September 28, 2016

How safe is where you live?

I grew up in a fairly loud neighborhood. For a while, I even had a thought that our house was kind of out of place in relation to the families living around us, until I just learned how to adjust and ignore. There were mornings I would wake up to the noise of some couple cursing at one another about some fight I'd figure out upon further hearing them; or mornings I'd get up to Christmas songs and jingles from another house that might be thinking that it's their duty to wake up the whole neighborhood. Then at some really late nights, we'd hear people chasing someone or fighting probably caused by  some who consumed too much alcohol. Well, most days and nights can be peaceful.

Do we feel safe in that neighborhood? Yes, relatively. We'd been victims of petty thefts. Some items like pair of slippers and shoes were taken from our veranda a few times, and other items like broken electric fans and small appliances, even my bell lyre. Nevertheless, we learned to live and just let it be after all those instances. We never leave our shoes and slippers just lying in the veranda, and we also put a lock on our gate from then on. The stealing stopped, but the noises from the houses around us - they're still there but could be ignored.

Fast forward to where I live now with my husband. Yes, the kingdom puts a lot of restrictions to its citizens and residents, given that it is an Islamic country, but those restrictions do good to its people in general. Particularly, Riyadh is a safe city. And from my observations, I haven't seen loud places here because it seems there aren't any. Even when you visit parks - parks can really be crowded especially during weekend but you won't hear the people talking loudly to each other. Occasionally, you will hear the children laughing while playing but it is not annoying. Laughter is a sweet sound. Furthermore, whenever we pass by the amusement parks inside the mall, it's rare to hear the kids riding some wild rides scream. I don't know how they do it, but imagine braving a roller coaster without letting out a shout. It must take some practice to do that.

We live in a residence where only families are allowed. Most of the establishments here are segregated into two groups: bachelors and families/ ladies. That segregation also mostly applies to housing. Our neighborhood is generally peaceful, that's why I try to keep down the noises in our room, e.g. sometimes, I tell my husband to play the guitar gently so we won't disturb the neighbors. We don't have much of a problem in our residence. Do we feel safe here? Yes, definitely. We do not have worries that someone will break into our flat and steal our properties. Until recently, our car's rear quarter glass was smashed - someone broke in the car and took the spare tire in the trunk. If the hood was opened too, the battery might have been taken as well. Good thing that the hook in the hood was messed up for long, and it would be difficult to open it without knowing my husband's technique. We were so worried that night thinking who would've done it and what if they come back. We had the glass fixed and bought a spare tire.

September 1, 2016

Happy five years!

I just realized today that this blog has been going on for five years already! I started this blog in June 2011 and had my first post in August 2011.

It is nice to read the things I posted here and be taken back to previous occasions in my life. Nothing much has changed with how I write and the themes that I'm writing about. I still do not want to post too much negative stuff here, simply because I do not want to remember those unpleasant things whenever I read back - so I'm still sticking to writing about the good stuff and sharing some good music from artists who deserve more love.

Kudos to the readers and one-time visitors of this blog and to the experiences that inspired five years of blogging. Also, please take some time to listen to the song below. Cheers! :)

August 22, 2016

Guitar and ukulele wall hanger ideas

My husband and I were looking for wall hangers for our guitar and ukulele since last week because they were just lying around in a corner. We thought that these musical instruments deserve more love so we were really glad when we found the right items to hang them properly.

After some tour and search in IKEA, we found the Betydlig wall/ceiling brackets and Grundtal hangers. They worked perfectly fine with the guitar and ukulele and didn't cost us much. Here is how they looked like after Michael fixed them on the wall.
They look neat!
Up close
You just have to get the right measurements for the ukulele and guitar to fit and voila.
 Grundtal hangers for towels, now for ukulele
 Up close
 Betydlig wall brackets turned upside down - the anti-slip liners made for good cushion
Musical instrument wall hangers do not need to be expensive. There are a lot of cheaper alternatives you can find in hardware stores. We just found ours in IKEA and hoped this helps. Also, I'm sharing this cute song from Petite League. :)

August 18, 2016

Two days in paradise

Philippines is undoubtedly a tourist destination. With its lovely beaches, islands, and mountains, it is easy to be attracted to its charm and desire to visit some of the country's beautiful sites.

Traveling to the Philippines' amazing places can be really expensive to most ordinary wage earners, that's why traveling as a hobby doesn't seem to be for everyone. For example, if you dream to go to the northernmost province of the country, Batanes, you have to save enough money for the airfare, accommodations, and food allowance because they cost a lot. It may take time given an individual's priorities and responsibilities, but it is doable. While there are really expensive tourist destinations, there are others that were stereotyped to be only for the well-off, like El Nido, Palawan. But sometimes, it only takes some skills and planning to afford the costs of traveling.

I am not one of those who makes a list of must-see places, but when I saw the beauty of El Nido, Palawan in photos, I knew I wanted to see it someday. Checking out airfares, tours, and accommodations online gave me an impression that El Nido is really quite expensive. Through Cebu Pacific's seat sale, we were able to book cheaper tickets for the family a few months before the trip. My husband and I couldn't decide at first if we were going to stay in El Nido or Puerto Princesa, but after some thinking and calculations on expenses, we chose El Nido and we're glad we did.
Waiting for boarding
My two other siblings didn't join our trip: my sister was in UAE and the eldest brother didn't want to come. Nevertheless, we were really excited since it would be our first time in Palawan. While on flight, one of the flight attendants announced about available shuttle vans from Puerto Princesa Airport to El Nido. We inquired about the tickets and purchased afterwards. It cost Php 600 per person. The van was spacious and the roads to El Nido were long and winding. It felt like the driver was really in a hurry, I didn't sleep during the travel because I was kind of worried that I'd break my neck. It was that fast!
Welcome to Puerto Princesa!
After roughly five hours, we reached El Nido safely and took a tricycle to Joyful Guesthouse. It was our home for two days and we paid Php 2 200 per night. All the seven of us stayed in one family room. Since it was dark when we arrived, the inviting clear blue sea welcomed us in the morning.

Our view from our accommodation

July 4, 2016

Making good ripples

One of the downsides of living away from home where Catholic church life seemed impossible, is the lack of opportunities to personally share thoughts about spirituality and relationship with God. I was invited by colleagues to join them in their church, one was Christian (they were somewhat affiliated to Hillsong), and the other was a foreign Catholic community. I would have accepted their invites but I wasn't up to meeting a lot of new people at that moment, besides the pros and cons. It was a conscious decision my husband and I had made.

Living here stripped us of the experience to physically belong to a catholic community, though I knew few people who still enjoy their spiritual life amidst the prohibition of religious practices other than Islam. Fortunately, we will always have a community back home where we feel a sense of family and belongingness.

During our holiday in the Philippines, my husband and I tried to squeeze in our schedules some of the activities of Antioch community. A good friend asked me (nicely and pressingly) if I could prepare a talk for the Recollection, so I did. (Thank you JM for asking!) It was a window to meet again the new members of the community and to bid goodbye to good friends since it would be the day before our flight to the kingdom.

Choosing a topic for the youth has always been a challenge. However, during that time, I remember that I have always wanted to talk about the ripple effect. I am fascinated by how one's simple acts could bring up a change in unimaginable ways, like a small rock thrown in a calm pond creating ripples. Thus, I settled in talking about making good ripples.

The ripple effect is a spreading, pervasive, and usually unintentional effect or influence. It's a single act that gets magnified over time affecting a larger group of people. It happens everyday, both in positive and negative ways. This video is a good story of how far and long our ripples can travel, while this one takes on how ripple effect can be damaging.

Most of our actions affect other people, sometimes without our knowledge. A smile or a nod can make someone's day brighter and productive, while an unintentionally hurtful joke can add up to someone's depression. Our ripple effects may go a long way; they are not always abrupt, some take time. Knowing that everyday we have an opportunity to make ripples in the society we are in, wouldn't it be better if we choose to make good ones, instead of undesirable ripples? I listed down six ways to help ourselves in making small waves of goodness, here they are:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...