The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

I just finished reading "The Constant Princess" by Philippa Gregory last night.


It's a story about Queen Katherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII's first wife.

She was a Spanish princess, born and raised to be Princess of Wales and then Queen of England. Despite the things that happened to here life as the Infanta of Spain, Princess of Wales and Queen of England, she kept her composure and act as a princess and future queen.

It's an interesting story because it's a historical novel, a story about real people. I first got interested in reading this after watching the movie "The Other Boleyn Girl", based on the the book also written by Philippa Gregory. Actually, "The Constant Princess" is kind of a prequel to "The Other Boleyn Girl".

If your interested in these kinds of novel, this is a must read.

Christmas is Just Around the Corner


This post brought to you by Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

OMG, it's already the 20th! That means it's the 25th of December on Saturday! And the real countdown begins....

I did some Christmas shopping for the past two weeks. Nothing much to buy this holiday since we're very far away from our families. We'll only be giving gifts to our friends here, a family of three (their child's a toddler). We haven't bought gifts for ourselves (me and hubby) yet. Maybe after the holidays.

So what holiday gifts did I get for our friends? I got a fuzzy little throw for Meann, a pair of gloves for Eric, and some cute shirts for the little one. Oh, and I bought a family calendar for the family. :) I saw a lot of great bargains from Pier 1 website. If I were to choose a Christmas gift for myself from their website, I'd like to have this Red Poppies Wall Art.
Red Poppies Wall Art

We'll be spending Christmas at our friends' house, since they have a kid and it will be harder for them to go to our place. But if we'll be the one hosting the dinner party (in our case, I think it's a lunch part which will last until dinner), I might get those nice table runners that's perfect for the occasion. I saw a nice one from Pier 1... it's definitely my number #1 "must-have"!

Some other decors I would like to have - a Christmas wreath, to hang outside our door; a tiny Christmas tree; some table ornaments. You can call my style of decorating as colorful and lively... very Christmasy. :D

I heard that for the months of November and December, Pier 1 is accepting donations like cash or unwrapped toys that they will donate to Toys for Tots. Not only that, by liking Pier 1 Imports on Facebook, they donate $1 to Toys for Tots for every new fan they get. Nice, right?


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


Visit Sponsor's Site

White All Over Again

It was snowing again yesterday, and the day before! And I didn't stay at home on those two days. :)

Friday afternoon, I went out with my friend for some Christmas shopping and girl bonding. When we arrived at Oxford Street it was snowing! It was windy as well because we can see the direction of the snow straight to our faces. Good thing by 3pm the snow stopped. :)

Yesterday, Saturday, it was snowing majority of the day. And despite that snow, hubby and I still went out. We just went to the supermarket, which is 1 block away from our building to buy some eggplants and other stuffs. Yeah, not that important, we just want to walk on snow while snowing. hihihi!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

It's snowing!

It's been snowing in other parts of the UK for a few days now. And I was just waiting for the snow to start in London.

Monday morning, weather forecast said that it might snow late in the evening until the whole day on Tuesday. So Monday evening, I waited and waited... no snow. When hubby and I woke up Tuesday morning, this was what we saw...


Lovely! I love it!

N@W Blogs List Finished At Last!

Last month (or was it two months ago), Benz was asking around if anyone is willing to update the list of blogs made by N@W members in the N@W Yahoogroups. Since I was about to become a housewife again, I volunteered myself.

I started updating the list during my last few days at work. After my last day at work we went on a very short vacation to the Philippines before leaving to the UK, so blogroll update postponed. When we got back to Singapore, I got busy with the packing and sorting. When we moved here in London, I already forgot about the blogroll... sorry! :D

Early this week, I was reminded about this links/list of blogs when a N@Wie asked about it. So I went to it! While stewing my beef, I updated the list, and it's finally complete! Whew!

Next, I need to update the blogroll in this blog. :D

Rain Rain Go Away

When my friends told us (and from what I heard/see from movies etc.) that the weather here is gloomy, they were not kidding! The rain comes and goes! And even if it's not raining, it's gloomy most of the time. Well, it still gets sunny every now and then. But now it's gloomy and cloudy and it will rain later.

So now, before going out I always check the weather first. Today it will rain majority of the day, so if I'm sooo bored already and I want to go out, I need to bring my umbrella.

Our First Week in London

We're finally here! We arrived Saturday evening (previous blog entry was posted days later). The next day we went to our friends' flat 10min away from ours (by train of course).

We are currently staying east side of London, 10-15minutes walk from hubby's office. It's a nice place, very convenient - there's Asda (supermarket) two blocks away from our flat, and there's also Tesco Express (a mini supermarket, more of a convenience store) behind our flat.

Since we'll only be staying in our current flat for a month, we went out with our relocations consultant looking for our permanent flat last Thursday. There were like 12 or so flats we'll be seeing that day. But 2-4 were already crossed out, around 2-4 more flats we cannot see that day including the one flat near our friends' (as in opposite building!). We decided to get the first one we viewed. Hope the owner will let us have it...

During the weekend we walked a bit around outside our comfort zone. We went to Oxford Street to look for coats as it was really getting colder and colder. Found what I want already, will buy it when I can't take the cold weather anymore hahaha! Sunday we went to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards. Too much waiting going around but it was okay. :) We saw the palace, we saw the guards. :)

That's it for now, so far so good :)

And Another Adventure Begins

18-Sep-10 

We finally did it - months of preparation, weeks of selling & giving away furniture and appliances, days of packing.  And as I compose this entry I am on a flight from Singapore, our home for almost four years, to London, our soon to be home… a few hours from now. :) 

My last day at work was first week of September. I quit early because we decided to go back to the Philippines first and stay for a week there before leaving to the UK. We won’t hear the end of it from our families if we won’t go home and see them. Hihi! Plus I need to sort and prepare the things we will bring and not bring.

Although we can take with us all our furniture & appliances and whatever stuffs we have, we decided to not bring them all. It’s too troublesome to move bringing all those things! And believe me when I say that! We’ve only moved thrice (including the time when we relocated to Singapore from the Philippines) but OMG! Now, I think the only furniture we brought with us is our computer table. :D I am actually happy we sold/gave away them because I’ve been wanting to get rid of most of them for quite a while now. :)

Now that we are on our way to a new place/country far away from everyone we know, this will definitely be a new adventure for us. And we are ready to accept this with open arms. :)

For Sale!

This is it!
We're selling our furnitures!
You can check out photos of some the furnitures and appliances from my photobucket album.
Hope we can get rid of them by end of the month...

Are We Moving?

Early this month, I mentioned our possible relocation (Here We Go Again...). So far, everything's going that way... no twists & turns this time, unlike before. Hubby got the contract already, and it has been signed. He already got all the documents required from their London office, we just need to apply for our visa.

I've warned my manager about this possible relocation (we were both wondering if I can be transferred to our office in London as well). We've announced it to our families in the Philippines as well. I've sold some of our extra furnitures that we are no longer using, like our old TV console and our old 2-seater sofa.

So, are we moving? Not sure yet. It's not final until we get our visas approved. *fingers crossed*

Let's wait and see...

Glee's Artie

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NMEDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was watching an episode of Glee yesterday. The episode's title is "Dream On". I love that episode because Neil Patrick Harris made a guest appearance. After watching him from the TV series How I Met Your Mother, it seems like he's always making a joke or something... and he makes me laugh (watch the TV series How I Met Your Mother if you don't know what I'm talking about). And if you don't watch Glee... you're missing a lot! :P

In that episode, Artie's dream is to be able to dance (Just in case you don't know who Artie is, he is a student and a member of the Glee Club who is paraplegic). When he was out on the mall with Tina, Tina went to get some pretzels and Artie can't come with her because it's on the second floor. Then while Tina's gone he imagined that he was dancing.

Thinking of Artie made me think of the convenience of equipments for the disabled. NMEDA, a non-profit organization, promotes safe driving and equipments for disabled people. They educate consumers to buy products from a NMEDA qualified dealer. Note that they do not sell anything, they just require members, the sellers/dealers of handicap vans/vehicles modified for disabled people, to adhere to the safety standards.

Other than the NMEDA Dealers, there's also the Quality Assurance Program dealers. The Quality Assurance Program (QAP) is the only nationally recognized accreditation program for the Adaptive Mobility Equipment Industry. It is based on the principle that in order to satisfy customers consistently, companies must have a systematic and documented approach to quality.

Go to nmeda.org and on the homepage, hit the dealers locator and type in your ZIP code and see if there is a qualified dealer near you.

Visit my sponsor: NMEDA

Here We Go Again...

A few months ago, before I started working, hubby was offered to be transferred to their main office in the UK (read my previous post I Said Yes). That offer didn't push through for some reason, so I started working here.


Now... he was offered to be transferred again. This time we've filled up some forms.

This is an opportunity that's hard to say no to. But the thing is... the cost of living there is higher/more expensive. Would hubby's salary be enough to sustain us both, plus pay other expenses/payable we have in the Philippines?

What to do what to do?!?!?!

Raining Cats & Dogs Again

A few days ago, the news of the flood along Orchard Road in Singapore circulated like wildfire. It was very uncommon! Last time it happened was in 1984 (I think). The cause: blocked drain.

The said drain was as wide as a bus, but there was just too much debris that time, ergo the flash flood.

Early today, it's raining again... and it's HEAVY! And there's even zero visibility in some areas! By 9am some areas of Singapore got flooded already. My boss, when he arrived, walked around the office barefoot. He said it was because the parking lot was flooded, and his shoes and socks were soaking wet. A lot of people were soaking wet, some even just stayed at home and work there (JEALOUS!).

Hubby has no problem walking from the train station to his work because there's an underpass that goes straight to his office building. Me, I took the bus from the train station. The bus stop I'm getting off to is just beside the office. But, I still got wet.

As I'm typing this entry, the rain had stopped and most probably the flood has subsided as well. So everything is back to normal again. :)

Blogging Today

Hello peeps! Haven't blogged for a while. :)

I'm at work right now, and not so busy today. Actually, I'm not busy at all. I'm just chatting with my sister while writing this post. :)

I've missed blogging! But I have nothing to blog right now. I wanted to post a recipe to my food blog but I can't find the recipe I used! haha! So for now, I'll just bloghop. :D

Happy blogging and happy weekend everyone!

Inang

I got a text message from my mom yesterday morning, "Wla na inang wed libing" (Inang is gone will be burried Wednesday). Inang, a Tagalog word for mother, is my grandmother (my dad's mother). She passed away 25th April, Sunday morning. She's 85 years old.

She had been sick for a long time now. She had been in and out of the hospital, and the last time I was in the Philippines she was in the ICU and undergoing dialysis.

I'll be going back to the Philippines tomorrow to pay my last respects.

Good-bye Inang. 

Busy

Been busy this week. Finally I got something to do that's work-related! :D

My first few weeks I had nothing to do but read, study, etc. I was so bored! There was even a time that I got so sleepy I accidentally poured some water from my drinking bottle to my hands... my hands! That surely woke me up. hihihi!

Now, got something to do already. Not so much that I need to stay late at work, just enough to last me for the day. :) I'm currently importing some data to the database and it'll take a while, so I got time to blog about it. :D

My First Withdraw from PayPal

I finally earned enough money (to withdraw it) in my PayPal account!

From what I know, there is actually no minimum amount to withdraw money from PayPal. But for banks in Singapore if the amount you'll be withdrawing is SGD199.00 and below then you'll need to pay a SGD1.00 fee. So I waited for my money to reach at least SGD200.00 so that I don't have to pay any fees.

I was able to reach USD167.25, when converted equals to SGD226.98. Happy happy joy joy! So I went ahead and withdrew the whole amount to my bank account here in Singapore. I just left the initial SGD3.00 when I opened my PayPal account. :)


Monday afternoon, when I checked my bank account, there it is...

Weee!!!!

The Johor Bahru Field Trip

No post for quite a while… I’ve missed it! Hihihi!

Last Saturday, Lloyd and I went on a short field trip to Johor Bahru, Malaysia with my co-workers. JB, as it’s usually called, is just a few minutes away from Singapore. You just cross the bridge and you’re there.

From what I know, it was a trip being planned for a long time, even before I joined the company. But it got postponed and postponed. The main agenda for this trip - go kart racing. We had a lot of misfortunes that day… but it still was fun. :)

Saturday morning, Lloyd and were at the meeting place (Plaza Singapura’s taxi stand in Dhoby Ghaut) at 8:30 (I was told that the vans we rented will leave at 9:00am). We were the first to arrive, so we went for breakfast first. Most of the people in the trip were late… they arrived past 9am. The last person to arrive was Chien. He was an hour late! There were supposed to be around 19 people joining the trip, but some backed out the last minute. So there were only 14 of us going. 11 Filipinos and 3 non-Filipinos… all the Pinoys were in one big van, the 3 took the smaller van.

By the way, it was raining that day. Not drizzle… RAIN!

We arrived at Singapore’s immigration checkpoint a few minutes later. I decided to queue on the shortest line… bad idea! The guy in front looked like he did not have the proper papers to exit Singapore, so the checking was longer than expected. After what seems like 10minutes, it was my turn. We then realized that it was not just the fault of the guy in front of me… it was the ICA who was slow! Was she a new employee? Does she know what she’s doing? Because she kept on scanning through my passport and it looked like she was looking for something! I can see her monitor from where I was standing and saw that it was an image of my old passport, so I guessed she was looking for my old passport (I just got my new passport 2 weeks ago). So I helped her! I told her “if you’re looking for my old passport it’s here” (pointing at my old passport which I attached to the new one). She still kept on scanning through the pages! My guess (again!) was that she was looking for the ICA’s stamp in my passport. She finally saw it and let me through. Whew! Same thing happened to Lloyd and my co-worker Mean. It took us a long time for the three of us to pass through immigration!!!

Okay, done with Singapore. Off we went across the bridge to Malaysia’s immigration checkpoint. We were fast this time (Mean did not queue behind us… we were thinking that if we queue together we’re bad luck hahaha!). But, when we got to the bus stop, Robert (my other co-worker) and his wife were not there. We tried calling them up but can’t get a connection (no idea why). We even tried calling up the driver of the other van (where Chien and the others were) but we were not able to contact them as well. Mean’s friends went back upstairs but of course we can’t get past the doors to the immigration, so we also can’t see where they were. We waited… and waited… and waited. Lloyd finally tried calling Robert again… success! He answered the call. They finally appeared from the other side of the bus bay 30 minutes or so later. They told us that instead of going to the Bus Bay exit, they went to the JB Central exit, and once you go there, you can’t go back up. So they walked across I-don’t-know-what and I-don’t-know-where but they crossed grasses and bushes just to get to where we were. Adventure!!!

Past 12pm we finally arrived at Jusco Mall in JB where we had lunch. After lunch, we still can’t go straight to the go-kart because it was still raining. Some of the ladies went for a foot spa, Lloyd and I walked around the mall with Michael (another co-worker), the others decided to go bowling. We’ll just meet in front of the mall at 3pm.

After a few walks around the mall, we realized there was no bowling alley. So the others were just walking around the mall as well. At 3pm, it was still raining. So Chien suggested to this bowling place just 10 minutes away from the mall. We got to the bowling place and played one set… of course I got the lowest score hihihi. Good thing the rain stopped so after the game we went straight to the go-kart.

Permas Go-Kart in Plentong Johor http://www.permasgokart.com/ was worth the wait. They have a very big race track! 10 minutes would cost you 35RM. :D Some even went for a second round (Robert, Lloyd and Chien). Robert and Chien even went for a third round. It was fun! But you’ll end up with an achy body… it’s like 10 minutes of seating on a massage chair that’s not relaxing at all hahaha!

We left the go-kart around 7pm. We were going to this hawker center to have dinner. We all thought something was wrong because the driver was driving very slowly. It seemed like we were already driving for an hour when in fact the hawker center is just a few minutes away. The driver then went to a stop and told us he was having car trouble. We asked if we can just go straight to Singapore and skip dinner because it was past 8pm already. The driver said that it’s not possible because he needed to have the van fixed before we can go to Singapore. So no choice, we went to the hawker center and had dinner.

After dinner, the drivers of the two vans told us that the van can’t be fixed so they need to have a replacement van (we can’t all fit in the other van because it’s just a seven-seater), which means we need to wait 20 minutes more (they should’ve done that while we were eating so less waiting for us!). We didn’t walk around or sit at the hawker center, we just waited there… I think we were all too lazy to walk around too. Finally the replacement arrived; we left Malaysia and arrived in Singapore around 10:30pm.

This field trip was tiring, and adding all those bad lucks we had it was a pain in the ***. But we still had fun and we met new friends. :D Will we do it again? Yes. And I guess Lloyd’s answer will be a big YES because of the go-kart. Hahaha!

I Said Yes

A long overdue news, way before my husband and I went to Japan - I'm working again.

If you remember my previous post Yes or No, I was contemplating whether to accept the job or not. A lot of circumstances stopped me from saying yes to them… really unavoidable circumstances.

One of those circumstances, and a major one, was that hubby was offered to relocate to their office’s London branch. So we MIGHT move to the UK. He was told that the possible date might be in July to give us ample time to fix and settle things here. My brain was like… I don’t know…. Surprised maybe. I was in panic mode even though this happened end of January & the move is July. We have a lot of stuffs & furniture at home… sofas, bed, a few closets, dining table and stuffs in the kitchen. I was already thinking of a way to get rid of them – (1) send a few of them back to the Philippines which will definitely be costly, (2) bring them with us when we move, (3) sell them, or (4) leave them there. Not only that, we also have some insurance/investment we need to pay. We can’t just let those go like that... we just started paying for it.

One to two weeks after that news, the company (which is now my employer) called me up. It’s been a month since their last call so I thought I didn’t get the job. I told them about the problem and they understand. Since the offer to my husband is still in the planning phase and not yet final they gave me 2 weeks which was until February 17 after the Chinese New Year weekend, to give my decision. The due date was perfect because we would be back from our Japan vacation by then. :)

A day or two before we leave to Japan, hubby gave me the news… the relocation won’t push through. It was a bit disappointing and a relief at the same time. Disappointed because we’ve already set our minds to it. Relieved because I’m scared to move there… it’s too far hihihi!

So as soon as hubby told me the news, I called up my employer and told them YES. I decided to give it a try. There’s no harm in trying. :) If I don’t like the job, I can quit.

So now I’m working. I’ve been working for three weeks now, and so far so good. :) The environment here is a bit relaxed which I really like a lot. We’ll see what will happen next. :)

The Japan Adventure - The Trip

We finally did it! We went to Japan and never got lost! :)

The Train Rides

We took them all! Local trains, monorails, bullet trains, limited express trains.

One thing you need to learn very well before going to Tokyo - their transportation system. They have three main train companies - JR Lines, Tokyo Metro Subway Lines and the Toei Subway Lines. Other than these three lines, there are other private trains going around Tokyo.

Japan Rail Pass - We purchased the Japan Rail Pass, valid for 7 days. We were able to use it for all JR lines, Shinkansen and even the Narita Express train (Narita Airport - Tokyo). We purchased them here in Singapore then just had the forms exchanged when we reached Japan.

The First Train Ride -I've thought about this long and hard. We have 3 options - (1) Keisei Skyliner which will take us directly to Ueno where we're staying. It's JPY 1,980 for a one-way ticket. (2) Keisei Limited Express, same route as the Keisei Skyliner but more stops, so travel time is longer, but only costs JPY 1000. (3) Narita Express which we can get for free because of our Japan Rail Pass, but we need to get off at Tokyo first, then transfer to another train line that will take us to Ueno. Too much for first-timers. The winning train: Keisei Skyliner. Plus we were in a hurry, we were almost late with our hotel reservation & might lose our room. :D

The Local Trains - We tried them all. The Tokyo Metro Line, the Toei Subway Line and the JR Line. :D We even used the Yurikamome Line which goes to Odaiba. :)

The Shinkansen - This is something that hubby would never want to miss, and the reason why we decided to buy the Japan Rail Pass. We went for a one day trip to Kyoto and took the Shinkansen.

The Food

We love Japanese food! And it was really on top of our agenda - to eat a lot of authentic Japanese food. Visit my other blog The Foodie's Food Trip for more details.

The People

They're friendly and would try to help you. When you enter a store, may it be a convenience store or a restaurant or a department store, they would greet you when you enter and exit their establishment.

The Weather

I think we were a bit unlucky during our visit. It was still winter when we were there. We can survive the cold weather, but it rained everyday! There was only one day where we didn't got rained, and that was when we went to Kyoto (thank you God!).

The Itinerary

Here's a quick list of our itinerary in Japan:

Day 1 - February 11

  1. Arrived at the hotel a few minutes before 4pm. 
  2. Had a quick lunch at Yoshinoya which is just very near our hotel. 
  3. Went around Ueno and Akihabara with my friends/former colleagues.

Day 2 - February 12
  1. Went to Tokyo Tower
  2. Walked around Roppongi
  3. Late lunch at a Ramen shop in Roppongi with my high school friend
  4. Went to Ginza and look around the place
  5. Dinner with my former bosses and former colleagues

Day 3 - February 13
  1. Went to Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa
  2. Went to Toyota Mega Web and Palette Town in Odaiba
  3. Went around Shibuya and had curry for lunch

Day 4 - February 14
Went to Kyoto with my former colleague & her husband and visited the following:
  1. Kinkaku Temple
  2. Kiyomizu Temple
  3. Yasaka Shrine
  4. Nijo Castle
Days 5 - February 15
Since it's our second to the last day, we went out shopping. We went to Ginza, Harajuku, Shibuya, Akihabara and Ameya-yokocho.

Day 6 - February 16
Our last day we went back to Asakusa to buy some souvenirs. It's just one train ride from our hotel.

Summary

All in all we enjoyed our trip and we would really want to go back to Japan again someday.

Ellen scares Taylor Swift

I've said this before and I'll say it again... I looove Ellen!

I saw this link tweeted by someone and I just want to share it. Taylor Swift has been pranked by Ellen DeGeneres in her dressing room.



It's so funny! And poor Taylor Swift... she really fell hard.

The TV Addicts

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you love watching TV? I do. And hubby too. There are a lot of TV shows that I love watching… comedy, drama, action and even Korean series. Some of the shows I love watching are House, Chuck, Glee and How I Met Your Mother.

I also love watching movies, specially my husband. He would spend money to buy DVDs and Blu-ray Discs of the movies he like. And when we got our cable subscription, we specifically requested for the movie channels to be added.

The only problem with movies and shows on TV is most of the time is that I’d often miss the show. Yeah… I’m too forgetful. For example, I’d turn on the TV and the show has already started or is about to end. Sometimes it gets worst… I’d remember late in the afternoon that a show I was supposed to watch is on in the morning…. too late.

OndemandI found out that there is now a way for me not to miss the shows I want to watch anytime. With Charter digital, I can have On Demand. There are thousands of movies and shows that I can watch anytime I want for free.

This would be advantageous for the busy people out there… like me. Hihihi!

You can learn more at charter.net/ondemand. If you have a Facebook account, you can get updates and fun extras on Charter’s Facebook page.


Visit my sponsor: Often Overlooked Gem

Go Away Giant Pores!

For as long as I can remember, I've always had enlarged pores. I never had a lot of pimples and acne, but I do have a lot of whiteheads and blackheads... and I HATE THEM!

It's very hard for me to look for that perfect product because I have combination skin. Very oily (& enlarged pores) on the T-zone and dry/very dry on the cheeks. I've tried a lot of over-the-counter products - L'Oreal, Neutrogena, The Body Shop, Olay Total Effects, products by my dermatologist.

The Body Shop's Tea Tree products worked for me... at first. I tried it when I was in college. It really worked... but my face felt oily. I stopped using it for a while... no budget since I'm just a student. When I started working I tried using it again, but I got pimples, so I stopped.

L'Oreal and Neutrogena... never worked for me. Too drying.

One thing that always worked better for me was my dermatologists' products - facial soap, toner and night lotion. But... I can't rely on them forever. She's in the Philippines and I'm in Singapore.

I tried The Body Shop again, this time I tried their Seaweed range of products. Didn't work that well for me. Plus the moisturizer still leaves my face oily.

Now, I'm trying another range of products... Kiehl's Rare Earth products. It's on the expensive side, but I want to give it a try. Wish my face some luck! hihihi!

Ugh... pores... why do you hate me so?!

The Japan Adventure - Stage 2

We got our visas! I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! hihihihi!

Wednesday last week, we went to the Embassy of Japan. Lloyd went with me because he wants to go to the Philippine Embassy afterwards (it's just beside the Japan Embassy) to inquire about passport renewal. We had lunch first then went to the embassy around 2pm. The consul gave us our passports and... there they are... our visas. We are allowed to stay 15 days in Japan.

The next step: itinerary and hotel booking.

For the itinerary, I've been in constant communication with my friends who work in Tokyo and with one of our Ninang in our wedding who is Japanese and lives near Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto area.

To save money from transportation around Tokyo, my friend is helping me decide which tickets to buy.

There are a lot of discount tickets being sold that can help us save during our stay. The Japan Rail Pass is valid for 7 days but can only be used for JR lines. The advantage of this ticket is it includes the use of their bullet train - the Shinkansen. They also have tickets valid for 14 days and for 21 days.

My friend also suggested another ticket wherein its unlimited ride for the whole day and can be used in different trains and subways in Tokyo. But... do we need an unlimited ride ticket?

So now, I'm listing down the places we can go to (I borrowed a lot of books from the library hihihi) and put together those that are not far away from each other, so less travel, less transfer, less ticket. I'm still not finished with it but I was able to list down the places already. I just need to arrange them accordingly.

For the accommodation, we've decided that we'll be staying in a hotel, and not with my friends in Japan. I've been in constant communication with my friends there, and they suggested some places in Tokyo to look for a hotel - Ueno and Asakusa. From there, I checked the internet for affordable and recommended hotels.

I was able to list down a lot of hotels within Asakusa or Ueno, and from there I compared each one. Things I needed to consider - the accessibility, the quality, and the price. I came up with three hotels to choose from within Ueno. Why Ueno? There is a train that goes straight to Ueno from Narita Airport... and these hotels are just walking distance from the train station. The less transfer the better.

Hotel #1: Near the train station, and fits the budget. From the website (and from Google maps), it looks near the train station. It says that it's 8 minutes away from Ueno station that travels directly from the airport.

Hotel #2: Need to transfer to another train line, but it's the cheapest among the three. Plus, after transferring to another train line, it's just a few minutes walk from the train station.

Hotel #3: Closer to Ueno station and still fits the budget, but more expensive.

The winner: Hotel #1. I discussed this with hubby, and he said the price is okay with him as long as it's accessible. Compared to Hotel #3 which is around SGD40 more expensive. Hotel #2 is tempting because it's really cheap, SGD200 less than Hotel #1. But we decided to pick the first one because of the accessibility.

That's the latest update. :) exciting!!

The Japan Adventure - Stage 1

Friday last week, Lloyd went on leave from work. Perfect timing to go to the Embassy of Japan and apply for Visa.

I was able to prepare all the requirements just a few days before. We learned, after applying for US Visa last year, to keep all the bank statements being mailed to us. So last week the bank statements were readily available and no need to request a copy from the bank. We also had extra passport-size pictures so no need to get new ones. Three things we just need to prepare - (1) Lloyd's certificate of employment, (2) flight itinerary (required when applying for Japan Visa) and (3) the application forms.

Lloyd was able to get his certificate of employment Thursday... perfect! I've filled-up the forms, and I was able to find a travel agency that can reserve tickets for us.

Friday, we went to the Embassy of Japan. We woke up early because, from my experience in Japan Embassy in the Philippines, I thought there would be a lot of people applying for the visa. And I was wrong. We arrived at the embassy around 9:30AM. We were out of there in less than 10 minutes! There were no one inside, except for a Japanese family. As soon as I got our queue number, our number was immediately called. We gave our requirements, and that's it! We left. The consul gave us two acknowledgement slips to claim the passports on Wednesday.

Now... I can't wait for Wednesday! I can't sleep since last week! Since we applied for the visa! I just hope we'll really get our visas, because it will definitely be a BIG disappointment...

P.S.
We've never told anyone about this trip. Well, except for my friends/former co-workers living and working in Japan, and our best friends who are in the US. We never told our family in the Philippines and our friends (& Lloyd's co-workers) about it. It's our little secret hihihi!

Yes or No?

I had a job interview a few weeks ago (see previous post HERE). It was the IT department head who interviewed me and he seems to like me and my background. He didn't even ask technical questions, just asked about my previous job and projects.

Surprisingly I had a second interview last week. I was really surprised I got called again for an interview. Remember, I haven't worked for more than a year... since April 2008! It was the HR who interviewed me this time. Basic HR questions like expected salary and benefits expected. I was there for less than 30 minutes.

Now... I have a problem. I really want to try working again. But the thing is... hubby and I got this vacation planned. We want to try to go visit Japan on Chinese New Year (long weekend, long vacation) and we've been planning (and I've been preparing) for it for months.

So what's the problem there? The problem is... I think the employer needs me to start ASAP. And if I do start immediately, I think it would be weird if less than a month after I started I'd be going on a vacation.

Another problem... what if I got pregnant again this year? I'll quit my job again after working for a very short period with them?

So now... I'm thinking of not accepting the job offer.

I know I'm weird. Some people would tell me not to let this opportunity go. But... I asked hubby. He told me the same thing, don't let the opportunity go but he's also not pressuring me to work. If I don't want to go to work then it's fine with him (love him for that hihihi!). But... I want to try working again. But... I also don't want to work again because I'm very very much comfortable with what I'm doing now... a housewife. I love it and I'll definitely miss it.

... I don't know... 

Hubby's Christmas Gift

Thanks M for the beautiful gift!



It's a Gucci tote bag :)



Love it! :)

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