Friday, October 29, 2010
Last year we didn't spend Christmas Day or the winter holidays here in Stuttgart. We spent it at my brother-in-law's in England. Although it was a nice idea to spend Christmas with relatives, a part of me was wishing that we could spend it at home. There really is just no place at home, you know.
This year, I want to spend it here in the real sense of the word. I want to bring home the Christmas spirit and decorate the house with Christmas ornaments and erect a tall Christmas tree that is bedecked with all nice things Christmassy and softly ligted up with led xmas lights. I want to buy little girl an Adventskalendar and tell her the story of the Advent, why we make preparations for Christmas and of the birth of Jesus. I want to visit the Christmas Markets in Heidelberg and Nürnberg. I want to try ice skating with my little girl and perhaps, go sledding or skiing in the mountains too. I want to sip hot chocolate in our living room while listening to Christmas carols or watching a Christmas movie. I want us to exchange gifts, just the three of us and start a family tradition that will continue in the years and generations to come. I want to begin this Christmas and I hope that the heavens will will for it to happen.
Some people seem to have abused the option for Tagging Photos on Facebook. Although the photo tagging is a god-sent idea, some people just want to be annoying and the next thing I know, I find in my profile that someone tagged me in one of their photos only to discover that it wasn't really a photo of me but a photo of a dress.
Don't get me wrong. I respect people's business and I am happy that they using social networking as a means to earn money on the side. But I guess it is just plain annoying if you tag me in every single new stock of RTW. So I hope you just quit it lest I remove you from my Friends list. I guess I am unfortunate because my name starts with the letter A. And you know how it is when it comes to tagging or even sending nonsensical invites: A is the easiest target. Additionally, I wouldn't fit into those dresses anyway so I won't be interested in them. So I hope the tagging will stop. I will not complain if the I am tagged because the photo is related to something that I know and believe in but please, no merchandise!
Just for the sake of argument, where is a good place to go for a Christmas vacation: Paris, France or Orlando Florida? Both have Disneyland and we are planning to spend a few days in Disneyland for Christmas.. just because. We have already been to Paris so a Parisian tour is out of the question. But a vacation in Orlando? That I have yet to check in my checklist of places to go. I actually have an aunt who lives in Florida and she even invited us to come over and visit. She also said she will take us to Disneyland there.
If you do not need to take into consideration the distance, the airfare and the VISA that we need to secure before we can actually fly to the US, Orlando holds a lot of promise because it not only has Disneyland but also the Universal Studios and Sea World theme parks. But taking all those that I recently mentioned, it would be more practical and more convenient for us to visit Disneyland Paris.
So that's settled then. The only question remaining is this: Do I have a budget for such a vacation?
It is amazing how kids grow so fast these days. One time you just hold them in one arm, so serene and fragile and the next thing you know, they are running around the house, screaming and giving shouts of laughter, or insisting that they be allowed to do this or that.
Before: At five months old.
Now: My little Samantha at 2 years and 8 months.
But whatever the case, I just feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to really raise her on my own. Not all mommies are as lucky as me. I really cannot complain about anything because I was able to savor and experience my little girl since conception. Perhaps you could say that I am content. Looking at her photographs before and now always leaves a smile and a hint of laughter on my face because you can really see the changes.
I've been trying to finish my little girl's Photobook and I have just finished doing the first year. I have yet to do the 2nd year though. You may check out my output here. I hope you all like it!
I just attended a most stressful lecture class today called Chemical Reaction Engineering. Although the topic for the introductory lecture seemed familiar because of my background in Chemical Engineering, it was still quite confusing because of the abbreviation used in the formulae. The way the sample solutions were presented were quite confusing too so that even our professor told us to try to solve the sample problems and exercises ourselves to get a better understanding of things.
The stoichiometry is not a problem because I had a good foundation of this subject matter. What I find confusing are the conversions and to be mindful of the unit of measure that you are using. While taking down notes and trying to follow what my professor was saying, I was reminded of the pysics laboratory experiments that we had to conduct on measuring different types of materials using various measuring devices such as micrometers, calipers, even the good old meter stick and then converting these units of length to the required or needed unit of measure. It was tedious I tell you and it is just the beginning. Whew!
Woottt!!! In a couple of days, we will officially tear down the month of October off the wall calendar to make way for the month of November. For me and my precious Couchers, that would mean another round of TCP themes. I haven't got a central theme for this month though. My mind is just in a ramble and I am actually running out of ideas. But I will try my best not to repeat the themes and I hope that you find them interesting.
Although there are only 30 days in November, we will find ourselves posting five movies this month. So without further ado, here are the themes:
November 2: Scary Movies
November 9: Favorite Steven Spielberg Movie
November 16: N (Movies with N titles)
November 23: A Dreamworks Movie (Movies that were released by Dreamworks Pictures)
November 30: On Ice (Movies set on ice: could be a hockey or figure skater movie or a movie involving snow and icy mountains)
There you have it folks! See you all next Tuesday!
I have heard and read so much about Branson so that I too cannot help but be curious about what it is. The first thing that really came to mind when I hear the word is that it is a chain of fine hotels. But I was wrong. More reading and research told me that it is in fact a vacation destination location at the heart of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. Considered as the Live Entertainment Capital of the World with 45 theaters and 56,228 theater seats, one cannot really argue over that fact.
I learned that there are lots of things to do in Branson, not just the live performances. One can also enjoy the Ozark Mountains and the lakes, have an adventure, go shopping and simply enjoy a relaxing vacation. Well, I do need a vacation and if it were up to me, I could just go buy Branson tickets and fly in right away. But then again, that is just wishful thinking.
I really like this song sung by Oliver James called "Greatest Story Ever Told." For the benefit of those who don't know the guy, Oliver James is an English musician and is best known for his roles in the American films What A Girl Wants and Raise Your Voice. He was trained at Guildford School of Acting where he developed his performance strengths.
Thank you for this moment
I've gotta say how beautiful you are
Of all the hopes and dreams I could have prayed for
Here you are
If I could have one dance forever
I would take you by the hand
Tonight it's you and I together
I'm so glad I'm your man
And if I lived a thousand years
And if I lived a thousand years
You know I never could explain
The way I lost my heart to you that day
but if destiny decided I should look the other way
then the world would never know
the greatest story ever told
and did I tell you that I love you tonight
I don't hear the music
When I'm looking in your eyes
But I feel the rhythm of your body close to mine
It's the way we touch, it soothes me
It's the way we'll always be
your kiss your pretty smile
your kiss your pretty smile
you know i'd die for oh baby you're all i need
did I tell you that I love you tonight tonight
just how much I really need you
did I tell you that I love you tonight
Because I like this song so much, I even used it for a slide-show I made for my friends and former-colleagues as a wedding token. Forgot where I post it though. Can't find it on YouTube. Hehe!
When we first came here last year, I never realized that it could get very cold in autumn. Maybe because I don't go out so often and just content myself staying inside the house and taking care of my little girl. But my current situation is totaly different. I have to wake up at five in the morning to prepare breakfast and prep myself and my little girl for Kindergarten, then bring her to Kindergarten and then hurry off to the university. I don't know to drive and I don't have my own car to begin with so that I commute on a daily basis. And I can really feel the cold!
I sure could some more winter coogi clothing like this fur-lined parka for added insulation especially on those cold, windy and rainy days. My old winter jacket is the one I am currently using and because it is not lined with fleece or any insulation at all, the cold can get through the material, leaving me shivering.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I love to read. That is a public fact. And the task of choosing one book among them all is quite a task. I guess I can play it safe and say that I never tire of reading my Paulo Coelho books. I always find inspiration and the answers to my questions in them.
Among his works, I guess my most read copy is my copy of "By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept." From the official Paulo Coelho website, here's a brief description of the book:
From Paulo Coelho, author of the international bestseller The Alchemist, comes a poignant, richly poetic story that reflects the depth of love and life.
Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings . . . and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.
Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life's biggest questions.
I always go back to reading the pages of this book especially on days when I feel so low and am on senti and emo mode. Lines such as "But love is always new. Regardless of whether we love once, twice or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation. Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack courage to stretch out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life. We have to take love where we find it, even if it means hours, days, weeks of disappointments and sadness." definitely gets me back on my feet again.
When I first met the WASTE Graduate Program Director, one of the important things that he discussed with me was liability insurance. When I joined the orientation and welcoming program for the new international students for the Winter 2010/2011 semester, liability insurance was also discussed. When we had our intercultural meeting, the topic also came up. Suffice it to say, they really recommend that we avail of one just for the duration of our study program so that we get protection for third party liabilities.
There was even a sort of talk given by a very good and cheap insurance company and offers very affordable liability insurance packages. They presented the benefits of being covered by this type of insurance and answered the students' concerns.
I guess this type of insurance will be very helpful especially if unexpected things happen beyond your control like you accidentally burned the entire kitchen in your dormitory or an equipment at the laboratory. So should I get one? That's already out of the question.
So many things have happened this month on my side of the family. And I was so behind the news for a number of reasons: 1) I didn't have an internet connection at home. 2) I was so busy trying to adjust to my routine. 3) It was too expensive to spend an hour or two at an Internet Cafe. But then I was able to talk to my Mom and she updated me on what's been going on.
And yes, there were two weddings and a funeral this month. A cousin got married last October 23 (Saturday) to his long-time girlfriend who happened to have the same first name as me. :D An uncle died of cardiac conditions and the funeral was held October 24 (Sunday). My brother, the youngest sibling, got married last October 26 (Tuesday).
I feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy for the weddings and new beginnings and sad for the loss of a relative and my inability to be physical present in these three events. And what's worse, I didn't have any idea that all these events are now things of the past so that I can't even say that I was with them in spirit. =(
I guess I am not the only one who needs to stay fit at this time of the year.
It is already autumn, and sometimes, it feels like it's winter, especially when the air is humid. The urge to stay longer in bed and eat more sweets and just do nothing is becoming more and more difficult to resist. And therefore, in the case of hubby and me, the more need we have to hit the fitness studio and sweat it out.
And because it is already cold, we could just purchase thermal men's running shorts and some thermal fitness wear for me too. That way, we don't end up getting sick. Oh no, ordinary sweat pants and shirts just won't do this time of the year.
The question though is would we ever find the time to hit the gym? Things are very hectic as they are these days and it seems impossible to squeeze studio sessions in. When we arrive home, we are already very tired and will just prepare a quick dinner, eat and then go straight to bed because it is going to be another early day in the morrow. I guess a miracle is what we need, or another self to help carry half of the burden and responsibilities.
It is almost the end of October and many kids are looking forward for November because of the Laternenfest or the Festival of Lanterns. It is an old tradition here in Germany that is well-loved by children because they get to carry hand-made lanterns and sing songs when it gets dark. It is usually celebrated every 11th of November to celebrate St. Martin's Day.
Here's a little history about St. Martin's Day:
St. Martin's Day is one of the most popular saint's days in Germany and is celebrated mostly by youth and rural populations. Martin of Tours was born in the 4th Century and started out as a Roman soldier, later becoming a monk, and because of his exemplary way of life was later appointed Bishop of Tours (against his will). Many legends surround his life, the most famous of which tells how he cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar who was dying in the cold.
St. Martin's Day is also the official start of Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht at eleven minutes past eleven on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It's at this time that carnival clubs and neighborhood groups start their preparations for the carnival season that culminates with the big Fasching (Mardi Gras) parades in February. St. Martin's Day also marks the end of the agrarian year and the start of the harvesting season.
Because my little girl is already attending Kindergarten, that means that she will be joining her first ever Laternenfest. I received an invitation to create a lantern with my daughter at the Kindergarten and we made one last Friday. There were patterns to choose from and the possibilities are endless... My little Samantha settled for the Indian lantern and I guess it turned out pretty well. I really enjoyed doing crafts with my little girl although her role was mainly to say "Wow, was ist das?" and hand me some tools like a glue stick, a pencil, a scissor.
The Laternenfest at my little girl's Kindergarten is going to be on November 9th. I am so looking forward to it!
COOL is a very subjective term.What is COOL to me may be different from what is cool to you. So that even if I say that my job as a full-time wife and mommy and part-time student and blogger IS cool, many people would perhaps raise an eyebrow. I think a cool job is one that will enable you to express your personality while doing something you love and getting paid for it, otherwise, it’s a hobby. Don't you agree?
But human as we are, we would sometimes dream of that one job that is just inherently cool -- and these are those jobs that we dream about on days when we want to knock down our office cubicle walls and run screaming from the office. Some of the jobs that I find cool and really pay are: rancher, professional golfer, cruise director, personal trainer, blogger, journalist, photographer, flight attendant. In my childhood, I once thought of becoming a flight attendant because of the perks: free trip around the world. But because my height is lacking, I could settle for airport jobs where I get to meet different folks from different cultures and be able to assist them in their needs.
A few weeks ago, hubby went karting with his Japanese colleagues. Their respective families were also invited to come and because it was a Sunday, we tagged along. I am not very keen on tagging along especially when it involves meeting hubby's colleagues but because it was OUR family day, we went with him anyway.
The Go-Kart circuit was in Bad Rappenau, quite a good distance from where we live but a popular place among aspiring race drivers.
It has been a while since my hubby visited the go-kart circuit in our area because there simply wasn't enough time for him to go karting so that during the qualifying round, I was amazed to find that he got the 4th position for the actual race. The qualifying race lasted 15 minutes and the actual race lasted about 32 minutes. It was a tough race and I could feel the excitement and the thrill in the air. My little girl was there to cheer his daddy on but because the karts run so fast, she would wave and look at the wrong Kart and driver. Lol!
At the end of the race, hubby landed on the 6th Place. I personally am proud of his ranking. He may not have won the race but it was still something.
Gift giving is an art. It should be well thought of, from the wrapping to the cost to the way the gift is presented to the recipient. I always enjoy giving gifts as much as receiving them and I take extra care that the gift I am giving away will well appreciated by the receiver.
So you want to give your special someone a special gift. Take into consideration his/her personality, likes and dislikes and interests, and of course your budget. For women, I suggest fragrances, a spa package certificate for two, lingerie, jewelry, home decor, personalized linens and beddings, books from her favorite author, techie gadgets. For men, I suggest techie gadgets, a pair of sneakers, grooming sets, watch or personalized dog tags, wine/liquor, massage package for him.
Today is a very special day. It's October 28 and my little girl is 2 years and 8 months old today. Another milestone reached. She has grown so much and she quite tall for a two-year old. She amazed us with her ability to adapt to the many changes that are happening in our lives.
Our little Samantha is a strong, brave and very adorable girl. She managed to capture the hearts of the other kids in the Kindergarten and I am proud to see that she has learned when to let us go and be with other people. Her ability to communicate has improved a lot too, and although she still baby talks, she could respond to simple questions and could carry out simple instructions. She has a fondness for using tissue paper because everytime something gets wet, she would ask for a tissue or get one. When her nose is stuffy and when she sneezes, she would ask for one. And when she sees something is dirty, she would get a tissue and wipe it. She is just so cute!
To you my little girl, Happy 2 and 8! Know that Daddy and Mommy will always be here for you.
To you my little girl, Happy 2 and 8! Know that Daddy and Mommy will always be here for you.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I always enjoy traveling with my family. What I don't enjoy is when my little girl gets car motion sickness. On the one side, I hate to see her in pain and get all messed up because of it. On the other side, I don't like the smell that hangs in the air and the cleaning that I need to do afterwards.
Oh yes, cleaning up is very difficult, especially the car seats because they need to be deodorized and the stain needs to be removed. If we only had seat covers, it wouldn't be that difficult. With seat covers, your car seats are protected from unwanted stains and spills and what's best, you only need to remove them and wash them and they are good as new! I guess it is high time we buy one. I am looking for washable and easy to clean ones, with a modern design that will suit our car.
And I found these custom made sheepskin seat covers that will just be perfect for our car, especially now that winter is fast approaching. It looks elegant, and I like the sheepskin material too. It won't be difficult to clean and our car seat will be well protected too. And we won't even be ashamed to ask friends to ride with us because our car seats will soon look good as new with these seat covers!
It's officially AUTUMN and I like the beginning of this season here in Germany because most of the greens turn wonderful hues of yellow. If in Japan the landscape turns red with its maple trees or momiji, here in Germany the landscape turns into a beautiful golden color, thus the name Golden October or Goldener Oktober as it is more properly called.
This is the only photo that I managed to take this month. I must admit I have been quite lazy when it comes to taking photographs lately. I guess with so many things going on for me, I keep forgetting to bring my camera along. But I know I should take photos soon because October is about to end. Come November, the trees will be bare and stripped of its leaves and the days will be dark, gloomy, cold and rainy. The landscape would change dramatically. It won't be such a beautiful sight but a sad one come November.
I wish I could see Heidelberg at this time of the year too. I heard that because of its favorable climate, the foliage is also very dramatic and romantic. I want to be there again before it gets too cold so that we can still enjoy the scenery outside and have a picnic along the banks of the River Neckar.
Looking for a good place to stay, where you can relax and chill, at no extra cost? There is only place to go: your living room. If you feel like your living room is too crowded or too messed up that just sitting in your couch stresses you out, then I guess it is high time for you to change and rearrange how your living room should look.
Even if your living room is small, you can still make it inviting and relaxing by putting in the right accents, furniture, and color. Remember that less is more so try not to put so many things in your living room. I'd say put in the basics first. To start with, you could use a good modern sofa that looks so relaxing and inviting, you would always just want to be nestled in it.
Then add some character to your living room with a rug. Rugs can help eliminate noise, helps keep your feet warm and softens the look of your floor. But don't use them if you have a compact space because it will limit how you position your sofa. Create contrasts by using the color scheme of your sofa on different textures and materials. You can for example combine the old and new for that rustic look. Add storage spaces that are functional and expressive and try to arrange your books according to color to achieve that harmonious look. You can then add a few more things: personal mementos, plants, candles to complete the look. Then you now have a place you can officially call your haven inside the house.
A good friend from high school managed to post an old photo of us in our class jerseys.
It was our senior year, during the Intramurals, each year level will compete for the cheering competition. Of course, every single one of us is required to join because our participation will count when the grades for Physical Education and Homeroom is computed. Another reason is that there is only 87 of us in our batch so that everyone must participate.
I am the one on the left: short hair, big smile and obviously very, very thin. I wonder where my jersey shirt is now. I never saw it again since ten years ago. I must have hidden it somewhere or worse, lost it. This jersery held lots of good memories of high school and if I can remember it correctly, it was the time when we had so many victories, not only in academics but in the extra curriculars as well.
I believe that the Livewires spirit will remain in me. And although I don't get to see my batchmates as often as I want due to my current location, I still hold them dear in my heart and I am happy to see that they also now lead happy lives.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Als wir in Deutschland April 2009 gekommen sind, hatten wir eine Schwierigkeit mit der Sprache. Wir konnten nicht wirklich verstehen, was man gesagt hat. Deshalb benutzen wir immer die Körpersprache, mit Anderen zu sprechen. Ein anderes Problem: viele von unsere Dokumente müssen aus dem Japanischen und Englischen ins Deutsch übersetzt werden, so daß wir uns beim Ausländeramt anmelden können. Darum brauchen wir ein Übersetzungsbüro, das schnell, punktlich,und günstig ist.
Also, was soll denn ein gutes Übersetzungsbüro sein? Lassen Sie mich die Wege abzählen.
Zuerst muss ein Übersetzungsbüro professionell sein. Nur ein beglaubigter und berüflich Übersetzer soll das Dokument übersetzen. Die Qualität kommt immer zuerst für mich. Dann muß es einen schnellen und zuverlässigen On-Line-Dienst haben. Ich mag kein Telefongespräch und will eine einfache und professionelle Übersetzung, wo ich Online erwerben kann. Die Übersetzungsgebühren müssen auch günstig sein. Wenn man eine Express-Übersetzung braucht, darf man kein Gebühr bezahlen. Und zuletzt muss einen Kunde zufrieden mit dem übersetzten Text sein oder mein Geld zurÜck.
Wir waren glücklich, dass jemand uns mit der Übersetzung half. Sonst hätten wir Körpersprache benutzt. Sonst würden wir Schwierigkeit haben, die unsere Dokumente bearbeitet. Gott sei Dank für Übersetzungsbüros!
Hello Couchers! Welcome to the October 26th edition of Tuesday Couch Potatoes where we post about a movie each week. This week's theme is Life's Gastronomic Pleasures. Food will always be a part of our daily lives. We all love to eat. Nothing is better than watching a movie with the theme centered on food, where the characters show one's passion for the food. As Monsieur Anton puts it, "You should leave the theater so inspired that you want to either sprint straight to a great restaurant or to the kitchen."
One such movie is No Reservations, a 2007 American romantic drama starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin. This movie is heavily based on the 2001 German film Mostly Martha. I definitely would like to check Mostly Martha out.
If you still haven't seen No Reservations, you will definitely love this one. Kate (Zeta Jones) is a perfectionist chef addicted to her work struggles to adjust when her sister passes away leaving her with a little girl named Zoe (Breslin) to raise and a new soup-chef Nick (Eckhart) threatens to take over her kitchen with his high-spirited and free-wheeling ways.
Here's a preview of the movie.
I do hope you enjoyed the preview. Because you know what, "Sometimes, Life isn't made to order".
Don'e forget to enter your TCP link onto the linky below:
Thanks for joining us this week Couchers! Next week, we are going to feature Scary Movies. Hey, it's November already and what better way to open it than with a movie to scare, right? Till then, take care and Happy TCP!
Friday, October 22, 2010
There is the old belief that as you get older, the more less likely you are to get pimples and acne on your face. This may be true for some adults but not for others. Pimples and acne can grow on anybody's face. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, young or old. It all will depend on your skin type, hormonal balance and how exposed or prone the skin is to dirt, bacteria and other such stimulants.
Having skin problems such as acne can be such a nightmare especially if you are already an adult because they don't heal as fast and the blemishes become more difficult to remove. But it's a good thing that there are lots of treatment for adult acne available in the market today. For your safety and better results though, you must first consult a dermatologist and get professional advice. They always know what is best for your skin and which treatment will suit your skin type best. In that way, you won't be wasting your time, money and energy.
My little girl loves to shower us with kisses. She would readily give us a wet smack on the lips whenever we say "Gib mir einen Küss!" which means "Give me a kiss." Before going to sleep, she would kiss us goodnight. She is a very affectionate child and I am very lucky to have a close relationship with her. I wish that we will remain close and she would consider me her best girlfriend when she is older: able to communicate with me and tell me everything, her problems, her secrets, things that infuriate her and things that are on her mind.
She is also willing to give out kisses to friends when asked to do so. She understands that a kiss is a was of showing one's affections and love and if she gives you a kiss, that means that she likes you. There are some people who she doesn't like to kiss and I guess that means that she doesn't like them.
That's my little girl and her cousin Luis when we were on vacation in Rome last month. I really like this photo. The look so serious and very intent on kissing one another. Lol!
Too bad I haven't brought any photos of her kissing us. I am writing this entry here at the Internet Cafe because I still haven't got any connection at home. I will just update this entry once I get my IC back at home.
Ain't it great to be a Mommy? Find more heartwarming kisses and Mommy stories at The Mommy Journey by clicking on the badge below: