Throwback Series: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Expat Life, Wanderings

If you’re living in the UAE and haven’t yet visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you are greatly missing out on a rich cultural experience. The Grand Mosque is a symbol of the diverse Islamic community not only of this country but of the whole world. The architectural design is impeccable. The grandeur and solemnity elates you yet also calms your senses. Seeing it in pictures and being there in person are two different worlds.

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Located in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, the Grand Mosque is one of the largest in the world and can hold about 40,000 worshipers at one time. The ceiling is adorned with gold-plated chandeliers made of Swarovski crystals while the floor with hand-knotted carpet. It is a magnificent sight to behold.

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Of Pomegranates and Monasteries: A Trip to Armenia

Expat Life, Wanderings

*This has been sitting in my drafts for over a year. Never had the time to transfer and process the photos. Excuses, I know. ;-p

My best friend and life partner recently came back from a trip to Armenia where pomegranates are abundant, wine is cheap and ancient monasteries are a common sight.

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Sevanakvank Monastery at Lake Sevan.

This country in the Caucasus region is famous for the magnificent views of Mt. Ararat which is actually located in the eastern part of Turkey that borders with Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is believed to be the mountains where Noah’s Ark rested after the great flood.

La Mer on New Year’s Day

Expat Life, Wanderings

Happy New Year everyone!

Quite late but we’re still on the first month of 2018 so it still counts! 

Dubai has always captivated us in terms of architecture, open spaces and its beaches. We hail from a quiet and laid-back province in the Philippines so coming here and seeing all these mega structures just leave us gawking. It’s not that we don’t have high-rise buildings back home but here in Dubai, it’s just different – in a fascinating way.

So on the first day of the new year, we went for a walk along the newest beachfront development in Jumeirah 1 – La Mer

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It’s like a city on the beach. The vibe was very relaxing with all the contemporary, rustic and minimalist elements all coming together.

Of Living and Working Abroad

Expat Life, Random Musings

I always knew that I wanted to live and work abroad. I’ve had that idea at the back of my head for a long time but I just didn’t know when and how it will happen.

Then came March 2014 when I knew it was finally time. I got really determined after receiving the unfortunate news of Mat’s denied working visa application to a colder part of the world. Though it wasn’t personally mine, it was a vital step to achieving our life goals. After that heartbreak, we tried another path but it seemed that there was something else meant for us, for me.

So to cut the story short, I arrived here in the deserts of Dorne on a cold and windy winter morning of November 2014.The universe conspired for me to be  here. Back home I literally had zero savings at that time, not even a single peso in my pocket. But things will happen if it’s meant to be. I have always believed that. So by His faithfulness and my father’s generosity (through his retirement money), I was able to fund my plan to be an OFW. Hurray!

I was scared and had a lot of questions but definitely excited for the whole new experience. After more than a month of job hunting and several cries for financial help from home, I landed a job in a real estate company where I met my sisters by heart (I’ll write about them soon).

The struggle is real. This is a popular line I usually encounter which became true for me when I was already here. I was culture-shocked, from the environment to the weather, people, language and way of living among others. I didn’t know what I was feeling that time and it was difficult for me to process. I felt alienated by all of it. I dismissed the feeling of homesickness as I did not want to go home just yet and put all my efforts (and my parents’) in vain.

For 26 years, it was my very first time to move out from the comforts of our home and be really independent. I’ve been here for almost two years now – the longest I have been away from my family. A lot of realizations poured in and I am proud to say that I have survived the first few rounds and will continue to hurdle the succeeding ones. Every waking moment in this sandy pasture is a day full of promise. A promise that someday, I’ll be able to live the life that I have imagined for myself and my family and that at the end of this journey I will be stronger and wiser.

P.S. It takes a lot of courage, strength and maturity to be an OFW. I salute all those who have been working away from home enduring all those lost years with their loved ones. Hindi po biro ang inyong pinagdadaanan. Mabuhay po kayong lahat!

P.P.S. Mat-Mat is my Jon Snow, my soul mate and my destiny. 🙂 ❤