Diary Expat Life Life in the Philippines Repatriation Repatriation Blues
Goals and Lifestyle Changes
Is it just me or the days seem to be running like enthusiastic athletes in a triathlon? We're in the second quarter of 2015 already. This brings me to evaluate where I am in my goals for this year.
"Purge the unncessary and decrease clutter."
Yes and yes to that! Evaluating and letting go of things we have to part ways with before leaving Dubai was such a therapeutic experience. It feels so light! So many things can be accumulated without us realising it. We are presently in Manila for a temporary stay at my Mom's while we wait for the shipment of our stuff to be cleared and stored. The sorted items have been painstakingly thought through which we will need, once we find a permanent base.
"Believe that anything is possible and start each day with goals."
Unable to blog lately. Swamped by mixed emotions. I had no idea how overwhelming it can be. I am to pick up the pieces where I left off 12 years ago. It hit me, I have not registered to important things like healthcare and I have to dig up whether I do have my social security or SSS and Tax Identification Number. I interviewed my sister who works in HR for more information about highly recommended HMOs. Two names came up, Intellicare and Maxicare together with Philhealth.
Ok, I also have to change my surname to my husband's now, which I didn't bother changing when I was an expat working abroad. Oh, I haven't even started on the business requirements.
So, where do I begin?
My first few days were spent acclimating with the heat and mosquito bites. I do like it that I start sweating a lot more. I tend to move a lot, lots of walking and daily commute despite the heat.
Slowly getting the grasp on food prices. I found myself converting pesos to dirhams every time. I initially spent Php 1,400 on 3 days worth of groceries. Apparently, this is too much.
My friend, Shela, a former desert expat who has been living in the Philippines for more than 6 months now told me that she was like me in the beginning, but she now spends Php 500 for 3 days worth of food for 4 people ; breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The trick she says is to purchase eggs, rice, veggies and fish in the wet and dry market. This budget doesn't include condiments and toiletries which are better purchased in wholesale supermarkets like Pure Gold on a bi-monthly to monthly basis. She only buys meat once a week for weekend meals.
To my surprise, pork and chicken are cheaper. I was shocked to see how expensive beef is here! (Pork was really expensive in the Middle East and can only be found in selected supermarkets). I followed Shela's advice and I did challenge myself to go to the dry market. It works!
"Drink water and eat more real food."
I started a detox challenge for 5 days. It's easier since my Mom is a vegetarian. Despite having a healthy eating lifestyle back in the Middle East, my husband and I intend to continue the same habit here, however adapting the locally available produce in our daily diet.
- A glass of lemon water before breakfast
- Ovo-vegetarian meals
- No fizzy drinks or canned juices
- No junk food, sweets or refined sugar
- No alcohol
- Since I'm a coffee addict and will die without coffee, I'm limiting to 1 cup a day.
- Limiting carbs like white rice, pasta and bread, unless they're brown
- Yes, to healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and high fiber oat bran to fuel me during the day
- Drink lots and lots of water.
While in Dubai, I started a high intensity training program at home which I continued in Manila. Yes, I am without a gym membership. A pair of rubber shoes that I borrowed (because I accidentally shipped mine), a working laptop to run the workout and I was good to go. I am also happy to see that my physical activity increased when I moved to the Philippines. I walk for about 4-5 kilometers daily instead of taking the tricycle and recently started doing pilates along with the detox challenge. Once I get my Vibrams back, I'm definitely going to start running, especially once we get to France.
"Buy good books and make time to read more."
I found this book and it has been an inspiring friend. I'm so glad I purchased it. It keeps me positive and aware of what I am doing wrong so that I can correct them. It's interesting how I'd randomly turn a page and it would lead me to words that I would need to face on that particular day. Like an oracle of sorts. Definitely a feel good read.
"Find the best in others."
It's easy to spot what we admire and love in people we already like but to see the best in the ones that test our humility and patience is still challenging for me. I'm still a work in progress.
"Show the best in me."
I actually don't know what I should do with this exactly but being able to write this post is my way of showing that I'm willingly following wherever this adventure God placed me in takes me and despite how sad it can get sometimes for giving up a career that I love in pursuit of something I don't know, in a place I once vowed I'd never come back to, I think showing up every day and doing my best is how I'll fulfil the goal this year.
Lastly, hug the ones I love. This reminds me how I appreciate every given moment with the ones I love, my husband, my daughter, my family and friends. I will continue to hug them whenever and as often as possible. Hugs XX
Love and light,