A wonderful surprise

Earlier, I was feeling  run down and getting over a cold but nothing and no one could stop me from going to the Post Office. I was there yesterday but a voice inside my head was urging me to go again this morning. I’m glad I listened to that voice because… today, I received a wonderful surprise in the mail!


Miss Igorota is carefully reading the notes on the packet. She saw the familiar address and smiled!
Miss Igorota is carefully reading the notes on the packet. She saw the familiar address and smiled!

Conniechiwa of Writings on the Wall has got to be one of the most thoughtful, most generous and sweetest people on earth. She sent me this super-cute birthday card…

taylor swift hallmark bday card
A Taylor Swift American Greetings card. Sweet!
I wonder who is celebrating a birthday though ^.^

And then… my heart skipped a beat when I opened the packaging and found an enormous world map (I heart!) and this lovely scrapbooking kit by Mary Engelbreit…

 Who doesn't love a Mary Engelbreit kit? It contains more than a hundred of design sheets, pages of stickers, buttons and ribbons.
Who doesn’t love a Mary Engelbreit kit? It contains more than a hundred of design sheets, pages of stickers, buttons and ribbons.

I think I’m in craft heaven now! With the lack of craft stores here in Phnom Penh, I’m sure I’m going to use as little as possible until I get more craft supplies from somewhere. Tihik guid, no? Lol.

And then there’s also a bar of chocolate but too bad it’s already gone — rich, creamy, German chocolate with a twist of strawberry – oh, so yummy in the tummy.

I would also like to mention that weeks before the packet arrived, I also received a packet from the equally thoughtful GingMaganda. Inside was a rubber stamp from Papemelroti, my favourite speciality shop in the Philippines.

A vintage Filipiniana rubber stamp, only from Papemelroti. I can say that I'm the only person here in Phnom Penh (or Cambodia) who has this -- unless someone proves me wrong.
A vintage Filipiniana rubber stamp, only from Papemelroti. I can say that I’m the only person here in Phnom Penh (or Cambodia) who has this — unless someone proves me wrong.

I’m excited. Todo-todo, I kid you not. Summer will be so much fun now that I have some crafting supplies, thanks to my beautiful friends. Looks like someone’s going to be spending less time noynoying this summer ^.^

Salamat, Conn at Ging. You surely know how to spoil a seester – da best kayo talaga, apiiiiiirrr ^.^ I will always remember your generosity and thoughtfulness. I will treasure these gifts, but not as much as I treasure you both.

Just another unimaginative update

It’s been weeks after welcoming the Chinese New Year  of the Tiger and  the Valentine’s Day  and I’m glad everything is back to usual. No more annoying late night neighborhood parties with blaring songs potent enough to shatter one’s eardrums and ruin a night’s beauty sleep, gone are schmaltzy Valentine songs and media advertisements shoving to our faces  ridiculously-priced dinner and what-have-yous for couples, what a relief!

We are now in March, the last month of the first quarter of the year ,and I’m trying to creep back into blogging again. I have not been entirely away from the blogosphere as I have posted a few times and left comments at my friends’ blogs when I couldn’t resist the urge. It is nice to see there’s a bit of commenting going on here as well, so, thank you.

So where have I been or what have I been up to all the while?

* Short-term work – coordinating an international conference
Okay, this happened back in November, but I tell you, I was like a kuracha. Walang pahinga. I was off my butt for 15days, running around fixing whatever needed to be fixed. Oh, the stress. I was glad though that  I was with a good team from the Women’s Media Centre; they supported me and helped me cope with the stress. When I say I lost 3kgs during that period is no exaggeration or chika. Pramis.

* Coffee dates with mi amigas.

Last time I lamented about friends leaving Cambodia for good and how it would affect me as I’m left behind. Here’s the thing about being an expat – there are no permanent friends or barkada. Yes, you get to meet and make friends with people from different countries, ages, and ethnicity. However, these friends do come and go, when contracts are finished and it’s time for them to go home or move to another country of assignment/workplace. At some point, new ones will appear and a new cycle begins again. In some instances, I get to meet new friends through blogging, and as such, I met their online personas before I could even meet them in person. Now, with my current barkada, – Josiet, Che, Lui, and non-bloggers, sisters Mel and J(anette), and Elma – we’ve been enjoying lovely coffee dates and occasional lunch dates together. Nothing fancy – we meet during the day in a pre-selected local coffee shop (no, not at Starrbucks!) and get on with the gab-fest over capuccino, latte, or espresso – but the company is absolutely awesome! Thanks, girls. Coffee date again this Wednesday, don’t forget. Same time, same place.

* Finding grade/high school classmates and… *gasp* … relatives in … Facebook.

Okay, while it is nice to know that these relatives and former classmates of mine are connected to the Internet and are capable of using Facebook and other social network sites, the most annoying comment I get from them is “Ayyy, kadaku na sa imo!” (You are already big!). Absolutely ruins my mood – they don’t have to rub it to my face, yah know! But then, I suddenly realised that big might not really mean fat, they merely meant that I’m already grown up! *whew, thanks for that!* Okay, so fret not, there will be no un-friend happening soon.. tee-hee-hee.


Remember the chihuahua in Japan that made waves on the Internet not long ago because of the heart-shaped pattern on its fur? They say it’s amazing. Pfffft! Wala yan sa aso ko. Our Joe, he makes heart-shaped poop – top that! Sure it takes a thousand or two to breed even just one puppy with this unusual heart-pattern, but tell me, how many puppies can churn out a crap like that!
And oh, speaking of hearts… Valentine’s Day… we didn’t do anything special this year. In fact, on that very day, while the rest of the world were smooching and waltzing on Valentine’s pink clouds, Rob and I sweated it out by cleaning and de-cluttering our laundry area and storeroom. It took us  hours but it was well-worth the effort!  We had more than a dozen of boxes already gathering dust and we were able to dispose half of the lot. It was difficult to throw away 10 years worth of stuffs  but it felt good in the end.

To cap our busy day, I made a special dinner for us – a refreshing gazpacho soup (perfect on a hot summer night), escalivada and French baguettes, and Indian-style meatballs downed with ice-cold beer.  Sure, part of me was wishing chocolates and a romantic date, but I reckoned I don’t need schzmaltzy stuffs because my mister already fills my  heart with love.

Ayy, ganito na talaga siguro kapag tumatanda na!

BFF Gold Card Award

Last week, I was surprised at this award waiting for me:

A pleasant surprise, indeed, it made my day! The award was passed on to me by my new blogger-friend MoziEsme from far away Mozambique. Thank you very much. I am honored to be part of your circle 🙂 Don’t you just love the golden bling?

As is customary, I am passing this award on to all my blogger-friends (yes, all of you in my links). However, I just would like to give special mention to the following, just because… *lol*

My best buddy way back in university (she still is my best buddy) and namesake Sarah of Seralulalu’s Palette. She’s got enormous talents, especially in the arts, and her blog is one proof of that.

My new friend and sister in blogging, J-B-L-O-G-G-E-D! writing from sunny Maldives. Very outgoing person. Tired of the beach view, she traveled all the way to the Kingdom to let her inner-Lara Croft take over and explore the ancient Angkor temples early this year. We met, we ate, we talked — and gosh, how we gelled so easily! Hope Rob and I could visit you in Maldives sometime in the future 🙂

The ever-glowing mommy-to-be Chrissy whose blog, Life on Manitoulin, I read with much delight. She’s a very loving person, wickedly funny, and reading her posts so sincere it makes you feel like she’s talking to you face-to-face!

So that’s it…

Wordless Wednesday #46: Kung Fu Swimmer

After swimming in Nai Harn beach for several hours, this little fellow (who happens to be my godson) didn’t run out of energy and insisted we also take a dip in their swimming pool. It lasted more than two hours. Mum and Dad could only smile, as this cute little rascal showed off his swimming skills to his Ninang (godmother) Z.

kung fu swimmer
He calls it the Kung Fu jump, one of his many crazy jumps shown to me on that afternoon.

Here comes the bride… !

A good friend recently sent me an email bringing good news – she’s getting married this month. It was such a whirlwind romance that while we, her close friends, are happy about this milestone, we are also really surprised over this. But never you mind, M, what’s more important is that you both are happy, and, you got what you wished for – becoming a June bride *wink*.

Isn’t it funny, no? Times are hard but we see people taking the marriage plunge. Even here in Cambodia, the number of wedding invitations I receive every week gets too overwhelming. Every time I pass by the Mondial Center, a popular place to hold wedding receptions in PP, the place is always full; every inch of space in the car park is filled. That is definitely the power of love; that it is even stronger than the economic crunch!

Going back to my friend, M. What I thought at first was that she was pregnant and that it had to be a shot-gun wedding or something. But knowing M… the hopelessly romantic M… the right man has finally found her, and with him, a promise of a life happily ever after. Er, I made that one up.

Basta, M, suportahan ta lang ka, ah. Best wishes to you both.

Wordless Wednesday #38 Drunken stupor?

drunken stupor

No, he’s not really drunk.
He borrowed the whiskey bottle from another table and gamely posed for this shot 🙂
He is Long Dimanche, our Coordinator in the Prey Veng Pilot Project site. Being the head of the team on this part of Cambodia, he does all the preparations making sure everything is ready when I arrive to conduct workshops and meetings. After days of working in and with the community, we, locals and ex-pat staff alike, share what the locals call a solidarity dinner. Everyone gets cleaned up, all dust washed away, puts on new clothes, and wear our best smiles looking forward to a fun night. Dinner is usually accompanied by loads of karaoke singing (all Khmer songs), dancing, and drinks.

I am excited!

So I am excited!

My friends are coming over for a tour of Angkor Wat. The hotels in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are already booked, the itineraries been finalized… a few hours from now, three friends of mine (friend na rin kita, Yvonne :D)will set their feet in to Cambodian soil for the first time.

J-B-L-O-G-G-E-D will arrive via Poipet together with her travel companion, Yvonne. Both of them are Pinay bloggers, working in the Maldives and this will be our first meeting. Months ago, Ja surprised me with an overseas call and we talked on the phone for hours, as if we’re long-lost friends. I wonder if we will still be the same in person. Baka magkahiyaan pa.

Linda, on the other hand, is a member of the IAWRT family and EBC family (another anak of Ma’am Beth Roxas). We met in Kathmandu where we both participated in the IAWRT conference on Women and Peace. She’s just finished her 9-month fellowship stint at the Environment Broadcast Circle in Manila. She speaks good Tagalog, she picked up Tagalog words so easily while she traveled all over the country. She is visiting Phnom Penh before returning to her native South Africa.

Do call me girls. You know my number 🙂 Save for sore throat and clog-gy nose, girls, I am ready for anything!!