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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Only Weeks To Go...

I'm lucky. Less than 3 weeks away from delivering my second baby and I only gained the recommended 23 pounds so far. My baby seems to be a good size, so my tummy is quite protruding but the rest of my body is still quite slim. People keep commenting that from the back, they wouldn't guess that I'm actually heavily pregnant. Looks like I wouldn't really need any weight loss product after I give birth! But I may need exercise since from my experience with my first pregnancy, I look perpetually 3 months pregnant even after giving birth!

I am thankful that aside from a few minor discomforts, my pregnancy has been progressing nicely. My baby is going to be delivered by elective Cesarean section on June 18, 2009, a date my mother and I picked using the Chinese calendar. I am praying that she will be a healthy, happy baby who will grow up to have a wonderful life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grandma's Birthday

My grandma's birthday was yesterday. Although we're doing the "real" celebration (with dinner at her house with the whole clan) this coming Sunday, we couldn't let the day pass without at least having a simple celebration.

We all wore red (or at least tried to) when we went to their house for breakfast. 2 red candles were lit for good luck. Instead of our usual breakfast, we had special birthday noodles (misua) with hard boiled eggs (delicious!) and tea. And, of course, we went and greeted her happy birthday!

We didn't have a birthday cake yet. I guess we'll have one on Sunday. But that's okay, because for traditional Chinese families, the birthday misua is more important. It symbolizes long life. The birthday cake is a Western adaptation.

I think some Pinoys have adopted our tradition of wearing red whenever somebody celebrates a birthday. I love that color, it's so happy! And for Chinese people, it is usually associated with such happy celebrations like birthdays and weddings.

Grandma is now 87 years old. She's still very clear minded and very wise. I wish her more good years to come!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Not Quite Like Mom

My father loved my mom's cooking. He doesn't get to eat his meals at home often, but when he does, he usually requests that my mom prepare the meal herself. However, there are certain dishes wherein he always feels that HIS mom does it much better. Like the traditional si-but soup. He always claims that my grandmother, his mother, does it best, and however hard my mom tries to copy the recipe, she doesn't get the exact taste that my father was looking for. For us kids, however, it was just right. :)

Since I've been married myself, I've since discovered that my husband looks for qualities of his mom's cooking. No adobo or dinuguan is as good as his mom's. I believe that I do a mean adobo, but his taste is different from what I am used to. His mom's adobo is very simple, with no laurel leaf and no visible peppercorns. I haven't actually done it myself since it's quite a staple when we visit on weekends. His taste is also on the Ilokano side, when compared to mine, meaning he doesn't really like too many spices and too complex tastes. I like putting some ginger in fish and shrimps so that there would less of the fishy smell, or in my beef stew so the smell will be less gamey but he doesn't like ginger AT ALL. He also has a taste for processed meats like hotdogs, bacon and corned beef which I enjoy only once in a while. Well, I'm Tsinay, so there's bound to be differences, and I've accepted the fact that there are some things that I'll never compare to his mom. They do say that a man loves his mother the longest. Maybe I'll have the same place in my kids' heart. :)
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A late entry to Wifespeaks: Foodie Wednesday. :)

Covered? Enough?

My husband just paid his premium on his life insurance policy. Although it's a bit of a drain on our resources, we are aware that we need to have life insurance because we have a family and dependents. Most oldies (both Chinese and Pinoys) do not really appreciate the value of insurance, thinking it's more of a drain on their pockets rather than ensuring a bit of financial support for the family in case the unthinkable happens.

Now, I'm thinking if we should add to our insurance since we are now expecting another baby. I am pretty sure our present coverage is enough for at least the short term, but just to be sure, we'll also be checking some lower cost term life insurance rates so that we know our options on whether or not it's wise to get more insurance. It's a good thing I'm also covered by the SSS so that should also give something additional.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chubby Kids

One thing that Chinese and Filipino elders have in common is their fondness for babies who are chubby. Most oldies think that chubby babies are cute, and they are, really. However, overweight babies do have the tendency to become overweight kids, and later, overweight adults, when they then think about diet, exercise and weight loss pills because by this time, everyone wants them slim. It's ironic right? Not just that, being obese also poses a lot of health problems.

That's why I want my babies to be just at their ideal weight. Not too fat, not too thin, just healthy enough. I do not want to give in to the pressure of fattening up my kids so they'll look commercial worthy (at least here in the Philippines). I want them to have a good and healthy image of themselves, and be happy and healthy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ideal Marriage?

Father Pete admonished us during the Homily in our Nuptial Mass: "C, J was my classmate in elementary and high school. I will tell you that she is not a perfect woman. And J, C is not a perfect man. That's because wherever you look and whatever you do, there is no perfect man or perfect woman because all of us are not perfect."

I think that also applies to marriage. There is no perfect marriage. There is no couple that doesn't (secretly or not secretly) have a few peeves about each other. But there are couples who realize that marriage is always a work in progress, and by both parties.

What makes marriage close to the ideal, in our book?

  • Understanding
  • Compromise
  • Complement
  • Communication
  • Faithfulness and Loyalty.
  • Acceptance
  • Sharing
  • Individuality
  • Openness
  • Humor
  • Love
And what destroys a marriage? The opposite of what is above.

Both my husband and I try to work towards a good marriage, and so far we've been happy in it. :)

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This is my entry to Wifespeaks: Speak Friday. Do join us!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Marriage of Different Cultures

Times may me more modern now, and interracial marriages are becoming more and more common, but traditional Chinese families would still prefer their children to marry fellow Chinese people. I didn't really understand that but I realized now why parents feel that it's "safer" to stay within the bounds of the same culture. No matter how integrated your family is with your adopted community, there will always be differences...in taste in food, in beliefs, in practices, in how one relates to the family, etc. Marrying somebody outside the same culture would raise alarms in a parent's mind because they know how difficult it is for one to adapt to another person, what more to another family and even more if that person has a different cultural background.

Of course, true love does conquer all. I've married somebody not Chinese and we have strove to adjust and complement each other. It's not easy though, in addition to having to adjust to a person who's raised by a wholly different family, we're adjusting to a partner who came from a whole different culture. But it can be done, as long as we're both committed to our marriage.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Skin Talk

It never fails to amaze me how good my mother's skin is, compared to mine. She does not have as many trauma brought about by bad acne, which I have despite undergoing numerous acne treatments. Of course, she's older now and her skin is showing some signs of age, but she could still pass for somebody in her late forties or fifties (she's now in her early sixties). Her mother, my grandmother, also had very good skin.

If good skin were due to genetics, how come I'm not lucky enough to inherit the "good skin genes" from my mother and grandmother? Or maybe it's already something environmental and diet. They had better diet with emphasis on vegetables and cooking with little fat and oil. I grew up in an environment where fast foods were easy to come by. Pollution maybe? Stress? (Medical school was soooo stressful, and that's when most of my pimples cropped up! But then they also had their own share of stress!)

I really hope that my children will inherit better skin than me. After all, they always say that the Chinese have beautiful skin. I just never lived up to that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our Wedding Banquet

When we got married, the bulk of our wedding expenses went to food. We decided to hold our wedding reception at Gloria Maris Shark's Fin restaurant in Greenhills Shopping Center. In fact, we didn't really look for other reception venues. I insisted on it, in fact. I wanted a traditional Chinese Lauriat. Although it comes out more expensive than a buffet, the guests do not have to stand up to get their food and would just have to wait for food to be served to them. Well, there's a more important reason, which you'll know in a while :). Anyway, the venue was free since we availed of their reception package. We were lucky to have the whole of the second floor for our reception. It's a big ballroom type area. It helped that the date we picked was not really a popular date for weddings.

This is the menu that we ended up with with (It's a pity I didn't think of having somebody take pictures of the food):

Cold cut combination
Hot chicken salad
Double luck shark's fin soup
Black Mushroom with shell meat abalone
Peking duck
Steamed lapu lapu
Minced duck meat in lettuce leaves
Fried Crab with salt and pepper

Noodles
Dessert

The food was delicious and abundant! And more importantly, they are symbolic. Food served during a Chinese wedding symbolizes something. These are a few of those symbolisms (Thanks to My Little Kanchiu Book for these interpretations):

  • Shark's fin soup: indicates wealth because this delicacy is very expensive
  • Roast suckling pig (usually included with the cold cuts): symbol of virginity
  • Pigeon or peking duck (or other fowl): symbolizes peace
  • Crab: red is the color of happiness, so serving crabs or lobsters would signify joy and celebration. Also serving the dish whole would symbolize completeness.
  • Fish: Fish or "yu" sounds like "plentiful" in Chinese. Therefore serving fish means wishing the couple a life together with abundance.
  • Noodles: Noodles served at end symbolize longevity because noodles come in long strands.
  • Dessert: Symbolizes a sweet life for the newlyweds. Sweet lotus paste in sweetened steamed bread symbolizes fertility.
  • Tea, alcohol and soft drinks are supplied at a Chinese wedding banquet. Offering tea is a sign of respect. Alcohol is served to celebrate the special occasion.
  • The number of viands is also significant. There are usually 8 in a Chinese lauriat, not including the noodles or rice and dessert. 8 is the number of prosperity.
Isn't it nice to know that even the food you serve also symbolizes all the good things that you want in your married life? :)

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My entry to Wifespeaks: Foodie Wednesday. Do join us!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Our Wedding Proposals

Proposing directly to the girl you want to marry is mainly a modern Western influence. In older cultures, even in the West and especially in the East, the proposal is directed towards the parents of the bride-to-be. In modern Chinese-Filipino families, I guess it's a combination of both, the guy asking the girl to marry him, and if she accepts, the formal asking of the hand from the parents. The latter is usually seen as a formality but a momentous event.

My husband did not go through the grand gestures that are movie worthy. He did not spend a lot of money buying adspace on a large billboard along EDSA, or propose during a concert in front of a large crowd, or buy me an expensive dinner with the ring inside the dessert. But, hey, that's my man, and I wouldn't have him any other way!

He actually proposed 3 times. The first time was in a parking lot. I do not even remember the date. We were just talking seriously, then he asked me: "Would you be my wife?" No drama. No ring. Just him in all his seriousness and sincerity. I said yes.

The second time around, we were already talking about getting married, but I think we haven't settled on the date yet. We were watching "Lord of the Rings" on DVD. Of course, there was the "one ring" in the movie. When the characters were talking about the one ring, he took out the rings (engagement and wedding rings!) from a container on the coffee table, still in its resealable plastic bag, and presented them to me. I can't remember exactly what he said, something like "what about this ring?" I can't remember how I responded either! But I'll always remember the moment. It was hilarious but strangely touching...and it was different, and so HIM :).

The third time around, we had already set the date. It was the day after my birthday and exactly 5 months before our altar date. I was in the clinic. He came in the clinic with a dozen peach roses and the engagement ring, now in a velvet box. My patient, who was a female, can't help but smile :). I was surprised but happy, because it was something I actually didn't expect him to do. If you know my husband, he's not one for grand gestures, so this certainly counts as one! Of course I said yes! (hey, we already have a date!)

Oh, we did finally have a pamamanhikan 2 weeks before the big day. It's another story which is best told another day. But, yes, he did formally propose to my mother, even if it was so near our actual wedding date.

Ours is such a simple story, but something I wouldn't regret. I don't envy the grand proposal just because I know that I got what's important...a man who loves me and shows me everyday that he cares by the little stuff.

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This is my entry to Chika Tuesdays. :) Click the button below if you want to join in :)

Wifespeaks: Chika Tuesday

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Expecting....

The Chinese believe that the day and time of your birth influences your destiny. Since I will be scheduled for a Ceasarean section delivery for my second child, I have decided to let my mother help me pick a "good" date for my daughter's birth. So far, we haven't really decided, but we have to, and soon! It finally sank in that my daughter will be born in less than 2 months! And we still haven't told my obstetrician our preferred date!

I just had my check up yesterday. I have gained 7 pounds in the last month alone! Whoa! It's so difficult to check my eating lately, as I'm constantly hungry and my usual portion does not satisfy me as much as it did before. But it seems that most of my weight is due to the baby, as aside from my tummy bulge, I did not seem to gain any inches elsewhere on my body. If my past pregnancy were any indication, I would, hopefully, be back to my pregnancy weight within 3 months without diet, exercise, or pills like Fenphedra at all. All I did before was breastfeed.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my baby will be healthy. That's the most important thing of all!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chinese Opera -- Declining?

My mom was watching cable TV when there was a feature on the Chinese opera. I actually do not enjoy it as much as other people do, but I could see how it is a beautiful part of the Chinese culture. In the days before movies and TV, these are what people line up for. My mother told me that my grandmother (her mother) was a great fan and would try to watch as many of those as she can, much like how baseball fans try to get New York Yankees tickets as soon as they come out. The young Chinese (like me, unfortunately) do not appreciate this art anymore and would rather watch concerts and soaps on TV, maybe because we no longer see it. This is sad. We should still recognize this as a valuable part of our heritage.