of others by teaching them a special skill of yours--whether it's a new language, a new recipe, how to sail, or simply how to listen and be a caring person. You have something unique to share.

4. Forgive Yourself
Okay, you've made mistakes. We all have. Going over (and over) your missteps keeps you feeling disconnected and unloved. Here's how to forgive yourself: Bring to mind an incident for which you were forgiven. Remember the good feelings and bask in them. If you believe in God or a higher power, ask for forgiveness. While doing this, try to see yourself from the perspective of someone who loves you unconditionally. Would they judge you as harshly as you judge yourself?

5. Tune in to Those Around You
For one day, decide to be courteous to everybody in your path--even buoyantly so. Your neighbor, your mailman, a stranger at the coffee shop, a cashier, colleagues, and of course, friends. Greet them, ask how they are, hold a door, give a smile and a compliment. At the end of the day you'll feel much happier, relaxed, and more connected.

6. Be a Good Friend
A good friend wants the best for you and is happy when something great happens in your life. Be that friend. Repair rifts in your friendships when possible. Rekindle old friendships--look up friends from childhood or college, or those who have moved away, and reach out to them. Reshape your friendship networks to be sure your friends provide a supportive mirror for your own values in life.

7. Nurture Your Creativity
Creativity brings joy, and the personality trait most linked to creativity is being open to experience--trying new things, being open to fantasy, discovering new connections. Foster your creativity by listening to music, reading literature, and viewing art. Try a different approach to a familiar routine, such as planting only purple flowers in your garden, or garnishing a salad with unusual delicacies, or mixing and matching your clothes in a new way. Or join a scrapbooking club or pottery class--anything that will get you in touch with your creative side and with others in the process


it's high time we should take a deep breath and linger on events/people/things/values that we find more meaning in their simplest form. no need to squander a hefty sum for a luxury treat or for that gadget you've been eyeing at the gadgetry displays [*guilty*].

here's my own ways to joy/happiness:

NATURE TRIPPING: seek out for the rain to feel the droplets on your face or for that glorious sunshine that makes the flowers bring their colors. rain here is very rare. so when it comes, it makes me smile and remember pinas days.

UNITED NATIONS: find new friends and discover new cultures. being in a country flooded with expats, i'm blessed to have known some of their cultures. and it's fun that when they trust you and share to you their own culture, food, stories, etc.

BORN TO BE WILD: be adventurous and paint every journey a color of life. i admit, i am lacking in this field. so for this year, i'll be trying out some fun tours on places i've never been, which is quite A LOT! anyhows, i'll first try nearby emirates like Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Umm Al Qawain. then i can try Greece (!), Egypt or Hongkong. that would be for this year.

THE POWER OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS: remember your friends and loved ones. give them a ring or text them. on my part, a missed call is enough for me to think that i am being remembered or thought of.

CLOSET QUEEN: take off your wardrobe the clothes you no longer think of wearing. give them out to your little sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, friends or neighbors. these clothes are better off given to other human beings than just let them smell like roaches hidden on your closets. i've done this charismatically (hehe) to my little sisters and mom before heading here in Dubai, since it's not really possible to take with me all my clothes in my already large luggage.

HEARING AID: listen to your friends, your husband, your kids, your parents, your grandparents, or even to a stranger [just make sure he/she is harmless]. you just don't know how meaningful that experience is to them. and maybe, that person just needed to unload something that bothers him/her and you were there at the right time.

REFLECTION: communicate with God and recall the experiences you had for the week or for the month or for whatever. remember that you don't have to keep the "bad" deeds from Him for He knows you inside-out. it may not be comfortable at first and crying may be inevitable. but the best experience here is to accept our own selves and being able to surrender it all to Him. that kind of joy is way better than the rest.

Sunday, April 12, 2009



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

home e-bug

there's a bug in our home.

our internet line is going crazy.

4 days ago (Friday)
internet is fine and i still can do the usual bloghopping. can't log in to Yahoo Messenger, which is so important for me and hubby as this is one of the most practical ways to connect to your loved ones and friends here and in pinas

3 days ago (Saturday)
aside from i can't log in to YM, now even Gmail is inaccessible, which also means no access to my Blogger dashboard! we've been trying the YM for the whole day. our flatmate even tried to uninstall YM then reinstall it again. no hopes. i think it's the Etisalat [internet provider] connection that is bugged and has nothing to do with our hardware.

2 days ago (Sunday)
our flatmate X thinks she's going to die without the internet connection! she's been crazy in love and religiously watching the current [pinas] episodes of "Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang" at chismisan.com. i told her not to worry. it's just Sunday in pinas and there is in no way could she watch the Monday episode online!

we haven't called customer service yet. the landlord pays for the internet connection and he was out of reach at the moment.

however, hubby is glad that his nightly viewing of NBA standings is unaffected by this crisis. Boston Celtics' ranking as of today is no. 2 in the Eastern Conference with 58-19 win-loss ratings. the playoffs will start on the 18th this month and i hope they will play better and grab the championships once again!

me, on the other hand, is getting frustrated. i can't blog!

last night (Monday)
as i went home last night, Kuya J approached me for something really important. well, he just told me that there is completely NO internet connection since morning. okay, there's nothing i can do about it.

anyways, X was complaining again as expected. it's Monday and she won't be able to view her Marian-Dingdong tandem. good for me and hubby's ears. no screaming-and-kilig-moments tonight.

today (Tuesday)
i'm sneaking this post at the office while the "workload" is still on its way to my table [or Outlook]. hoping that the traffic is heavy. lol.

whatever happened to our internet connection [Oh! i sang "whatever happened to Amelia Earhart" on my mind...hehe], we're hoping it's something that can be resolved the soonest possible time, like today!

maybe the landlord forgot to pay the bill. "Arbab naman eh."

Friday, April 3, 2009

going filipini

this week, i've met two newly-hired filipinos in the office, Ms. R in regional finance and Mr. J in IT.


is the company having a transition here?

i was thinking [and a lot of Pana** officemates, too] that the company is going Kabayan this year. even in the company bus lately, i hear them [in their language] talking [and wondering, i think] why our very small population is increasing. except for the occasional english conversation they have, i don't understand them most of the time so i'm not sure what they really think about this recent move of the company.

to think that there is a recession, why are we hiring new people? and new people here means filipinos being hired.

this was the latest talk of the town and i don't care if they feel threathen with our growing presence [if that's how you call 10-15 filipinos roaming around the dubai office out of more or less 200 employees]

here's a little statistics report [not official, just based on my judgment?] in our dubai office:

50% -- pana
40% -- lebanese
8% or maybe less -- filipinos [or filipini as the arabs call us]
2% -- others

i remember one conversation from two pana officemates while we were in the company bus going home to sharjah.

pana 1: [talking to pana 2] have you seen the new employee hired in the accounts [finance]? i've heard she's a filipino.
pana 2: yeah i've heard that one but i haven't seen her. [then turning to me] is she your friend?
me: nope. i haven't met her yet but Ms. J told me she's part of the regional finance. maybe tomorrow i'll come by her cabin.
pana 1: are you filipinos good in finance?
me: yeah. not only in finance but also in other fields. we've got a lot of good nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers in the philippines and also abroad. why?
pana 1: coz in my previous company there were also a lot of filipinos but they are mostly secretaries or receptionists.
me: well you haven't met the rest of the filipino professionals here in uae. [almost in fighting mode] besides, i'm also in the finance department.
pana 2: [to pana 1] maybe that is why there are hiring filipinos now in accounts coz those lebanese [who are the bosses] know they are good.
me: just last week, my lebanese boss had asked me if i have a friend who is good in accounts [finance] and should be Filipini.
pana 2: they're still hiring?
me: i think so.

[i saw myself grinning in my window reflection]


**pana = indian