Monday, May 28, 2007

The comedienne is out

Nel is the certified comedienne in the family. Ever since she turned 3, she has improved her language skills, though we still have to comprehend, if it is strictly Thai, English or Filipino. Whenever she drops a phrase in any situation in the family, it sure is a punchline and all of us will be laughing our hearts out.

As you all know, our visa has been approved and relatives in the Philippines has long been requesting that Nel be allowed to spend a few weeks there, if we can't afford to go home. As soon as the proposal is becoming imminent, Nel started to feel uneasy and started expressing that she doesn't want to go home.

We can't help but feel for our youngest daughter as she embrace me whenever we take a walk and tell me, Tatay, 'yoko uwi Pinas (Father, I don't want to go home in the Philippines). Ahhh, my heart is torn between giving in to the request of the relatives who took care of her for almost a year and my daughter wanting to be with her sisters, mother and father.

We tried hard to convince Nel that it will be a short visit and she'll enjoy her stay there. For a moment, she'll be eager to go home but as soon as time passes and she realizes reality, she's at her complaining and pitiful mood.

When my sister-in-law arrived, she's the one who would accompany Nel for her travel to the Philippines, Nel was very excited to welcome her and playfully embraced and entertained her. However, as soon as she realized that she'll be the one to accompany her back to the Philippines, she started to be aloof with Ate Beth.

We were able to convince Nel that the trip to the Philippines is a thing she should welcome.

So, at the day of her departure (last Monday, 21 May 2007), she gamely posed for the camera and was quite excited to go home. She was indeed excited to see her cousins, the children of Ate Beth. She now has three playmates.

She, however, stayed with my parents first then spent the weekend in Batangas, where my father-in-law and my sister-in-law's family stay.

During Nel's first few days in San Pablo City, we called her. The first sentence that she blurted to her mother, the first time she spoke very clearly, Nanay, ako iyak, miss ko na kayo. Uwi na ako diyan, ha?! (Mother, I cried, I miss you all, can I go home now?). It was devastating to hear that she misses us just as we miss her so much. But I know that our family in the Philippines also misses her that much.

Love is a balancing act and it is a difficult balancing act. We are hoping that the visit was a quality one for Nel and our relatives as it might take three years or more before we are able to visit them again.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Cha-am Weekend Outing

Two of my colleagues are retiring in a few weeks. So, some of us organized a fitting despidida for the two. We went to Cha-am last weekend and it was a good weekend outing for all of us especially my family.

On the way to the Resort and Golf Club, we made a short stop for lunch at a nearby beach. The kids definitely enjoyed it. It was raining during last few days but this weekend was definitely fair. The breeze was also a welcome treat. :)

Enjoying the horizon.

At the hotel, we warmed-up with a short family workshop. The organizers had a mosaic workshop for the families. So, we joined and here's the product of our race against time.

At the program proper, our kids did a song and a dance number. Here's a short clip of the dance number.

After singing the night away, we finished almost midnight. The following morning, we hit the pool as soon as we woke up. It was also the last day of the outing and we'll be riding out to Bangkok later that day.

Nel was so cold that she's shaking so we resigned after about an hour and a half--just in time for the arrival of the van. On our way to Bangkok, we shopped at Factory Outlet. They have a good line of signature product stores and amazingly cheap! So, we did not waste time and shopped a few winter clothes. :)

The kids definitely enjoyed the weekend outing and we finished it by eating our favorite stewed beef at a nearby restaurant at the office.

Waiting Game is over!

After twelve weeks and four days of waiting (with one week due to unavoidable circumstances--my wife had her period that we failed to take the medical exam immediately), the waiting game is finally over. We've received our freshly stamped passports with a four-year visa!

It was Monday morning when I first learned about the news. I just thought of checking the AVFS website to see the status of our passport--I was scheduled to check on it on May 16 as I've written in a previous post. It was an easy morning anyway, holiday in Bangkok--but we have a regular office day, so no harm, I checked the site. To my surprise it was already in the Visa Application Centre since Friday (4 May), to think that we've just completed our medical examination last May 1.

OK, it was already with the AVAC but, call me pessimistic, I'm not sure whether it was with a stamp or not. So, I decided to keep the news to myself and did not break it to my wife. It was a holiday in lieu of the coronation day last Saturday so, I had to wait Tuesday afternoon to collect the passports.

I had a meeting nearby so, it was also a good opportunity to visit the place. After collecting the passport, I never opened it--might as well share it (the joy or grief) with the family. I went on with the meeting--it was exhausting. Finally, on my way home, I called Dei and asked her to check the website of AVFS, the website of the centre where we lodged our visa application. She still has to open the laptop. The other night I was telling her that I was worried about the status of our visa--cruel me!!--when I already knew that I'll be collecting it the following day.

Then when I stepped in at our unit--I flashed a print out of the passport tracking status. Dei literally jumped and shout for joy! Then I showed her the sealed envelopes with our passports. The kids were sleeping and I was shouting to wake them up but they didn't move a finger. So, we proceeded to open the big envelope, I hurriedly read it and it says

I am pleased to advise you that your application has been approved

So, my joy was complete upon seeing the letter and more so, when I saw the fresh, crisp stamp on our passports. At least, this cup has passed--now the serious work begins--research, research, research.

God is definitely good!

We are greatly indebted to my Aunt, Ms. Loida Caro, for expressing her support for our stay in Australia by lending her bank accounts, to my advisory committee who expressed willingness to assist and to all friends and colleagues who lend their hands and knees in prayer.

Many thanks, maraming salamat po, khob jai, khob khun maak khrup, merci!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


We finally completed the last of the requirements for the consideration of our Australian Visa, i.e., after the favorable assessment of our pre-visa requirements. Our medical examination went well. We are all healthy according to the medical examination results. :)

Another waiting game, we are hoping that the Embassy would be able to receive the results within this week and we expect an action from them or the return of our passports the week after my birthday--hopefully a fitting gift.

Please continue to pray for this next stage of our visa application.