Treats of Massachusetts that Make It Homely

MassachusettsWith the passage of time, I have figured that one can call any place their home provided there is love and compassion. Finding my love across a continent, there is not a moment with Mr. Right that I regret moving away from my dear home. However, there were times too when my husband used to be busy with work and I was stuck in an alien city not knowing what to do feeling extremely lonely. [Read more...]

5 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Move to Another Country

Airplane in the sky at sunsetIf you’re mulling over the decision to move to another country for good, you ought to realize that this is a life-changing choice you should carefully think over based on your priorities and values. In my case, love and having a family of my own won over the other factors I considered. But marriage is not always the reason why you would have to migrate to another country. [Read more...]

Finding Happiness Through Cosmetic Surgery

Everyone dreams of having a long and lasting relationship to treasure for the rest of their lives, but unfortunately not everyone can have it. Some people patiently wait for the right person to come along, while others strive very hard to put an end to the search. Everyone has their own ideals, but it breaks my heart knowing that most people today are more interested in physical attributes rather than the person’s character. It seems to me that those people who are not blessed with superstar looks are more likely to suffer from waiting because of something that is not actually their fault.

It is normal for every woman to think that she is beautiful, but honestly speaking, I consider myself as average when it comes to looks. Just like any normal Filipino teenager, I tried everything to enhance my average beauty. I learned how to apply makeup effectively, to dress appropriately, and to act correctly in public. With all the years of learning and hardships I went through, I believe that now I have achieved most of my dreams. I endured various types of rejections in the past, but now I am very much needed by one special person, my husband of eight years.

There are times when women who are about to reach their 30s get teased for not having a boyfriend or having any plans of marrying someone. The joke actually hurts, because I believe most women want to get married and have a family. Although there are those that are resigned to the fact that because of their looks, it might be impossible to find someone willing to marry them. It could be stressful and depressing for someone who desperately wants to marry yet cannot do so. This desperation at times lead to women finding alternative solutions, such as cosmetic surgeries, to enhance their appeal and find the happiness they crave.

I am not ashamed to admit that I too, had cosmetic surgery. For me, it is like magic that transformed me from a not-so-ugly duckling to a swan. Most of my friends are complaining about their flat chests which made me realize that I also wanted to have bigger breasts. I did not rush into it headlong, though. I did my research while still in the Philippines. I learned how much it would cost, the process involved, the recovery times and everything else I need to know. Money was not the issue back then. It was my fear of being under the knife. All those needles and sutures make me shiver. My savings had been preserved due to my fear, but at the back of my mind, I was still cherishing the idea of having bigger breasts someday.

My husband did not allow me to get a job ever since I set foot in the United States so I spent most of my time online. I did a lot of research on the process of getting breast augmentation in San Diego. Upon checking out this website, I learned that they offer laser breast enhancement, which surely does not have any surgery involved. After some thought and a talk with my husband, I started looking up renowned cosmetic physicians online.

It has been two years since I went through a breast enhancement operation and I can say that it helped me a lot. I became more confident in facing my husband’s business partners, and they praise him being lucky to find a beautiful Filipina wife.

Of High Heels and Designer Clothes

I grew up reading Vogue and looking at Runway magazines from the shelves. If there was extra money, I’d buy back issues, you know the ones which weren’t sold from previous months, and pore over them like they were sacred texts. I loved fashion and everything that was beautiful and I had a keen appreciation for art and beauty. That didn’t mean though that I only liked the expensive brands. Back in the Philippines, I was able to buy nice-looking heels which didn’t cost very much. I had nothing against cheap heels since I only used them for special occasions. In fact, most of the time, you’d only use a pair of shoes once and that’s it.

When I got married to an American and migrated to the US, all of these changed. My husband was not a wealthy man but he liked to lavish me with gifts and give me a taste of the life I did not have. We’d go shopping for designer bags and branded clothes and yes, expensive shoes as well. I did not realize that red-soled shoes could be so expensive! But I didn’t complain as they fit me very, very well. So from rarely wearing heeled shoes I went to to wear six inch heels to corporate functions and parties that I attended with my husband. I felt proud and confident that I was wearing body con dresses and magnificent jewelry. At the end of the evening though, my calves would ache from wearing heels for long hours. This was a problem that I rarely encountered in the Philippines.

Back in Manila, people don’t wear heels 24/7. The working class wear slippers which we fondly call tsinelas when they commute to work in the morning. These slippers are all weather and all-terrain proof. They make it easy to run after jeepneys or ride buses to and from work. The corporate heels are worn once inside the office or the establishment where one works; they are again removed once the clock hits five o’ clock.
I was an office girl once too, but I wore maybe two-inch heels which I shucked once I was seated at my desk. I wore them whenever I got up and whenever there were meetings and presentations. We cheat, yes, and that is why I did not have this problem before: varicose veins.

I didn’t want to think that it was because of my age so I told my husband (who adored my legs, by the way) and he immediately sent me to see the top vein doctor in Manhattan. I raised a quizzical eyebrow because that seemed a little extreme. It was only a few veins, not like I was unable to walk or anything. Anyhow, I followed his advice and booked an appointment with a vein doctor in Charlotte. We were traveling at that time and I didn’t want to wait until we were back to get a consultation.

True enough I needed some treatment to get rid of the spider veins and varicose veins which were spreading up my legs. It wasn’t a life or death situation, true. But I’m glad that I chose to do something about it rather than wait for the condition to worsen.

Choosing and Decking the Deck

One thing I noticed in most of the homes in my new neighborhood was the ubiquity of deckings. There’s hardly a house that did not have it, as far as I could observe. Somehow,I felt like our newly purchased home could be better with the installation of a new deck.

I’m really happy and thankful I didn’t have to spend a lot of time working on my documents and other legal requirements to be able to get married and move to the US. I can’t say everything went easy breezy but I’m just glad my first few problems living in a new country involved decisions on our new home and not issues on my legal documents. My husband wanted my opinion on everything. I helped him pick our new home and he gave me the responsibility to decide on what to do with the old deck that required renovation.

I thought it was better to have the deck renovated or to have it destroyed to build a new one. Fortunately, it wasn’t difficult finding a decking supplier and builder. I just asked some of my new American friends and they enthusiastically offered recommendations. Well, there weren’t that many construction company review websites back then so relying on the Internet was not that viable. The recommendations of friends were very helpful.

I decided to go for a softwood deck. The wood used, as I was told, was called spotted gum. Yes, the name had some influence on my decision to pick it. It intrigued me somehow and I thought it wasn’t a bad choice considering its high density and toughness ratings. The colors available were also great.

After a number of days, we finally had a new deck. It provided a very comfortable place for relaxation. It was completely different from the old one we had to dismantle. However, it lacked the appeal. I knew it could use some decking, some decorations and the addition of elements to make it comparable or even better than what the neighbors had. Yes, admittedly, I exerted quite an effort to have our new deck built because I was slightly jealous of the decks our neighbors had back then. After all, I was trying to live the American life and spending some time at my new home’s deck to enjoy the new environment was something I really wanted to do.

Decking our home’s new deck involved the use of some color coordinated potted plants, chimes that produced soft beautiful sounds, and some rustic-like furniture. My husband contacted an electrician to have beautiful warm lights (including a dimmable one at the center) installed. Overall, I really loved the result. In a way, that new deck sort of became my initiation to American living and styling taste.

Important Paper Management Tips

While moving across continents, I developed several habits that were alien to me before the big change. One of the many lessons that I learnt the hard way include certain paper management tips. There are times when old records are needed in an emergency, or when a new application needs to be filed and paperwork has to be done. On such occasions the following paper management tips helped me get through many chaotic issues that could have developed serious consequences in the long run. 

Maintain a Log at Home
In Manila, there was a rare need to maintain logs of house income, expenses, utility bills and other installment slips. However, in the US if we need to apply for a loan, invest in a property or file our taxes, the need to maintain a log is essential. Good Housekeeping has plenty of organizing ideas, but my favorite is to buy a multi-layered folder and make sections of all bills, receipts and other important papers. Without spending more than 5 minutes on a daily basis, all the important stuff goes into one place without getting mixed up or disappearing when needed.  

Scan Important Documents
With my experience, I have learnt that all important documents should be scanned so that in case any of the hard copies goes missing, there is a way to retrieve it. Although places like hospitals, car insurance companies and financial organizations do have a copy of the agreement or reports, but to sort it out and get the original one back having a soft copy helps a lot. I came across a document scanning service (http://www.prodocumentscanning.com/), that makes the entire job easier. Paper management and keeping important records intact are not a problem ever since I started availing the services of these document scanners. 

Store Data in a Removable Disc
Apart from having a log at home and getting important papers scanned, I developed a habit of saving it on a removable disc such as a CD or USB. This reduces the chances of losing data in case the system breaks down or a virus deletes the data stored in the hard disc. Being cautious and keeping important documents safe is better than going through lengthy procedures of retrieval. 

Tips for Immigrants on Avoiding Legal Entanglements

As unfair as it may sound, being an immigrant in one country creates a de facto disadvantage when it comes to dealing with legal problems. There are many reasons for this. For one, an immigrant may not know that much about the laws in the country. The immigrant may not be familiar with the justice system. Also, locals still have some level of partiality in treating with non-citizens or immigrants. While there are those who are already tolerant and more accepting, there are still many who have varying levels of discriminatory attitudes. Thankfully, I haven’t encountered legal issues and problems myself but I can attest to how differently you will likely be treated if you are just an immigrant in a country. If you want to avoid having legal problems in the country where you want to move , remember the following tips and suggestions:

Always have the necessary documents or papers to prove the legality of your stay in the country. If you are working, you should have the necessary visa and papers. Identification cards and licenses are going to be very important in establishing identity. Also, be sure that your documents are valid and updated.

Be familiar with the laws of the country or at least the state or city where you intend to reside. There are many seminars for immigrants that can facilitate this. Know your legal rights and responsibilities. It is also advisable to have your own efforts to learn about the general laws and local rules and regulations of the town or city you intend to become a permanent resident of. There’s no excuse in being ignorant of laws and rules. For instance, you can’t excuse yourself for violating traffic laws just because you’re new to an area. Moreover, be very careful not to violate any of your visa provisions and requirements.

If you change your address, be sure to notify the office or agency that oversees your immigration process and documents.

If there is a criminal record or undesirable information about you or the people closely associated with you, it is recommended that you disclose it. This is to avoid suspicion. Being honest has its advantages although it does not necessarily augment or hasten your immigration application. I know of someone who had to look for a defense attorney as he needed a Tulsa criminal defense lawyer for misdemeanors just because of a small misunderstanding.

Associate yourself with other immigrants with good standing. It helps networking with or establishing links with other immigrants in the area you reside in. There will be times when you will need help and there’s nobody more likely to extend it than other immigrants like you.

Essentially, avoiding legal entanglement boils down to being careful not to violate laws by knowing these laws and trying to learn more than just the basics. Discrimination against immigrants should never exist but it’s better to prepare for it by being highly aware of your rights and responsibilities.

Lifestyle Changes Due to Migration

It is true that your lifestyle will depend on the location you are in. When I was still living in the Philippines, it was so hard for me to spend my money on things that I do not consider a necessity. I previously worked as a fast-food crew, and only receive minimum wage. Since I don’t earn that much, I always made sure that every cent I have would not go to waste.

My lifestyle in the Philippines was very simple. I sleep, read, go to work, and go back home after working long hours. Whenever I have free time, I normally surf the Internet to avoid unnecessary expenses. I am so used to this simple routine that I never thought would ever change. Let me just share the story of how I made it to the United States.

Since I am a bit stingy and I spend most of my free hours online, I met this wonderful man who changed my life. At first, I was hesitant to join chat rooms because it sounded silly. Then I finally came to the point when net browsing was no longer fun, so I decided to join a chat room. That was where I met the love of my life. After a few years, we decided to get married and he brought me to the U.S.

My first months in the United States were a bit uncomfortable, since I am not fluent in English. After a few more months, I finally got a job as an office clerk. One thing that I love about working here is that I earn more, compared to the salary I received in the Philippines. But given the high cost of living in the U.S., what I earn practically covers only my personal expenses, but just the same, I am not as stingy anymore, given that I can depend on my husband for other expenses. Still, I decided to enroll in a health maintenance organization where the best dentists in Toledo are affiliated. Check this website to find a Toledo dentist learn more about one of the best dental clinics in Ohio.

Migrating to the United States was indeed a life-changing event for me. But of course, there are times when I wish I could visit my hometown where all my favorite local dishes are available.

Curling Crazy

Ten years ago, I moved to the US to marry my fiancé. While I never regretted the move, I can honestly say it hasn’t always been easy!  One of the biggest problems I have faced is over my appearance – not because of other people but because of me.

Hair-Raising

Traditionally, Filipino women have long dark straight hair that is very thick.  Yes, I know this is something that many Western women would kill for but I wanted a change. I was fed up with having the same, stereotyped style, day in, day out, but I was worried about going to a hairdresser because I didn’t know if they would be able to do anything for me.

When I first got up the courage to go visit a hairdresser, I was too scared to ask for anything more than a basic trim.  While they did a good job of it, I wasn’t happy because it was nothing different but I didn’t dare try anything else.

I went and bought myself a curling iron to try something new at home but failed miserably because I didn’t check out the best curling iron for my hair type. I gave up after that.

Friendly Advice

Gradually, I made some friends here. It took me a while because I felt different and thought that everyone else saw me as different, an oddity. Little did I know how untrue that was!  It was only because I was so unsure of myself that I was giving off an air of aloofness, putting up a shield around me that said I was unreachable.

In time, I began to change, to become more confident and the day my defences broke down was the day I learned what true friendship was all about.  I made a few close friends quite quickly after that and it was one of those that introduced me to their hairdresser and, I have to say, I have never looked back!

Instead of just trimming my hair up, I was talked into a complete change of style – I never knew my hair could look that good with curls!  Since then I have never looked back and now own the best curling iron for thick hair – my information came from this website.

As well as my life, my appearance picked up, boosting my confidence no end and helping me to settle into my life much easier.

I Love Doing Home Improvement

I love my life here in the United States. Although I found adjusting to life here very hard, I was able to get used to it after a year. Since then, I’ve enjoyed every second of my life here.

Still, even though I’m having a great time here, this doesn’t mean I never get bored. My kids are in college now, so I don’t really have to do a lot of stuff at home anymore. Thankfully, I found something that helps me pass the time. What’s amazing about this hobby of mine may prove to be profitable in the long run. If we’re on the same wavelength, then you probably already know that I’m talking about: home improvement.

Home improvement is definitely one of the best things I’ve gotten into in life. I think it’s time we do away with the notion that only men can do home improvement. People need to acknowledge that women are just as able to do “tough” jobs as men. I’ve succeeded in doing so many DIY home improvement projects, so I’m definitely not exaggerating.

Of course, just because I engage in DIY home improvement doesn’t mean that I never get help. Just recently, I decided to redo the entire roofing of my home. Obviously, you really need to make sure that you know everything there is to know about roofing if you want everything to be perfect. Luckily I have cousins who happen to do roofing with roofing companies Toronto and NY residents can hire. So yes, they flew all the way from Canada to New York to help me out a week after I talked to them.

Thanks to the shingles replacements and the roof repair Toronto based cousins of mine did for me, I’ve been able to make my home a lot more beautiful. Not only that, its value rose by a hundred thousand dollars! Can you believe it!? I guess they really weren’t exaggerating when they said that the right home improvement projects can improve the value of a house significantly.

For my next project, I’m going to get help from my cousins again. This time I’m going to have a roof deck installed on my roof. I was quite hesitant about it when they first visited, but I’ve made up my mind. I’ve looked at the pros and cons, and I can definitely say that the pros far outweigh the cons. The view from the roof deck alone is surely worth the effort.

If you’re currently thinking about doing a home improvement project, then do think about addressing your roofing problems. If you haven’t checked your roof in a long while, then odds are it probably already has a hidden problem or two already. If you find that your roof does have problems, do not worry. Fixing a roof isn’t as hard as it seems. It’s actually just a matter of being smart with how you do your roofing work. If you can’t do it on your own, you can always get help. Just make sure the people helping you out actually know what they’re doing.

Moving to Your New Home in Another Country

Moving to another country and living there for good requires a lot of time and effort. There are several documents to be processed, which can also be costly. Once everything is settled, you would feel a mix of happiness and sadness. You’ll have to leave the people and places that you’ve grown to love, but other opportunities and a new life opens up for you in the country that will serve as your new home.

Even if your new home is ready when you arrive, you would still spend time organizing your things, as well as decorating your new place to suit your style and preference. Here are some tips that you may want to consider to make your move more convenient.

Take a Rest

It would be difficult to immediately start organizing your things and your new home the moment you arrive, especially if it’s a long haul. Get a proper rest. You would be able to have everything done faster if you’re well rested. Once you get enough rest, you may start unpacking your things.

 Communicate with Your Partner or Housemate

If you’re living in the house alone, you can change the design to whatever you prefer. However, if you’re moving in with your partner or you’re sharing it with someone else, it’s vital that you also consider what they think. After all, they will be living with you in your new home.

Let them know what you would like to add or change in your place and ask them what they think. You should be able to compromise in order to have a smooth relationship and peaceful home.

List the Things You Need

Determine the things that you need to purchase and take note of them to make sure that you don’t forget anything. This includes kitchen supplies and products like food and cleaning equipment. Stack up on the ingredients and food items that you need so there’s no need to go back to the super market or grocery store often. Cleaning products are also important to keep not only your kitchen, but the whole home clean. A clean home is a nice place to live in and it also prevent health problems caused by dirt and germs.

Keeping yourself busy with work and home can help you get over homesickness, which you may feel on your first few days or weeks in the country. Go out and discover your neighborhood to have fun and familiarize yourself with the area.

Family Support for Drug Addicts

Drug addiction is a very sensitive topic. You can find people who are addicted to drugs all over the world and their number are undeniably increasing. When I still lived in Manila, I saw how many people started using drugs in a very early age, and it saddened me. Instead of attending college and focusing on their studies, they squander their time and money on party drugs as a way to bond with their friends. It saddened me even further to know a member of my family, an uncle, also fell prey to drugs. Children being stabbed to death by their parents, people committing crimes to supply their addiction, and people destroying their good relationship with their loved ones, are just a few unfortunate events that can be linked to drug addiction. At first I thought this scenario only happen in the Philippines, but when I migrated to the US, I found that it is so much worse here.

Originally, the goal of every government is to stop drug addiction, but it seems like a long-term process. Preventive measures are already set, but it wasn’t enough to stop the problems. You can also find anti-drug advocacies created by non-government organizations which are composed of normal and concerned citizens who also hate the idea of drug addiction.

It is true that prevention is better than cure, but with this topic, prevention is very hard to achieve, especially if the people don’t really want to keep themselves from trying out drugs. Same goes for cure. An addict who doesn’t want to be cured of his or her addiction will never get cured. But at least for those who do want to pick themselves up, there are drug addiction treatment centers like the ones in California that help them do so, it is now possible to rescue addicted individuals and give them a chance to start over with their lives. Rehabilitation centers have two types: public and private. Private centers are more expensive than public centers because the expenses for the rehabilitation process are not supported by the government.

The support of the family is very important in helping a drug victim with his or her recovery. With the intervention we did for with my uncle, we were able to send him willingly to a rehabilitation center. It cost a lot but we all pitched in what we could give. Of course, additional prayers are also important as making God the center of the whole process of every drug victim’s recovery.