Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hari Raya = Trip Back to Manila

Living in KL means learning new things -- new culture, new holidays. It is the first time that I learned the true meaning of Ramadan and Hari Raya... apart from realizing it's an added holiday which you can get (when I was back in Manila they declare it a holiday but I didn't bother to know why).

Being among Malays at work made me realize the importance of their fasting. And even my single experience of Buka Puasa with a colleague made me appreciate the whole thing even more. It's such a great thing to understand the meaning behind what they are practicing.

The icing on top of the yummy cake is of course the added holiday we got. I was able to fly back to Manila for a 2-nights stay via Cebu Pacific (of course, what else?) Thank God for the Cebe Pacific flights which have made going back home so much more affordable.

The short stay in Manila surely made me realize many things (here I am again with my realizations....)

Yes, I do miss my family. I do miss my pedicure and massages. I missed grocery shopping in Unimart plus my "tiangge" shopping at Virra Mall and Shoppesville. One thing that I don't miss though is driving in Manila. Oh my ... the traffic in Ortigas was even worse than when I left! I wonder when will the government take all these things seriously? They are not putting permanent solutions in place. Plus all that never-ending digging on the road... when will they put a good road in place?

I tried not to complain about my hometown.... but really, the traffic and honking will get to you.

Apart from the heavy traffic, which will only get worse as December Christmas shopping fever comes, everything else was pleasant. I was able to visit the new Serendra strip which was bustling with new shops and restaurants. I had an overdose of sweets at the nice cupcake shop and the Miss Desserts place which served good cheesecakes. My sister showed me her new Serendra unit which was already handed over but going through some renovation before they move it. It seems pretty impressive -- so far one of the best projects in Manila.

I showed my other sister pics of our unit in Malaysia -- both the one where we are living in now and the one we bought. She was quite impressed with the layout and quality. I guess she sees it differently from typical people as she analyzes from the real estate agent point of view.

I still feel that we have made a good investment in KL, and I have good feelings about the years to come. There is potential growth in Malaysia, and as I said before, this is our new home.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hot Yoga & its benefits

When I started practicing yoga at YogaZone, I saw the Hot Yoga option and thought to myself "yukk, it must stink in there and all that heat, eww!"

Well... depending on who stays beside you, the Hot Yoga experience is great after all!

Calling all ladies (and gents) who aim to trim down in all the right places! Well, I have the solution!

Since I started joining Hot Yoga and Slim Hot classes, I noticed that the results came in faster. An added incentive is also the pinkish skin glow you will get after the class. I sweat more at Hot Yoga classes than when I stay 30 minutes at the treadmill. Plus, I get to work out those "flabs" at places where you usually don't reach with basic gym workouts. Overall, it is the best thing they have invented! I am pretty sure with at least 2x a week of Slim Hot for 1 month (and of course proper meal diet), one can turn flabs into muscles in a snap.

Like what they say, never judge until you have tried it. I gave it a try. Maybe you should, too!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Expat's absolute necessities in KL

Time waits for no one.

As we grow older, we become wiser. And that is what happened to me. Gone are the days when I would splurge mindlessly on silly things which I thought were "necessities" of life. Things like bags, shoes, make-up, and so on. I guess with age, plus my marriage, and moving to another country made me wake up to the real facts of life.

I started to prioritize things I will spend on. The definition of "necessities" have changed, too. The thinking pattern has moved from "ME, ME, ME" to simply "us". Now, there are new considerations which take some wallet share -- such as life insurance, health insurance and retirement.

What makes it complicated for us, unlike others out there, is because we are expats. Which means we are not sure where we will be months or years from now. Possibly, we may still be living here in Malaysia. Or maybe somewhere else in Asia. Or maybe France. Time will tell.

This makes choosing the right company to sign up insurance and retirement with an important consideration. We were able to get a health insurance for expats, which will follow us to any country we go to. It has a vast network and even covers maternity. This is highly important for me, especially since I have this big fear of childbirth. Blame it on the video which the teachers at my high school -- they showed an actual childbirth video and that sure scared the hell out of us (and a reminder that with sex comes risks... and that risk is getting pregnant at the wrong age).

There were many online expat insurance offers. But I'm traditional. I want to talk to a warm body. I have tons of questions. I was lucky enough to meet this chap who is very experienced with things for expats. His advise and time have shown us which health insurance to take, which retirement package to focus on and so on.

What I am driving at is that for expats out there, please take time to consider these things because it is important. It may not seem important NOW, because things are going well and you are living the moment. But one must sit down and think of these things. And should the day come that you do think about it, do consult an expert. That makes the "trial and error" go away, and believe me you don't want to end up with a wrong company or policy plan.

Thought of sharing this tip as I got a call that my health insurance card is ready. Do think about it!
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