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12/25/2008

Lost in Translation on Christmas

Today is Christmas, yay! I love Christmases. So I prepared some food for me and Brandon earlier today for our Christmas dinner. Since there’s only 2 of us, I only made a cake, 2 loaves of bread, and roasted whole chicken. Actually this was even too much for us but I wanted to have some leftovers for the next day. I wanted the chicken to be fresh from the oven by the time we start eating so I made the pineapple upside-down cake first at about 2 o’clock. The cake turned out really yummy, and it also looked pretty. After the cake was done in a little over an hour, I prepared the loaves of pumpkin bread. I haven’t tasted them yet but Brandon has and he told me that they’re really good. But the problem is, the center of both loaves collapsed haha. They probably weren’t done yet when I decided to take them out of the oven but the sides were already very brown, I was worried about burning them. Maybe I’m just not lucky at making anything that has pumpkin because the same thing also happened to the pumpkin pies I made on Thanksgiving and Halloween. Anyways, after the bread, I put the 3-pound chicken in the oven for roasting after marinating it with some spices for 30 minutes. I set the baking time to 1 hour and 15 minutes because that’s what the recipe says. After waiting that long, I checked the chicken to see if it was done or if it needed to be cooked a little longer. It was still very raw and didn’t look like it had been in the oven for more than an hour. So I set the timer again, this time to 1 hour and 45 minutes. When the timer went off, the result was the same, the chicken was still not cooked. In fact, it was still white. I was wondering what was wrong. This wasn’t my first time to bake, and I have cooked meat in the oven many times before. Even before I started cooking the chicken, my guts told me that I misunderstood a direction in the recipe but just ignored it. It was already 8 o’clock and both Brandon and I were already starving so I decided to show the recipe to my husband and read the directions to him.

Me: The first direction says, preheat the oven at 350 deg. F. Then the 3rd direction says bake the chicken to a minimum internal temperature of 180 deg. F. Which temperature should have I baked the chicken at? 350 degrees or 180 degrees?

Brandon: The 350 degrees is the baking temperature and the chicken is done if it’s meat temperature is 180 degrees. Don’t tell me you’ve been baking the chicken at 180. It’s only a warming temperature.

So yea, I was just warming the chicken the entire time. I haven’t in my entire life used a cooking thermometer so I didn’t know that 180 degrees was for the meat temperature. Of all the recipes I’ve used, this is the only one I misunderstood (well, by far haha). The cooking directions in most recipes say “bake at ___ (temperature follows)”, so I figured 180 was the baking temperature. I baked the chicken again for another hour, this time at the right temperature :P. This is the longest time I’ve cooked something in the oven…4 hours total man! We planned to eat dinner at 6 but we ended up doing it at 9:15. Well, at least it still was not too late. Good thing I started preparing for dinner very early. But the chicken came out very juicy and tasty, so I guess it was worth the long wait.

The chicken that took 4 hours to cook :D



12/17/2008

Is it OK to fantasize about a celebrity when you're married?

My husband is hot, period. But I can't help admiring Chris Brown, and I'm not just talking about his talents but his looks as well. Eversince he became an international phenomenon with his song "Kiss Kiss", I have always thought he's sexy. Then he came up with more songs that I can't stop listening to, like "With You", and I feel like a crushing highschool girl again. I saw an episode of the Tyra Banks show where CB hugged a girl who was a die-hard fan of him and didn't let go for a few minutes. This may sound weird but boy, was I jealous! I wish I was that girl :P

My husband knows this of course. He  knows how much I like Chris Brown, he knows that I always watch CB's videos on Youtube, and he hears me squeal "OMGGGG!!!" as Chris takes his shirt off in his concert videos, and all of this if completely fine with him...or at least that's what I think. I mean he's never shown any sign of jealousy whatsoever. He even downloads CB songs for me on my iPod. Maybe because he secretly fantasizes the Victoria Secret models too (ok I really don't have enough proof for that haha). Actually, everytime those teasing bikini-clad women appear on TV, I just kinda joke about how he can't take his eyes off the TV and we both laugh about it. Sometimes we even argue about who's the sexiest model of VS. We don't make this "celeb crushing" an issue maybe because we know it's too small a thing to be concerned about. I mean, it's not like I'm gonna do everything just to be with Chris Brown, and even if I do it's simply not gonna happen, and not that I'm wishing. I'm very faithful to my spouse, that's all I can say, and I know that he knows that.

I don't know if this is an issue to other couples out there. I know It makes some women upset when their men look at sexy girls, celebrities or not. I admit that I don't like it when my man glances at women in their bikinis on the beach, but I don't care about him staring at VS models, like I said. I wonder if there are also other married girls out there who, like me, get that "highschool feeling" when the see their celebrity crush on TV and what their guys think about it.

I don't think you can call the way I admire Chris Brown as fantasizing. I think he's hot and that stops there. But is fantasizing about a celebrity that you haven't even met and don't know as a person a form of adultery or unfaithfulness?

12/15/2008

Lose Weight By Eating Rice

Back when my husband and I still lived in his parents' house, one of his sisters asked me "How come you don't get fat? you eat a lot of rice." She already had the answer: I eat rice.

I've been here in the US for almost 2 years now and I still don't understand the American meal routine. They don't eat anything for breakfast or if they do, only a small bowl of cereal. They grab sandwich or crackers for lunch, then eat full meal at night. They go to a Chinese restaurant, McDonald's, KFC, or make barbecue and hotdogs at home. Then they complain about gaining weight so fast. How can they not gain weight? They eat a lot at the time of the day when their body is least active.

Back to my answer to my sister-in-law's question. I eat rice and I eat breakfast...everyday. I eat rice with eggs (whether scrambled, sunny-side-up, or hard-boiled) and a couple more other food like fried fish and an apple. Milk is always part of my breakfast. I eat as much as I want in the morning, and it fills me up for the rest of the day. Lunchtime comes and I still feel full so I don't crave for anything. About an hour or 2 before dinner, I munch something sweet like candy or a bar of chocolate so when it's dinner time, I'm less likely gonna eat a lot. And you don't have to eat much at dinner because digestion is slowest when you sleep, of course because your body is not active at all.

Skipping breakfast is unhealthy because the body doesn't have as much energy as it needs to start the day. That's why it's called breakfast (break the fast) because you haven't eaten anything for several hours since the time you went to bed. Aside from being unhealthy, if you don't eat breakfast or don't eat enough to fill you up, you're more likely going to starve by lunch or dinner time which will only make you eat twice more. That's why a lot of people, when they get home from work, say "Oh, I'm starving!" and don't care anymore what to eat, whether it's a double quarterpounder cheeseburger or buffalo wings. The hunger ruined the diet! Rice is a filling meal. There's a difference if I eat rice in the morning and if I don't. No matter how much I ate at breakfast, if it didn't have rice in it, I don't feel very full that I'm still going to eat a full meal either at lunch or at dinner. 

So, stop skipping breakfast and eat a heavy one instead...with rice. And remember to eat very less at night. Skip dinner if you're not hungry at all.

Do Men Really Hate Taking Pictures?

Most, if not all, girls love to have portraits of them taken and go crazy with the camera. But it seems to me like guys in general don't care about it at all. They only pose for the camera when needed like at weddings, proms, or other memorable events, or if they happen to meet Shaq in person and want to brag a photo of them with him on Facebook. They (except the photographers) even hate clicking the shutter button of the camera to take a picture of someone or some random stuff... unlike the women, who, photographers or not, like to carry cameras around them whether it's a film, disposable, point-and-shoot type, or bulky DSLR camera. They like to capture just anything. No wonder it's the women who scrapbook and not the men :P

I always expect my husband to say either "Ugghhh" or "No" whenever I ask him to take a picture of me especially if it's just some random picture like me sipping a Starbucks drink or me playing with our bengal cat. And it's not just my husband. My dad, my ex's, my male friends, and male classmates and boardmates in college...they would have almost exactly the same reaction whenever I say "Let's take pictures". I've never heard of any guy who responded something like "Oh yeah, let's take some! There's a nice view over there!"
Is it a nature of men to dislike the camera? I mean, it's not a girly hobby, is it?

12/13/2008

Brown Sugar: A Great Skin Exfoliant

As the temperature drops down,  low humidity depletes our skin of its natural lipid layer causing dryness and flaking, and chapped lips. While there's a variety of moisturizers and exfoliants available in stores, here's a cheap alternative that you can do at home: brown sugar.


For lips: Apply your favorite lip balm first or if you don't have one, you may skip it. If you've applied lip balm, leave it on your lips for at least 15 minutes. Then slowly rub the sugar on both your lower and upper lip for a minute or 2. Wash with water.

For the body: Mix sugar with baby oil or olive oil. Prepare the amount of sugar that you think will be enough for your whole body. The amount of oil you put on your sugar depends on your desired consistency of the mixture. While in the shower, massage the sugar-oil mixture onto your skin and leave it on until the sugar dissolves. If you're not patient enough to wait that long, leave it on for at least 5 minutes. Rinse off sugar completely with warm water and pat skin dry with towel. The sugar scrubs off the dead skin cells while the oil acts as moisturizer.

12/12/2008

Jobs that Don't Require a College Degree

If you don't have the money to pay for college tuition fee, don't have time to go to school, or simply not interested to get a degree, or if by chance you're like me who graduated from college in another country but can't use your diploma here in the US, here's a list of jobs that will help you make bucks. Please note that although these jobs don't require a college degree, some employers may have different qualifications for hiring.

CASHIER
Nature of the work: total bills on a cash register, receive money, make change, fill out charge forms, and give receipts.
Can work in/at: supermarkets, department stores, gasoline service stations, movie theaters, restaurants, casinos, and other businesses that employ cashier to register the sale of their merchandise.
Qualifications: employers often prefer applicants with high school diplomas. Gaming change persons and booth cashiers are required to obtain a license and background check from their State’s gaming board and must meet an age requirement, usually set at 21 years old. Basic mathematics skills and manual dexterity are also needed.
Earnings: As of May 2007, cashiers' hourly wage ranges from $6.58 to $11.83 while the hourly wage of gaming change persons and booth cashiers ranges from $7.25 to $14.95

BARBER, COSMETOLOGIST, and OTHER PERSONAL APPEARANCE WORKERS
Nature of Work: Barbers and Cosmetologists focus on providing hair care services to enhance the appearance of consumers.  Other personal appearance workers, such as manicurists and pedicurists, shampooers, theatrical and performance makeup artists, and skin care specialists provide specialized beauty services that help clients look and feel their best.
Qualifications:  All States require barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers to be licensed, with the exceptions of shampooers and makeup artists. Qualifications for a license vary by State, but generally a person must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 16 years old, and have graduated from a State-licensed barber or cosmetology school.
Can work in/at: beauty salons or barber shops, nail salons, day and resort spas, and nursing and other residential care homes. Theatrical and performance makeup artists work for movie and television studios, performing arts companies, and event promoters. Some apply makeup in retail stores.
Earnings: As of May 2007 hourly wage including tips and commission for:
             Barbers- ranges from $7.34 to $19.21
             Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists- ranges from $7.11 to $19.85
             Theatrical and Performance Make-up Artists- ranges from $7.65 to 36.45
             Manicurists and Pedicurists- ranges from $7.23 to $15.50
             Shampooers- ranges from $6.63 to $11.05
             Skin Care Specialists- ranges from $7.32 to $24.88

CHEF, COOK, or FOOD PREPARATION WORKER
Nature of Work: Chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods—from soups, snacks, and salads to entrees, side dishes, and desserts.
Qualifications: A high school diploma is not required for beginning jobs, but it is recommended for those planning a career as a cook or chef. Most fast-food or short-order cooks and food preparation workers require little education or training to start because most skills are learned on the job. When hiring chefs and others in advanced cooking positions, however, employers usually prefer applicants who have training after high school. These training programs range from a few months to 2 years or more.
Can work in/at: restaurants, fastfoods, institutions and cafeteria, or in private households.
Earnings: Hourly wages as of May 2007  
             Chefs and Head Cooks- ranges from $10.37 to $31.04
             Cooks, Fastfood- ranges from $6.34 to $10.34
             Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria- ranges from $6.88 to $15.38
             Cooks, Private Household- ranges from $7.37 to $23.08
             Cooks, Restaurant- ranges from $7.27 to $14.55
             Cooks, Short Oder- ranges from $6.75 to $12.91
             Cooks, all other- ranges from $7.42 to $16.95
             Food Preparation Workers- ranges from $6.80 to $13.03

DENTAL ASSISTANT
Nature of the work: Works closely with, and under the supervision of, dentists. Assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties.
Qualifications: Many assistants learn their skills on the job, although an increasing number are trained in dental-assisting programs offered by community and junior colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, or the Armed Forces.
Works in/at: Dental Offices
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $10.36 to $21.60

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REMOVAL WORKER
Nature of the work: These workers are sometimes called abatement, remediation, or decontamination workers. Removal workers often respond to emergencies where harmful substances are present.
Qualifications: Hazardous materials removal workers usually need at least 40 hours of formal on-the-job training. Workers who treat asbestos and lead, the most common contaminants, must complete a training program through their employer that meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. 
Can work in/at: waste management and remediation services; construction; nuclear and electric plants.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $11.15 to $29.48

HUMAN RESOURCES (except payroll and timekeeping)
Nature of Work: maintains the human resource records of an organization’s employees. These records include information such as name, address, job title, and earnings; benefits such as health and life insurance; and tax withholding. They also undertake a variety of other personnel and general office related tasks.
Qualifications: Aside from a high school diploma, training in computers, in filing and maintaining filing systems, in organizing, and in human resources practices is helpful. Proficiency using Microsoft Word, Excel, and other computer applications also is very desirable. 
Can work in/at/for:  Federal, State, and local governments; health care and social assistance; public and private educational services; management of companies and enterprises; administrative and support services; and finance and insurance.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $11.42 to $24.22

MEDICAL ASSISTANT
Nature of the work: Perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. 
Qualifications: Applicants usually need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1-year or 2-year programs. Postsecondary medical assisting programs are offered in vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Programs usually last either 1 year and result in a certificate or diploma, or 2 years and result in an associate degree.
Can work in/at: offices of physicians or other health practitioners such as chiropractors, optometrists, and podiatrists; public and private hospitals, including inpatient and outpatient facilities; health care industries such as outpatient care centers and nursing and residential care facilities.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $9.54 to $18.50

NURSING, PSYCHIATRIC, and HOME HEALTH AIDE
Nature of the Work: Nursing and psychiatric aides help care for physically or mentally ill, injured, disabled, or infirm individuals in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and mental health settings. Home health aides have duties that are similar, but they work in patients’ homes or residential care facilities.
Qualifications: In many cases, a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary for a job as a nursing or psychiatric aide. However, a high school diploma generally is not required for jobs as home health aides. Federal law requires home health aides to pass a competency test covering a wide range of areas. Similar Federal requirements exist for nurse aides who work in nursing care facilities. These aides must complete a minimum of 75 hours of state-approved training and pass a competency evaluation. Aides who complete the program are known as certified nurse assistants (CNAs) and are placed on the State registry of nurse aides. Some States also require psychiatric aides to complete a formal training program. Nursing and psychiatric aide training is offered in high schools, vocational-technical centers, some nursing care facilities, and some community colleges.
Employment: Nursing aides can work in nursing and residential care facilities and hospitals. Home health aides are mainly employed by home health care services, nursing and residential care facilities and social assistance agencies. Psychiatric aides can work in hospitals, primarily in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, although some can also work in the psychiatric units of general medical and surgical hospitals; State government agencies; residential mental retardation, mental health, and substance abuse facilities; and nursing and residential care facilities.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 for:
             Home Health Aides- ranges from $7.41 to $13.47
             Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants- ranges from $8.10 to $15.52
             Psychiatric Aides- ranges from $8.02 to $17.92

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT and AIDE
Nature of Work: Occupational therapist assistants and aides work under the direction of occupational therapists to provide rehabilitative services to persons with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental impairments.
Qualifications: Occupational therapist assistants generally must complete an associate degree or a certificate program; in contrast, occupational therapist aides usually receive most of their training on the job. In most States, occupational therapist assistants are regulated and must pass a national certification examination after they graduate. Those who pass the test are awarded the title “Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.”
Can work in/at: hospitals, offices of occupational therapists, nursing and residential care facilities, community care facilities for the elderly, home health care services, individual and family services, and State government agencies.
Earnings: As of May 2007 the hourly wage for Assistants ranges from $13.40 to $29.95 while the hourly wage for Aides ranges from $8.73 to $21.96

PERSONAL and HOME CARE AIDE
Nature of the work: help people who are elderly, disabled, ill, and/or mentally disabled to live in their own homes or in residential care facilities instead of in health facilities or institutions. Personal and home care aides—also called homemakers, caregivers, companions, and personal attendants—provide housekeeping and routine personal care services.
Qualifications: In some States, the only requirement for employment is on-the-job training, which generally is provided by employers. Other States may require formal training, which is available from community colleges, vocational schools, elder care programs, and home health care agencies.
Can work in/at: home health care services; individual and family services; residential care facilities; and private households.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $6.34 to $12.01

PHARMACY TECHNICIAN
Nature of the Work: help licensed Pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to patients. Technicians' responsibilities include preparing prescribed medication, such as counting tablets and labeling bottles; receiving written prescriptions or requests for prescription refills from patients; reading patients’ charts and preparing the appropriate medication; and delivering prescription to the patient after being checked by the liscensed pharmacist for accuracy.
Qualifications: Although most pharmacy technicians receive informal on-the-job training, employers favor those who have completed formal training and certification. Two organizations, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, administer national certification examinations. To be eligible for either exam, candidates must have a high school diploma or GED, no felony convictions of any kind within 5 years of applying, and no drug or pharmacy related felony convictions at any point.
Can work in/at: retail pharmacies, hospitals, mail-order and Internet pharmacies, offices of physicians, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and the Federal government.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $8.90 to $18.37

PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT and AIDE
Nature of the Work: Physical Therapist Assistants provide part of a patient's treatment under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. Physical Therapist Aides help make therapy sessions productive, under the direct supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. They usually are responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized and for preparing for each patient’s therapy.
Qualifications: Most physical therapist aides are trained on the job, but most physical therapist assistants earn an associate degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program. Some States require licensing for physical therapist assistants.
Can work in/at: offices of physical therapists, hospitals, nursing care facilities, offices of physicians, home health care services, and outpatient care centers.
Earnings: As of May 2007 the hourly wage for Assistants ranges from $13.36 to $29.49 while the hourly wage for Aides ranges from $8.05 and $15.78.

RETAIL SALESPERSON
Nature of the Work: Whether selling shoes, computer equipment, or automobiles, retail salespersons assist customers in finding what they are looking for and try to interest them in buying the merchandise. In addition to selling, most retail salespersons—especially those who work in department and apparel stores—make out sales checks; receive cash, checks, debit, and charge payments; bag or package purchases; and give change and receipts.
Qualifications: There usually are no formal education requirements for this type of work, although a high school diploma or the equivalent is often preferred. A college degree may be required for management trainee positions, especially in larger retail establishments.
Can work in/at: department stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, other general merchandise stores, and motor vehicle and parts dealers.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $7.11 to $18.84

SOCIAL and HUMAN SERVICE ASSISTANT
Nature of the work: help social workers, health care workers, and other professionals to provide services to people.
Qualifications: Many employers prefer to hire people with some education beyond high school. Certificates or associate degrees in subjects such as human services, gerontology or one of the social or behavioral sciences meet many employers’ requirements.
Can work in/at: health care and social assistance industries; public welfare agencies and facilities for mentally disabled and developmentally challenged individuals.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $8.34 to $20.43

TRAVEL AGENT
Nature of the work: Help travelers sort through vast amounts of information to help them make the best possible travel arrangements. They offer advice on destinations and make arrangements for transportation, hotel accommodations, car rentals, and tours for their clients. They are also the primary source of bookings for most of the major cruise lines. In addition, resorts and specialty travel groups use travel agents to promote travel packages to their clients.
Qualifications: The minimum requirement for those interested in becoming a travel agent is a high school diploma or equivalent; although many travel agencies prefer applicants who have a college degree and business or travel experience. Much of the training is provided on the job, a significant part of which consists of instruction on how to use reservation systems.
Can work in/at: travel agencies, tour operators, visitor’s bureaus, reservation offices, and other travel arrangers.
Earnings: Hourly wage as of May 2007 ranges from $8.77 to $22.91.

Source: For more information about the jobs listed above and for more jobs that don't require a college degree, visit the U.S Bureau of Labors Statistics website.

For correction of this post due to any inaccurate information written above, please call the attention of the blogger by either leaving a comment or dropping a line on the shoutbox.

12/11/2008

Rise Up and Shine!

stamens of a wildflower outside our apartment in Alexandria, VA
click image for a larger view

12/10/2008

Mayonnaise for shiny and healthy hair

I know it sounds weird but this do-it-at-home beauty treatment has been proven and tested to be effective. I remember when I was in highschool, there was this girl who was popular because of her extremely beautiful hair. It was jet black and thick and noticeably shiny. The other girls including me found out that she had been treating her hair with mayonnaise for years. At first I thought it was funny, I mean I had only known mayonnaise being used for bread and salad. Then other people told me that it was really good for the hair. So I tried it to see for myself and was amazed with the result. My hair had never been so soft that I kept touching it the whole day. I also got compliments about how shiny it was that day. My friends asked me what conditioner I used and told them the "secret". Everyone I advised to put mayonnaise on their hair and tried it experienced the same result. Here's how you do it:


-Wash and shampoo hair, don't condition. Then let it air-dry.
-When hair is completely dry, apply mayonnaise to your hair like how you apply conditioner. Then cover with a shower cap or plastic bag.
-Let it set for at least 30 minutes. I usually set mine for upto 3 hours. Rinse the mayonnaise off  completely with water (don't use hot water) before shampooing. Apply twice more shampoo and conditioner than you normally do to make sure that your hair won't smell when it dries.
- Air-dry or blow-dry hair.

You can do this treatment once a week for the first 4 weeks then twice a month for maintenance.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Power-Clear Scrub and 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment


Ok, this is my very first product review.  FYI, this and my future reviews on other products are not paid reviews (I wish they were). Besides, the blog obviously can't attract even the cheapest advertiser since this is only my second post. My reviews are based on my own use and consumption of the products in the past and are meant to guide others in their buying decisions.

I first used the 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment. It was in a summer month when I had a skin break-out and this facial wash felt really refreshing on my skin everytime I washed my face. It smelt good too, I liked it to stay on my face for a minute or 2 before washing it off. The zits were gone after the first week of using it day and night. I still continued using it even after all the zits cleared. The product claims to heal acne even before it emerges because of the microclear technology it contains,  but there were days that I still got some zits which usually disappeared in a few days even without using any other acne treatment. When it ran out, I went to Walmart to buy a new one, but I unawarely picked the power-clear scrub instead. Their packaging look exactly the same that I didn't notice the words "power-clear scrub" on the one that I picked. So I just decided to give it a try. The scrub is almost the same as the 3-in-1 hyrating treatment except that it made my skin a little dry. But they both smelt good and I was satisfied of either of these 2.

12/01/2008

Reminiscing the Good Ol' Innocent Days

Someone in a Fil-Am forum where I regulary post topics started a thread that brings back happy and funny memories to every Filipino who reads it. The thread is about the experiences of a typical Filipino kid while growing up in the Philippines. It got so many replies from members who shared stories of their innocent years . Almost all of us had the same childhood experiences which mostly were very funny. Reading the posts really gave me a good laugh and somehow made me feel proud of myself.

My childhood life is far from the kind of life that most American children live. It was a lot more simple, but also a lot more fun...or at least that's what I think. I lived in a barrio (small village) and like any other barrio kids, I spent my playtime on the street in the afternoon after school when the sun has set until it got a little dark. Some of the games we'd always play were patintero, Chinese garter,luksong-tinik and step-step (piko in Tagalog). No one owned a car in our barrio back then (and still no one does upto now although many already own new models of motorbikes) and our means of transportation were commercial motorcycles and jeepneys that would take the barrio people to the closest town and other nearby barangays (other name for barrio). There were only 2 jeepneys which would head to the city early in the morning and come back at about 4pm. A motorcycle driver who's usually the owner of the vehicle would only leave the barrio if someone requested to be transported to the town so most of the time the motorcycles just stayed at the owners' house. So kids getting hit by vehicles was never a major concern to parents and I can't remember a time when a kid in our place was ran over by a motorcycle, bike, or jeepney.



patintero


Chinese garter


luksong tinik

step-step


jeepney

I never had my own bicycle in my entire life. When I wanted to ride on one, I had to rent it from someone who owned one. And I rode on it without kneepads or helmet, not even on my first day learning to ride a bike. Did I get cuts? Of course! I skinned my knees and elbows twice or maybe thrice but didn't care because it happened to every other kid. There were even days when the bike didn't have brake.

I didn't have barbie dolls either or even those very cheap dolls. In fact, I didn't have many toys. I liked balloons the most but back then, kids would only get balloons on their birthday, and those were the kids from the well-off families. And needless to say, my family wasn't well-off. So my dad would just  make me a "balloon" out of a cellophane bag by blowing it with his mouth and that always made me the happiest little girl in the world. 

Everyday I went to school, I didn't bring a lunchbox stuffed with sandwiches, juice, and fruit. I only had   P 1.00 (that was probably like $.05 back then) in my hand for the resis (recess,which means snack time.). The money for the resis is what we call baon (pronounced buh-on). With my P 1.00, I could afford to buy a piece of banana cue and a small cup of juice concentrate from one of those people selling home-cooked snacks outside the school for a living. On my dad's payday, my mom would increase my baon to P 1.50 so I could buy one more kind like a slice of maja blanca.

I loved summer more than any other time of the year because in the Philippines it's when school is out, starting on the 3rd week of March and classes don't resume until the 2nd week of June. I got to play almost everyday with other kids although at noon my mom would force me to take a nap. My friends and I would oftentimes play bahay-bahayan (playhouse) at a vacant lot. We built our "house" with coconut leaves as the roof and spread a few sacks on the ground for us to sit and lie down on. Everyone wanted to play as the mom but whoever was the biggest among the group got the role. I also loved the rainy season as long as I was allowed to play in the rain which was very seldom because this always worried my mom that I might get sick the next day. But whenever I was given the permission, I played to my heart's content, and ohhh it was soo much fun.

We had a big river in our barrio and my grandma's house was not very far from it. At least twice a week, my mom would go there to wash the laundry. We had running water in our houses but most found it easier to do the washing in the river. Today, some people in small barrios in the Philippines still do their laundry this way, and yes, the clothes are handwashed...and line dried. But anyways, those days that she did her laundry there always brought excitement to my young mind because it meant that I could go swimming too. She never let me go swimming without her looking out. And when I already got tired from swimming, I would go looking for fresh-water shrimps under the rocks trying to catch them by extending my shirt underwater hoping that the shrimps would swim towards me. But I didn't have any luck with that.

My family moved to town when I was 12 because my dad wanted me to attend highschool there (there's no junior high in the Philippines.) Since then, my family never moved anywhere. The life in town is different than the life in the barrio. It's busier and more civilized.

When I look at the kids here in the US, I see privileged kids. They have nintendo, video games, nice playhouses, pretty clothes and so much more. But when I look back on my childhood, I miss it more than anything else. I didn't have fancy toys and there wasn't a tv set in the house but I had real friends and our games were real games, not electrically powered games. I didn't have barbie dolls but I talked and played with "living dolls". And playing games with other innocent children taught me the value sporstmanship at a tender age. Of course when I already have kids of my won, I woudn't raise them in a barrio just to experience the kind of childhood that I had. But I would bring them up in a similar way that I was, such as letting them play in the yard with other kids instead of letting her get stuck in the house all day with electronic games,or take them to outdoor activities like swimming, camping, and fishing. Some people say "I never had a fun childhood" or "The worst time of my life is my childhood" and they have their own reasons why. But for me, I'm glad my chilhood is a part of my life that I will always look back on and I want the same for my future children because like they say you're a kid only once.

 

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