Global Pandemic First Time Mum

In November 2019, my husband and I found out that we were pregnant, and in December got the news that we were having a little girl! How exciting it was and we ‘surprised’ our families back in Manila with the news on Christmas Eve. Plans were made for our parents to come to Melbourne to meet their soon to be newest addition to their grandchildren list.

But, as we all know, nothing was normal in the year that followed. Flights were cancelled, borders were closed. Even moreso, Melbourne was in lockdown with very few reasons to come out, and a 5km radius limit to where you can go.

I was lucky that during my birth, the restrictions still allowed for my husband to be with me in the birthing suite. Armed with midwives, epidural and a strong grip on my husband’s hand, our baby girl came into the world after 12 hours of [induced] labour.

Nothing prepared me for the first few weeks of having a baby. I guess I didn’t realise it even though I’ve lived with a newborn before, my niece, as there were many people in that household at that time to take turns minding the baby. With just my husband and I in COVID iso, things were much more crazy difficult.

However, I did feel that we were lucky that we were in Australia as the support we received with the health system was fantastic.

I’ve never really understood before when they say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I do now, even though my ‘village’ is admittedly just online for now.

I am very lucky to have a very supportive and mature husband, who is actually much more prepared mentally for all the hardships than I think I was. Baby blues aside, there was too much psychological barriers and ideals that I had about caring for bubs. No matter how many times I read an article that says I have to lower my standards, I couldn’t.

I wanted to cook. I wanted to clean my house. I wanted to take care of my husband. I couldn’t. For the first few weeks I was stuck with baby. I couldn’t do anything. Heck, I couldn’t even brush my hair. I definitely have forgotten to brush my teeth at times.

A month into it, we have come to an agreement for me to have a day off to myself as I was spiralling into some sort of depression. Of all the things I am careful about, it’s post-natal depression. For my sanity I have requested Saturdays to be my grocery day, do something I used to do or want to try. On my first Saturday, I did…nothing. I was lost. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know who I was. I broke down.

The outside world was sad and weary from the lockdown. It was starting to feel rather isolating.

Again and every time when I cry out of frustration and exhaustion, I never was prepared for this much. With gritted teeth, I said over and over again, “this too shall pass.”

We’re three months in now and my baby is growing beautifully. We have gone through so much and yet continue to learn. I’m wishing all parents of COVID babies the strength and resilience in this trying time. Parenthood was never meant to be easy, but a global pandemic is adding hurdles to it.

This post is a little bit all over the place, I know. My mum brain is on.

All This COVID

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the entire world are under attack by this virus. Nations big and small, wealthy and not, fighting their own battles.

In the most broadcasted countries, you can see how much different cultures are. How different people are. We’re in Australia where our state is implementing a lockdown of sorts, with only four reasons to go out:

  • Shop for essentials
  • Exercise
  • Compassionate purpose
  • Work/study if this cannot be done from home

I am still working on some days and I have noticed how significantly people are not home. The roads are decongested, streets are quiet and even pollution has subsided. While good effects, my heart goes out to all people who have lost their jobs and are in a difficult time right now.

Our families on the other hand are back in the Philippines where an extended community quarantine is on. The ‘ECQ’ if I understand it correctly, actually limits the people out of the house to one per household. Schools and offices are mostly closed, inter-city travels banned with checkpoints and needing proof for any good reason to be even considered to cross these borders.

It sounds like a lot more intense but honestly we can’t help but wonder why it’s not working. One morning, my husband asked me what I thought of what’s happening in Manila.

Why are some people not following? Why are people all complaining politics on Facebook? Why this, why that? How is Vico doing that, why can’t we see others follow suit?

See, I’m not ever interested in politics and truth be told I have long lost faith in Philippine politics. But here were my thoughts:

  • Filipinos don’t trust the government. At all. And you can’t blame the countrymen. Years and years of corruption, leaders going astray and scandals. Nobody actually believes (regardless of who is in power) that there are true leaders who think of the country’s good and not his own.
  • President Duterte may possibly have good intentions at some point, but the cascading of the game plan isn’t well-executed and most likely there are so many hands dipping into any well-meaning resolutions.
  • Empty words. We all know this too well. Campaign slogans and speeches all too good to be true, because it is.
  • The Philippines cannot to look after everyone. This is where the poor class vs middle class saga came from. Why always send help to the poor when the middle class is also in hardship? The country cannot afford it. The country cannot give due fairness to all. Also, the biggest voting social class are the lower class, that can also play a part.
  • There is a disconnect between the rich and the poor, the lowly and the powerful. The rich and powerful will almost always get away with things–just like health workers needing to test asymptotic public officials in the comfort of their homes, ahead of others.

There is no quick solution. Changing the president regardless of how good anyone can be will not have the massive effect if we don’t ‘detoxify’ the entire system.

Unfortunately, that takes guts, hardwork, and more changes from the ground up. I have seen many writeups about Vico Sotto; while I personally don’t know if he’s corrupt or anything, he is restoring faith in his people. If more politicians take the same stance, we can start the change from our own city, and influence the higher ‘management’.

Governments need not have likeable politicians. All a country needs is a government that people believe in. That the government will have the people’s best interest in every decision they make, regardless of how awful it’s being presented, how differently views and choice of words may be.

Easier said than done.

Hello from Melbourne

Hello from Melbourne

We moved to Melbourne.

I skipped two months of blogging because 1) we got our visas, and 2) my husband got a job offer in just a week after. We had six weeks to pack up our life in the Philippines–our 30-something years’ worth of ‘life’.

On my bucket list, an item reads: Live in a different country for at least a year. I’ve crossed it off before thinking living in a hotel in Seoul for three years would count, even though I get another room on a different floor every time I come back exhausted from a flight.

Six weeks was barely enough time to get excited. In fact, I think we didn’t get excited until we’re at the airport. My slightly OC mental task list was legit on a roll from the moment the alarm goes off. I had a Google spreadsheet of the tasks categorised and organised per week! (Trying to get used to spelling in Australian English, ICYDN.)

It’s now been a month since we left Manila, and we’ve just moved to our own apartment. (Nobody told me it was too tedious to do that here!) We’re happily surviving winter, and of course I am too eager to complete my small kitchen for my next kitchen adventures. It’s time to learn how to be less Asian now (in terms of cooking) and make do with what is more common in the market.

Excuse me while I resume cutting cardboard boxes so it could fit the recycling bins.

Becoming Plastic-Conscious

Becoming Plastic-Conscious

It’s Earth day today. And while I haven’t been writing much on the blog lately, I think it’s time to start my delayed posts about Earth Love. I’m dedicating a category for this.

If you don’t know, or you don’t see my earth- plastic-free- related posts on instagram, I’m also an advocate of a plastic-free life, and I encourage refusing single use plastics. While I’m not yet at the 100% of a zero-waste life, I’m working on it. My journey towards minimalism has enabled me (us) to focus more on what matters to ourselves, our values.

One thing I know: I hate litter. But regardless if I throw my garbage into proper disposals, the world still gets polluted by the minute. In this short post, I share how I became plastic-conscious. Continue reading “Becoming Plastic-Conscious”

GoodAh!!!

GoodAh!!!

Did you know that the famous Filipino term tapsi / tapsilog pertaining to tapa+ sinangag+ itlog was coined by GoodAh!!!? (Tapsilog is cured meat+fried rice+egg.)

Nostalgia hits (at least anybody around my age or older) when you see GoodAh!!!. I remember when I was younger and way too eager to learn how to swim, our parents would take us to Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City, and that swim sesh was always followed by a ‘refueling’ meal at GoodAh!!! (Gosh those three exclamation points, though!)

If there was anything it was good at besides their tapsilog, it was marketing. Almost anyone who’s ever been to GoodAh!!! will remember it is “Open 25 hours,” and that they serve food that is “Good for every-all.” These lines, these double-take worthy lines.  Continue reading “GoodAh!!!”

Toby’s Estate Philippines

Toby’s Estate Philippines

Despite numerous coffee shops sprouting at almost every other corner in Manila, most of the time my palate is unsatisfied. I still prefer coffee we make in the morning, usually drip, sometimes aero-pressed. Coffee for me is not sour, as with most blonde roasted cups served in a lot of third-wave coffee shops nowadays.

When Toby’s Estate launched in the Philippines, I honestly pre-judged it as something like Starbucks or CBTL – you know, places where people don’t actually enjoy just plain coffee. The concoctions mattered more than the coffee itself. One evening, we were walking down the High Street area and thought we could sit down and read our books. We decided to try the Toby’s Estate branch at Shangri-La the Fort. Continue reading “Toby’s Estate Philippines”

Poutine PH Review

Poutine PH Review

One weekend, we were at my parents’ house in Navotas for Sunday lunch. My kuya (elder brother) kept talking about this new place they’ve ‘discovered’ in BF Homes, Paranaque.

The story goes that he saw a sign that said POUTINE and a delivery motorcycle outside an establishment. The small letters under the sign said FRIES • GRAVY • CHEESE.

“Outside, it looked like a meat shop,” he said of the unassuming, underwhelming place, and thought that maybe they’re a supplier of pre-cut fries, frozen gravy, and some cheese. Oh bless his heart, he had no idea what poutine was! Continue reading “Poutine PH Review”