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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Preparing For The What Ifs

I feel so bummed! My insurance coverage of 1 million pesos which seemed like a lot of money when I first got the policy now seems like it won't be enough. I do not have educational plans for my kids so if anything happens to me, they just have to rely on what they get from my life insurance. Schools nowadays charge as much as 6 figures per year, and that's not even taking into account the fact that tuition fees increase every year. That means that 1 million pesos really won't go very far, especially if you have to factor in the fact that they also have other living expenses. Arrgggggghhhhhh! Now I have to check life insurance rates to see if I should get more insurance!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mulan meets Ronald

I'm thinking of a Mulan theme for my daughter's first birthday. I like Mulan because she is not the typical damsel-in-distress who needs a prince to rescue her as is the case for most Disney females. She is a strong female character who goes to war not because she has blood lust or wants to be a man but because she loves her father so much that she simply does not want him exposed to the perils of war but instead takes his place.

I've been thinking about the details of the party. I'm thinking of dressing my baby in a Chinese costume, a cheongsam maybe, just because it's the easiest to find, although it's not in the same time period as Mulan. I'm thinking of giveaways, and in the course of looking, I found an online friend who makes cute paper shoes. I'm thinking maybe it would be a good idea to give those away, maybe an embroidered shoe design for girls and boots for boys. I'm not certain yet. Or maybe a fan? I'm leaning more towards the shoes simply because it's more unique.

I'm also thinking of asking the kids to come in Chinese costumes and giving away a special prize to the best in costume. Hmmm.

The catch is...I'm doing this in McDonald's so it's NOT gonna be Chinese food and a non-Chinese mascot is going to show up! Hahaha!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Living Arrangements For Kids

When we were still living in our first home way, way back, we lived in an old style apartment complex built by my grandparents for their sons. There was a big terrace between around and between the units. Very 1950's to 1960's. Of course, my mom's "garden" was a just collection of potted plants on the terrace. Anyway, for a feel of a real garden, we just had to go next door to my grandparent's house, as they had a lawn, fruit trees, a fishpond, outdoor d├ęcor, and the works.

Now I realize how lucky we are. Our apartment may not be as large as the house we are living in right now, but it was rent free and much larger than the condos that are on the market right now. I somehow wish that my parents had something like that for us, but of course times are different, property values have skyrocketed since my grandparents' time, and there are much less and much smaller lots for sale at a much higher price.

I do wish my husband and I could somehow invest in properties that we could bequeath to our kids so that they won't find it difficult to have a place to house their families. Oh well, here's hoping....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thoughts on Ge Lai

I remember I used to argue with my mother about the ge lai (one month confinement after childbirth) after I gave birth to my firstborn. She assumed I knew the rules -- I should not bathe/shower for the whole duration, I should wear long sleeved shirts and long pants as well as socks so that "wind" won't enter my system, and I could only eat certain foods. I didn't know, so I wasn't prepared at all. I balked at the thought that I couldn't take a bath, because I felt that was unsanitary and here I was, breastfeeding a baby. According to tradition, new mothers had to follow these rules so that they maintain their health and avoid the back and joint pains that would invariably occur if we're older if we didn't.

The second time around, I didn't argue anymore. I had my hair cut short so that I would not have to bother with it too much -- no need to style and less need to shampoo. I went along with the food restrictions. (It was a good thing foods served during this time were delicious, so I had no issues with them). I still have a difficult time with not taking baths, but I just adjusted and washed as needed and without telling (and arguing) with my mother.

I just thought to myself that the rules were supposed to be about taking care of me, so there were good intentions. My mother just imposed these because she loved me and wanted me not to suffer. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Acne and More

I've always wondered why I didn't inherit the good skin of the ladies in my family. My mother never seemed to have a problem with pimples. Neither did any of my grandmas. They had beautiful skin without having to resort to a rigid regimen, while I was still searching for the best acne pills or regimen even when I was already in my twenties.

Could it be because of stress? Well, I was a medical student when my acne problem was at its height. But they had problems too. Not less problems, just different.

Genes? Maybe from the males in my family? I don't know, they (my dad, granddad and uncles) don't have that problem too. But my brothers did, although they were teens at the time.

I don't know if I can blame location and the amount of pollution. Or maybe the food. One thing I'm sure about, growing up in China in the early 1920s -1960s is probably different from being a teenager in the 1980s and 1990s. We're exposed to different things. And it's not about pimples. We have different views. We see different people. We see more TV, read more papers.

We become the people we are because of the environment we are in.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Recharge!

I've been sporting perpetual dark circles under my eyes lately. I'm just really really tired. It's been so crazy busy lately, and I do need a vacation. Not necessarily out of town. Just a break from our daily routine. Work is good and pays for our needs. But we need a little time to recharge too.

I want a few days of not having to rush off to work, not having to face guilt over leaving my kids to the care of my mom, not having to worry about having enough money to tide over till the next month.

I want a few days of just relaxing. That's why I'm so looking forward to the Easter Break. We're not going anywhere, just staying home and chilling. I hope we'll get recharged.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fat To Thin

My brother used to be very overweight. Then he decided to hit the gym. He also has regular basketball games. Now he is so much slimmer, and people have been remarking on what seems like a quick weight loss. He is quick to say that it's not as quick as people think it is, he had to work out for a quite a time already before he was able to achieve all that! Yey for my brother!

But as with all good things, there's a flip side. Some people also feel that he now looks too thin. I don't know, his weight and BMI are okay, but he does look lean, maybe because we're all used to seeing him with his old, much larger frame.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Golden Investment For The Golden Years

We're at that point in our career when we really have to think of not only securing our children's education, but also setting aside something for when we grow old and retire. Of course, we know that retirement means that we no longer earn actively BUT we still continue to spend. Some things, like healthcare, may even be more of an issue at around this time.

However, we are admittedly cautious. We do not really have a lot of money to risk. And we cannot afford to lose any of our extra money either. If there's anything that the past few years of life has taught us, it's that you have to be ready for emergencies and you should have an investment that's easy to liquidate so that when you need the cash, you can easily sell it.

In that case, real estate is not a good choice if we're talking about easy liquidity, although it IS a good investment for long term.

My granddad, grandma and dad had great faith in gold. And I can see why. Gold's value is pretty stable so if you buy gold bars, there's a very good chance that prices will increase over time. And even if prices do fluctuate, it won't really become totally worthless like some stocks would if companies go bankrupt. Gold will always be considered valuable, which makes it worthwhile to invest in.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Want

Something happened yesterday which made me realize even more the need to seek income generating activities elsewhere other than our being doctors.

This does not mean that we are quitting the practice of medicine. It's just that the practice of medicine is pretty unpredictable-- you're not sure how much money you will end up with at the end of the day, at the end of the week and at the end of the month. And once you call in sick for just one day, you don't have income for that day BUT you still have to pay for the day's overhead expenses.

That's why I'm now taking on writing jobs aside from paid blogging and doing some online buy and sell thing. Which is great because I do love to write, and I could do so in my free time (which, admittedly, is getting less and less).

But I do feel that I would like us to have a business someday. A brick and mortar store with all the basic works, receipt printers and all. Something that will still run even if something happens and I'm out for the day. Something that I can actually bequeath to my children.

Something that most Tsinoys and Tsinays are known for -- a successful business.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Leaving Something

I just paid the annual premium for my life insurance. Many think of it as an additional expense, but really, everybody dies sooner or later and it's best that you've taken steps to ensure that financially, your family has means to recover when you are gone. I've started my insurance when I was thirty years old and single, after my father died and I realized how financially draining death is to the bereaved family.

I also realized that you actually get better deals when you are relatively young, life insurance for seniors is more expensive since, understandably, there's a bigger chance for seniors to suddenly exit because of some age related illness. So, yes, in a way, it's an insurance. I'm planning to make my whole life insurance self-liquidating in the future, then maybe take out another one.

Of course, it's also a way of giving some sort of inheritance to my family, since I do not have the resources to leave money or property to my kids at present.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stay Or Leave?

I don't know if it's just us, but lately we feel that it's a bit more difficult to earn money. The Philippines during my Angkong's (grandfather's) time was a land of opportunity, so there were a lot of people like him who left China to find their fortunes over here. Now the situation seems to be different, reversed somehow, as Pinoys now go to China for jobs. Fortunes do change,even in countries.

But there are even more Pinoys, Tsinoys and Tsinays included, who would rather leave and look for better opportunities in the developed countries like the United States. They look for jobs philadelphia and other places that previously were not really considered by Asians going abroad.

Now, the elections are near, which means more uncertain times ahead. While we currently do not have plans of going elsewhere, we are not totally closing our doors to that possibility if and when the situation would warrant it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Busy Busy

Additional clinic hours, new sideline, kids getting sick, ME getting, then hubby getting sick. I'm just starting to catch my breath here. I hope that's the last of the sickies around here and I'm really, really back to regular programming. I want to be able to go to work without worrying too much about my kids. I want to stay home sometimes and not have to take on extra clinic hours because the hubby is sick and cannot make it. I want to go to clinic on the days I should.

While I now have much less time to blog, write and to the other things I usually like to do in my me-time, including trying to get back into shape (if somebody gives me free nordic track coupons I might give it a try--if I get the time), I am thankful that blessings do continue to come my way.

Thank you, Lord, for making sure that we always get what we need (though not always what we want).

Monday, March 1, 2010

School Fees

Tuition fees are so expensive nowadays! I'm now paying more than ten times what my parents used to pay for my own schooling. Initially, when I was just starting to ask around, I really startled. I quickly realized that it is the ballpark figure for schools, especially for the ones near our home. I may be able to find a less expensive school, but those less expensive ones are further away from my home. That means transportation expenses will be higher too, so in the long run, the difference is actually not that big.

I am quite afraid of how high college will be. Imagine, if tuition for preschoolers are already this high, how much more of college students? I wonder if my husband and I got enough insurance coverage or if we need to get new insurance quotes in case something happens to us, because if there's one thing we would want our children to have, it's a good education. Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, it really does not come cheap.