Friday, February 15, 2013

Golden, Colorado plus more!

So this is where the American West lives...

Howdy!
The city of Golden lies at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
On our day 1, you can already appreciate the mountains without the snow.


But overnight as the snow falls over the city, the mountains were covered with white.


There really is nothing much to do in Golden, you can probably join a tour group and see the Coors Brewery, the world's largest single-site brewery.

It is true! Coors Light uses water from the mountains!
Our hospitable colleagues brought us to a nearby city, Frisco Colorado to experience Sleigh-ride.
I never thought I could ride a sleigh in my life...pardon my innocence, but I thought sleighs are for Santa Claus only (haha).  Okay... the sleigh looked a bit different and it wasn't pulled by reindeers but rather by mules (mule is an offspring of a male donkey and female horse - this was something I learned during the ride).


"our" mule

the sleigh with some blankets to keep warm
And at the end of the sleigh ride was an old fashion west dinner with some hot chocolate...
And a cowboy serenade with Johnny Cash. John Denver and Elvis music. 


Yehaaa!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What makes Denver unique?

I went to Colorado for a week long business trip, this is one of the perks of a corporate slave.  I love travelling.  Business trips like this is bitter sweet.  I dreaded for this day, unlike before, I don't get excited with business travels anymore.  My heart breaks for my daughter who cries everytime I go away and honestly, travelling for work is not as exciting as it used to be...maybe it is a sign of aging.

I saw this while walking along downtown Denver.  This buffalo asks, and so I ask...what makes Denver unique?


I know nothing about Denver, before this trip.  And here are some interesting facts I learned during my week stay in Denver.
  •  Denver is exactly 1 mile above sea level, that's why they call it a Mile High City!
  • Denver brews more beer than any other city!
  • Denver is the first city in the US to make private use of marijuana legal!
  • John Denver, a famous folk singer was not born in Denver but he moved to the Colorado mountains.
Quite interesting trivias.  But for me, the pictures you will see below made Denver unique in my eyes.

Picturesque City!


Skyscrapers City with the mountains as backdrop
  
This is the view from the office!

Street Art.


Buffalo Art Work accross the street


Abstract Building Structure

Food.

Buffalo Meat Burger


Homeless People and their music

Sports Fanatics

Sports.

Denver is home to the NBA Denver Nuggets team




Night Life.

Denver streets at night

There was so much more to see and do but there wasn't just enough time.  Denver is a beautiful city.  It is surprisingly warmer than Toronto and I also did not expect that it is very "western/cow-boy/country"  type of environment...obviously I did not do my research.   I wished I could have seen more.  Thank you Denver! Thank you for the 2-day high!


Friday, January 25, 2013

When languange is a barrier

Silly Mommy...
Ouch! This is what I felt when I first heard my daughter call me silly.  In Filipino culture or at least how I grew up, silly is similar to stupid, "bobo".  It hurt when my daughter called me silly.  I wanted to scold her for saying the word silly, but then I'm sure she doesn't mean to say that I'm stupid.  So I asked her what silly means and where she learned the word.  She said she learned it from the TV, "Cat in the Hat', etc.  Silly means funny.  And that was my A-H-A moment.  From then on, I started to be more conscious of my daughter's vocabulary and how it was similar to that of my officemates who grew up here in Canada.  My officemates used the word "silly" a lot or I was more mindful of how it was being used on the cartoon shows.  Silly does mean funny or goofy so it isn't bad at all, not the same silly that I grew up to know. 

And so the languange gap has become more obvious:

Me: Put the juice inside the ref!
Andi:  You mean fridge?
Me: Yes, it's the same.
(note: this happened with an officemate too!)

Me: Do you like my small bag?
Andi: You mean purse?
Me: Yes, it's the same.
(note: this happened with an officemate too!)

Me: Wear your jacket!
Andi: You mean coat?
Me: Yes, it's the same

Me: Get your hair tie
Andi: You mean bow?
Me: Yes, it's the same

...and the list just goes on and on.
The "you mean xx?" or "what do you mean?"  has been a recurring response to me.  I fealt really silly, silly = stupid in my own languange.

I was wanred about this in one of the pre-departure seminars.  We were told not to use  the wordCR (comfort room) because it is called washrooms in Canada.  I  didn't think that there were more differences in the words being used although it really just meant the same.   This is one of the many reasons why up to this day, I find it so hard to have a casual conversation in the work place.  It is just like conversing with my very own daughter.  English is English, but didn't know that Canada English is different from American English.  Is this just a languange barrier?  Or has it turned up to be more of a cultural gap?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Home Economics 101

After spending half of my life time in an all-girls school with a Home Economics course every single year, I could not remember a damn thing. 
Oh actually I do!  I remember my teacher, Mrs Siongco and her timeless jokes: "Line-up alphabetically. by height!".  I also remember a number of Home Economics projects we were tasked to do: a pillow cross-stitch, a crocheted table cloth, a machine sewed blouse with terno shorts and a knitted something.  I remember how these projects made my life miserable!!!! I also remembered the day we all went to a field trip to Pasig Palengke (wet market) and everyone had to commute their way there and rode a jeepney (sorry na...sosyal kami nung high-school!).  Each team was given a limited budget and were asked to buy cooking ingredients which we will then cook and serve in our school kitchen/laboratory.  Our team bought tinapas and some tuyo (feeling poor kami).  We brought it back to school and left it in the kitchen lab.  The next day, we found out that our tinapas and tuyos were eaten by rodents, and we had nothing to cook hence, we were excused from the class.  How convenient was that? (LoL!) 

Fast forward...how I wished I paid more attention to this class more than anything else.
I wished, I actually did the cross-stitched (confession: half of which was finished by my mom).
I wished, I remember how to use the sewing machine intstead of chatting with my classmates and laughing at how hard to step on the sewing machine pedals.  It would have come in handy now that I need to hem my own pants.
I wished, I had the chance to cook our own meal fresh from the palengke.
I guess, it is never too late to learn...the downside to learning now is that my own child and husband will have to suffer the consequences of my cooking.

It all started with a pancake, and my inspiration to cook...my hungry daughter.



Each week, I have decided to make somethng special.  
With my mom on the phone, everything has been a breeze. 

L to R: Ginatang Gulay; Tinola, Ribs w/ Baked Potato; Lasagna

Not everything turned out succesful.  I had my fair share of  kitchen disasters...

L to R: Breaded Shrimp (failed Tempura); Baked Salmon, Banana Niutella Bread, and the worst cupcakes ever! 

Personally, I like baking.  It is precise and very checklist type of cooking.
Filipino food is the hardest to prepare.  First, it is hard to find the ingredients in a foreign country.  Second, it is all "tancha" estimates, based on taste and honestly I have the worst taste buds ever (can't tell if something is panis).  But the hardest part of all, is the cleaning up after cooking is done.  (Note to self: need to get dishwasher)

I guess, the best part of Home Economics is when your food customers or the people that matters most tell you that they just had the best tasting food OR when they say you are a super-mom OR simply when they thank you and give you a big kiss.

Now, that's something you don't learn from Home Economics!




Thursday, January 10, 2013

Blog Upgrade

I am starting the new year by upgrading my blog.  I just bought my own domain!
You can now visit me at -- > http://www.iliveiconquer.com/

It is the same old blog but different name (removing the blogspot on it)  plus I am trying to structure my ramblings into 3 categories:
1) An Immigran'ts story - first timer experiences in Canada and the "how to's" of doing things the Canadian way;
2) Being a professional slave a.k.a corporate slave which will more ore less be about my travels for work; lastly
3) Mommy Duties - Adventures and misadventures of an amateur mom.

Hopefully with this change, I can write more and commit more to this blog, afterall I have now invested $10 on this.  (LOL!)

Happy Reading and Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Eve

New Year's eve has been the most difficult holiday to celebrate since we moved to Canada.  I remember back in Manila, NYE was the most awaited night...lots of sounds (noise), food (fat), going to church and of course the fire crackers.  I missed how we used to celebrate NYE

Lusis Galore
the boys and their paputok
 
Obviously because of the snow, cold and legal reasons we are not allowed to have our own fire works.  Each city though have a fire works show but who wants to go there when it is freezing.
This year, my brother had a flu so our annual NYE dinner was cancelled.  It was just the 3 of us in our new home and so we had to use a little creativity and imagination. 

This is how we spent our New Year's Eve.


Arts & Craft - Bag Designing

DVD Marathon - Bourne Legacy - I miss Chowking!

Baking - Cup Cake for Media Noche!

Yes, this year was different.  It was different from the usual Pinoy Celebration but it doesn't mean it wasn't fun.  Our NY celebration was full of family bonding moments, love and appreciation for the past year. 
 
Happy New Year!
 
How did you celebrate yours?
 
 
 
 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Property Virgins

Yes, I just lost my virginity... my property virginity and I am glad I did it ... (LOL!)

Losing my property virginity isn't as easy as the one shown on TV.  We did not look at just 3 houses...we looked at an estimated number of 3 dozen houses!  They say you will "know" when you see the right house...but I didn't...I didn't feel it.  The only emotion I felt was plain confusion.   But then, at the end of the day we still found THE house.  It was love at first sight for my husband...but for me...ummm maybe if I did not agree we would not have a house up to this day.

Well...I sort of found the house that I wanted...2 houses that is, but I guess the houses were not for us, one was so expensive (I have expensive taste) and the other one, we lost the bidding process.

I have summarized my learnings from this entire experience for others to pick up from...here it goes...

1.  Research.  How much is the interest rate, which bank offers the best rates or package?.  Do you want to go to a bank or to a lending company?  Maybe talk to a couple of mortgage brokers.  Ask questions.  Asking is free so take advantage of it.

2.  Get a pre-approval.  When you are comfortable with #1 - get a pre-approval.  By getting a mortgage pre-approval, you will know how much you can afford, how much you can borrow and eventually decide on how much you really want to spend.  

3.  Get a trustworthy real estate broker/agent.  It is important you get a broker who you can trust, someone who looks after your own welfare and is not interested on his commission alone.  Get a referrence from a family or friend.  On a personal note, I prefer a Pinoy broker...it's easier to negotiate in your own languange after all.

4.  Narrow Down.  Narrow down your choices. 
a.  Type: House (detached; semi-detached), Townhouse, Condo
b.  Number of Rooms
c.  Other requirements: garage, backyard
d.  Design: Open Concept or Traditional.
e.  Location
f.  Nearby school ratings, libraries, groceries

5. Do your homework.  Look for your own house.  Look up MLS, Homefinder and a number of real estate web sites.  When you find something you like contact your agent at once.

6.  Be Firm.  Be firm with your budget, with your location, with what you want.  You will be swayed by a number of people but always go back to what you really wanted (#4).  It is your house!

7.  Take notes.. Take notes or pictures so you will not forget the details. 

8.  Bring emergency items (vicks, white flower or even barf barg! - yes this is true)  Some houses smell differently you can't take it!!!! hahaha true story

9.  Read before you sign!  There are going to be lots of papers to be signed!  At the last stage of our process - signing papers with the lawyers, I noticed some typo-graphical errors which could potentially delay the processing.  The owner of the firm said that unlike others, he was surprised that I was reading every paper I sign and noticed the errors (I replied and said, I audit everything)

10.  Be realistic.  You will see a lot of good houses.  Good but may leave your pocket crying.  Every pretty thing comes with a price, so you have to be realistic.

11.  Decide.  Don't be like me.  I am fickle minded. I would change my mind as often as I blink my eye.  My husband was so upset at me.  Ready/ Not Ready.  Yes/No.  Like/Do not like.  Decide. 

12.  Lastly, enjoy.  It is a stressfull but exciting time.  You are not just looking for a house but eventually you will turn it to be your own...your home.

It may not be love at first sight but as I see the house turn into a home, I am very happy with it.  I am so happy we made the right decision.  I am so happy I lost my virginity with this property.

Welcome to our home!