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.

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”

My Filipino-Style Korean Beef Stew

My Filipino-Style Korean Beef Stew

Growing up, my mom’s only slow cooker recipe was Korean beef stew. It was sweet and there are cute sesame seeds floating on top. Falling off the bones tender, it was always a hit among my siblings and I.

Then in 2006, I went to Korea to become a flight attendant, knowing only one dish I could probably survive with. In a few weeks of training, I tried to learn the language to the best of my ability (well, I know how to read the characters) because it’s quite difficult to go out and just make assumptions about the food. I tracked down the beef stew which translated to 갈비찜 (gal-bi-jjim), but it was nowhere near what my mom cooked.

After a year with the airline–my tolerance for spicy food has become significantly higher–my parents were then eligible for free tickets. They decided to go to the US, but along the way–as any [Filipino] parent would–they planned to stop by Seoul for a few days and see what my overseas life was like.

Spicy food being unpopular in our household, I warned my parents that almost everything was spicy (except if they end up at an Italian restaurant or a bakery). My mom said, “Well, just tell me where to get Korean beef stew and I’ll be fine.”  Continue reading “My Filipino-Style Korean Beef Stew”