A New Family Member :)

Finally.

After 10 years.

I have a dog.

Well, technically we, me and my husband have a dog :). Isn’t that exciting? I’ve always wanted to have a dog but when I was living in Manila, living with friends in an apartment or condominium didn’t allow it to happen. It’s either dogs were not allowed or in many of the cases living friends who don’t like dogs made it impossible.

Meet Muta – his a Cavoodle, crossbreed  dog of a Poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

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How to survive in Oz

It’s like “Survivor” reality show.

It’s a continent and a country at the same time.

australia

Well the first sentence was an exaggeration. Australia is a big country, with 7,617,930 square kilometres of landmass compared to Philippines which is 300,000 square kilometres. It is 25 times bigger than the three major islands of the Philippines. I’ll share a few things I’ve learned and discovered in the land down under.

I’ve been in Queensland for a year and have experienced the four seasons already. Unlike Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania where you get snow during winter, Sunshine state – as it’s popularly called doesn’t get one. Being used to only two seasons, it was the first thing I got myself struggling with for a few months. Summer starts from December to February and boy it does get really hot, scorching hot. It different in the Philippines where it’s “maalinsangan”, it feels more like the sun is so near that when you get out during these days, it burns the skin. Temperature can get up to 36 deg.Celsius up to 40 deg.Celsius during the day. Then by March to May, Autumn comes which is a prelude to winter. I enjoy this time of the year as leaves turn to bright orange like sunset color ’til they fall off the ground. It’s lovely walking and biking around, during this time. After that, you might want to get ready for a fridge like temperature. Well, it’s not that bad really, you just need to be ready for changes every day or every couple of days. It could be a good winter chill then the next day it could be a terrible temperature. As a Pinay, I am not used to checking the weather daily. I think it’s helpful to do that when you will be in Oz for the rest of your life. I still need to do regularly by the way and I need to remind myself of doing it all the time. Spring is great, the word itself need not a whole description. You just enjoy ’til you get the next season 🙂

Apart for the four seasons, it is a country where people use their own car anywhere they go if they can. In the city I live in, people rarely use public transport. It might be different on the bigger cities or business areas like Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney. Some cities have a lot of buses and trains that are available. It’s a lot less crowded and minimal traffic congestion than Manila. Public transports have schedules so you need to look at the timetable and get there on time to catch a ride. It will be good to learn how to drive. But before you can do that you need to get familiar with the road rules. They have different rules and you need to pass an exam about the road rules before you can get your learners. After getting your learners you need to go to through Provisional Licence before your real driver’s license.

Are fond of street food?

Sorry to say the Australia is strict with their food safety regulations. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a  stall  selling your favourite grilled barbecue or kikiam. You need to go to a shop like 7-eleven or a fast food chain to grab a quick bite. Speaking of food, there’s a lot of restaurants in Australia that offers different kinds of cuisine, Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese, Thai, American you name it, they have it. You’ll never go hungry. It also has it’s own original Aussie food like meat pies, it’s a pie the size of your palm with  minced beef, mushroom, cheese, onion and gravy. Pavlova a meringue, soft and light on the inside topped with cream and fruits like strawberries and kiwi. Australia’s famous barbecue – lamb, pork and sausages grilled on a huge oven like bbq oven. This country also has a number of delicious chocolates – Tim Tam, Cadbury, Pods..yummy

bbq

Australia has a lot of beautiful sights, parks, gardens, animals, beaches and zoo. There are countless of activities and places to visit. They have the iconic Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Uluru, Alice Springs, Great Barrier Reef, Great Ocean Road and many more. There’s always something to do and somewhere to go to in one state or territory.

Now let’s go to Aussie slangs.

Have you heard of this? Yes, like any other language they also have their own way of communicating effectively with their mates. Check this link to get a view of what I’m talking about:   Aussie slangs.

  Don’t worry you’ll learn in time, on your own pace.

For someone who is travelling or about to spend the rest of their lives in a different country it’s about right to learn or read about all these things for easy transition. Being on a different country is great however you need to be flexible enough to know the country, culture and the people. You might be used to slurping your drink where you came from while it’s considered rude in Australia , these things can be avoided with a little effort to know the country you want to visit, travel to or migrating to.

    A little research and you’ll go a long way 🙂

Cheers to finding your way to survive in the Land Down Under!

 

 

 

 

references:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiquette_in_Australia_and_New_Zealand
photos: https://www.australianexplorer.com/slang/phrases.htm

 

My relationship with Australia

I think I might start to write something about how my journey began…I don’t know how to call it but looking back, I felt like it was all connected. Everything just fits in together…why I ended up here in Australia.

It was 2010 or 2011 when I started searching for pursuing another course in college – I’ve always wanted to contribute to my country and to my fellow Filipinos hence my eagerness to be a part of the education system in the Philippines. This desire was due to my experience of what school is like in my country – I was lucky enough to have been able to finish my first course through a scholarship grant and it was not an easy journey. Have I not succeeded in passing the exam, it will be a real struggle to get funds to continue studying in a university. I wanted education to be accessible to those who want it.

I was on vacation and spending Christmas holidays in the province when I started searching for scholarships, online education, schools that offer night classes etc. I was determined to finish a degree in education, work for the government – in the education field then get a scholarship from Australia. I saw in one of my research that Australia gives scholarship to those who want to pursue higher education, as long as the scholar will work for the government in his own country in the chosen field of study eg. education. So since then Australia has been on my diary, list and plans.

But it didn’t stop there. Before having that long term goal of getting a scholarship from AusAid, I have been working in a BPO since 2009, my first account was on a graveyard shift. It was a blessing in disguise that after 2 months, the account was closed and we were advised by the company that we will be transferred to a different account. I didn’t have any idea what will happen next. We were asked to take an exam about computers, modem, etc. then that was it. I didn’t have a job for a week. Then after that I received  a call from HR that I will start on a new account – Bigpond Technical Support .

That’s  a bit of how I started getting to know Australia.

Craving: Street Food

Isaw. Fishball. Siomai. Halo-Halo. Biko. Puto. Suman. Green mangoes with sauteed shrimp paste and because Christmas is just around the corner, the purple rice cake with coconut shavings, sugar and cheese cooked in a tiny cylindrical container over fire…puto bumbong, so tempted to have it… but not here in Australia.

filipino-street-food

One thing I missed the most is the Filipino Street food.

Living in a country where thousands of vendors flock every corner of the street, it is far cry from the highly organised roads in Oz. Philippines, a group of island or an archipelago has a lot of influence from a couple of countries that invaded it hundreds of years ago. Spaniards, Chinese, Japanese and Americans contributed to this wide array of food we prepare, from the way it’s cooked to the ingredients we put in; but Filipinos are creative and resourceful. Pinoys found the most bizarre parts of chicken and pigs useful. The head, intestines, ears, and even feet of a chicken can be thrown in the grill and sold at the streets. And yes, I enjoyed eating these stuff. Who wouldn’t like to eat the grilled crunchy pig’s ears? And the mouth watering taste of  duck’s fertilised egg…yummy!!

Spending my 28 years in the Philippines, street food has been a part of my DNA. I enjoy eating isaw with my friends and had grown up with afternoon snack which I buy at my grandmother’s store out in the streets. There’s boiled sweet corn, rice cakes and halo-halo during summer. Meryenda or afternoon tea/snacks is part of a Pinoy meal. Children from school come home with meryenda or just buy some as they walk pass the street vendors on their way home. Easy food – cheap and yummy.

With that culture I grew up with, I still cook meryenda / street food here in Australia, though it’difficult to buy chicken feet at the grocery. And there’s no market or palengke here. They have occasional weekend market that sells all veggies and asian veggies, but hardly or not the things we see in our palengke. Australia has strict rules in food preparation and consumption, and street food is not in their culture either.

I guess, I’m just craving puto bumbong at the moment.

 

Happy Independence Day, Philippines!

When you are away from home, the best way to celebrate Philippine Independence Day is through Barrio Fiesta in Brisbane. The festival is held every year to celebrate our freedom, but also to feel closer to home as you meet fellow kababayans and eat a lot of Filipino food.

Barrio Fiesta

I have been in Australia for more than six months and ohh boy, do I feel homesick at times specially on some occasions.  The  ways Pinoys, make every celebration like a feast. I miss the heaps of  food on the table, the never ending visitors coming in and out of your home and of course videoke. The closest I can be Pinoy again is being invited to a birthday party or christening by the Filipinas I met in Australia.

So when my husband said there will be a Filipino Festival that held this week, I felt excited. We went to Rocklea Showgrounds yesterday. Brisbane is an hour and a half away from home, so we drove early morning,  8:00 am to the venue. We got there on time to attend the mass. Part of readings were from Luke 7: 44-50;

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, butshe has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among[a] themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Yes, our Creator forgives our sins, without reservations if we repent with all our hearts.

It was a great day that started with God’s message.

After that, the smell of food being cooked around the grounds were hard to resist; we roamed around to check what food to eat. My eyes were full, so were my senses of smell. Gosh, it was a feast! There were more than 25 stalls of food, from the usual street food of the Philippines to the sumptuous menu you prepare during fiestas.

We tried sisig and longganisa with rice for AUS 8. Hmmm, yummy, the first bite brought me home. Then we craved for more, salivating while we were doing the rounds of choosing what was next. I saw a few holding bowls of food, scooping warm and aromatic food. Wow! Arroz caldo, I grabbed my husband and told him, it’s a must try; and it did not fail, arroz caldo never fails.

There was so much I wanted to eat that day, kare-kare, menudo, dinuguan, bopis, barbeque, empanada, turon, banana-q and kamote-q; it was  a tough choice lol! 🙂 My husband, Stephen, saw his favourite Ilocos Empanada and without batting an eyelash bought one for us to share. Ube cake and cassava were mouth watering, I was never a fan of Ube cake, until I tasted the one we bought in the fiesta.

After all the eating spree, we watched the kids dance tinikling, sang our National Anthem – Lupang Hinirang and also Australia’s Advance Australia Fair.

Tickets were sold for Entry at AUD 5 per adult and AUD 5 for parking. All visitors have the chance to win one of the two International  Return Airfare to Philippines sponsored by PAL.  The food were amazing, though they are a bit pricey; we shared all the food we bought to have more variety.

It was a great experience!  Will definitely come back 🙂

*photo from brisbane.barriofiesta.org/bfb2016