Our Friendly Furry Neighborhood

Our Furry Neighbor

Once upon a time in a sunny afternoon

Neil and I went for a run

We met this cute little thing

A black and white domestic short hair

I named her Paws.

cats

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Such a cutie, such a sweetie

Made our day so happy

After the fun, we had to leave

Sad but soon we’ll meet again

Our friendly furry neighborhood

-Montecarpa-

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Long John Hunt On Easter Weekend

We went to Calgary on a Good Friday without any plans. We just packed our stuff and drove up to the city. No plans but one thing is for sure, we will hit Chinook Center and The Core for I am in search for work shirts. I need long johns in the pharmacy because my workplace can get really cold sometimes and I cannot focus on my tasks when my hands are frozen. They get stiff and numb.

I did not find any good deals for long johns in Chinook Center. Gerlie bought a pull over from Free People for her upcoming whale watching in Vancouver Island with the boyfriend and then we decided to hit The Core and get fancy. We had our lunch at Falafel King along Stephen’s Avenue and then back to The Core. The portions in Falafel King is huge. I felt like jogging in the restaurant after the meal.

So, I had purchased 2 pairs of jeans and cardigans. We tried on some Christian Louboutin shoes, Lanvin and Prada flats in Holt. I liked the Prada flats. They’re comfortable and fashionable but I’m holding myself not to buy them. It was very frustrating when you see an item that looks perfect on you but you can’t have them because they’re too pricey. We need more overtime hours in the pharmacy to have them. (lol) The thing is, we are not supposed to be buying anything fancy. We are there to buy our necessities. It depends on how you describe or give the meaning to necessity. That day, necessity for me is an item that you feel like you don’t have it even if you do…haha. I felt like I don’t have any nice jeans at all that’s why I bought some. Here’s the thing, I really don’t have a black and white cardigan and that makes me feel better (to not feel guilty). Still I did not find any long johns on sale. There are nice ones but they’re expensive and I don’t want to spend too much on work clothes. Why? Because they’re not seen anyway. I still have to put on my white pharmacist coat on top of my shirt. There should be something out there which has a good quality, comfy and reasonably priced.

It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and we have to rest for a bit. We drove to Holiday Inn in Macleod Trail South. As usual, the receptionists are very welcoming. We rested for an hour, had a power nap and prepared ourselves again for dinner.

We went to Thomsons Restaurant in Stephen’s Avenue. Neil and I have been there many times and we just keep on coming back. We liked the aura of the place, the food and the people. I wanted Gerlie to experience Thomsons as well. To cut it short, we had an awesome time in the restaurant. After dinner, we decided to go to Elbow River Casino and gamble. We had a great time! We won and we lost. Well, it’s not too bad at all though. We had set our limits so it’s not much of a loss. Yes, we lost but the experience we gained was precious. We enjoyed the Motown music in the casino. We had lots of laughs and excitement. Neil told us a news about a girl sitting on the corner while waiting for her boyfriend  just won $17,000.00. What a lucky lass! She got bored, inserted her money in the VLT machine, pressed a button and suddenly the alarm of a jackpot filled the place. I wished I got lucky that night too. C’est la vie.

It was Black Saturday, woke up and had breakfast in McDonalds. We went to Cross Iron Mills and again to search for the long johns. Finally, I found them in Tommy Hilfiger. They were 50% off the regular price. I was so delighted! I grabbed 4 different colors and design, tried them on and bought them. Gerlie had a nice cardigan and Neil had a pair of jeans and a knitted gray sweater too. After the purchases, we still browsed some of the stalls and had more shopping bags in the end.

Below are some of our photos in the wonderful world of retail.

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Camwhoring while waiting for Neil trying on Some Fred Perry shirts and jumpers.

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After shopping, we went to 17 Ave to have dinner in our all time favourite Filipino Restaurant, Pacific Hut. We ordered 4 heart attack dishes, crispy pata, pork sauteed in shrimp paste, beef in sour soup and “pinakbet” . After the gluttonic dinner, we went back to Chinook Center to buy Gerlie’s fancy Red Espadrille in Browns then back to Lethbridge.

That’s how we started our Easter Long Weekend. We had a fun adventure searching for long johns. How did you spend yours?

Once Upon a Time I had a Dream

I have always been a simple girl, happy with what I am and loves what I have until a good opportunity came knocking on my door. It has always been good to be satisfied with what the world offers you, but when something big is in front of you, we cannot just turn away and decline it. Everything comes into our lives for a reason. When opportunity comes knocking, it is always wise to be there to answer the door.

The universe offered me the chance to study in one of North America’s best universities. I know that there is going to be a large decision to make as I will be leaving my family and will be thousands of miles away from them.

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Imagine how far is Canada from the Philippines

Though I have to investigate further as no one ever knows where the next door will lead or the next bump in the road will take me, my family helped me realize that this could be the one big chance for me to change my life. Alright then, what does that mean? Upon thinking it through I did not even notice that I was lost at the moment! All I know was that I am contented with everything that surrounds me, I did not even think about my future or what lies ahead! I was unconsciously putting up barriers. I was so afraid to open up and try something else. I was trapped in unsatisfying existence. I was wasting my precious time doing things that I do not want to be doing. At that time, I was working for Mercury Drug Corporation as a Pharmacist II, the occupation seemed nice-to-hear but it felt like I was living the life that society had told me to live which is to find a secure job, work hard and work your way up the ladder. It slowly came to me and started dreaming high. From then on, I dreamt of U of T every single day.

“Discover who you truly are and fully give every aspect of your uniqueness to the world. This is your path to an extraordinary life.”

I watched the documentary “The Secret” and started from there. The documentary has helped me a lot to move on. I know it is going to be a tough road for me as there will be series of exams ahead before I can qualify to study in the University of Toronto. Like everyone says, think positive and that’s what I always did. I got hooked on watching the documentary “The Secret”, I have to see it a lot of times to keep me on track as during my preparation, there has been drawbacks, worries, complications, dramas, strangulating relationships and pain that affected my entire being. I must say, you just have to learn to ignore, be tough and be positive at all times! I realized that the worst that could happen by following my dreams and failing was still better than the unfulfilled curiosity of never trying.

“Our feelings are a feedback mechanism to us about whether we’re on track or not, whether we’re on course or off course. See it’s the feeling that really creates the attraction not just the picture or the thought”

Jack Canfield

“You want to become aware of your thoughts, you want to choose your thoughts carefully and you want to have fun with this, because you are the masterpiece of your own life. You are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David that you are sculpting is you. And you do it with your thoughts”

Joe Vitale

To cut the story short, I have passed every single exam and got qualified to study in the University! It was a magnificent feeling but it was coupled with anxiety. Just thinking about how far I am going to be from my family, it weakens me. But I have to fulfill a dream not just for myself but also for them. I have to be strong and be firm! And so I did.

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“If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.” – Sam-

I felt welcomed instantly as I stepped my foot on the North American ground but the anxiety is still there.  Though I cannot contain the excitement to start attending classes in one of the most prestigious schools in Canada, The University of Toronto, St. George Campus.

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The U of T lies in the upper reaches of the downtown Toronto area. It is surrounded by a combination of big and small office buildings, eateries, shopping facilities, a hospital, provincial government buildings and a plethora of miscellany among which is contained anything you might want or need. The campus is very large as one might expect. It is obvious that the buildings on campus have been built in many phases over the years, probably in a piecemeal fashion. They look extremely rustic, but beautiful. The ivy on the buildings and the landscaping was impeccable. The Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building is a newly built one and it looks amazing.

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The Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building at night

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The Leslie Dan Pond, a historical place for the International Pharmacy Graduates who used to sit on those little round ottomans while waiting for the next class.

The inner core of the campus on the circle is supposed to be the highlight. The buildings are magnificent. In between the buildings is a green area that sets off the majesty of the 19th century architecture. It is a step back in time.

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The neoclassical Convocation Hall is characterized by its domed roof and Ionic-pillared rotunda.

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The streets are kept really clean. There are many places to find a quiet corner to enjoy the great landscapes of the great green spaces they diligently upkeep. It’s so quiet and serene and the black squirrels have a field day. Libraries were excellent and Robart’s Library is one of the cities best. My personal preference though is the Gerstein Library where my friends and I stay to study for exams. There are many places to find a quiet corner to enjoy the great landscapes of the great green spaces they diligently upkeep.

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The Gerstein Library

This is not only an international gem of higher thinking, it is also a hotbed of creativity. There are no other words to describe than BEAUTIFUL.

I am so proud to be an Alumni of the University of Toronto and I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to follow my dreams.

 

A Plan To Buy Our First House

Have you ever dreamt of winning the lottery to buy a $500,000 worth of house when you do not even buy a single ticket for the chance?

It was a nice and warm day today here in Lethbridge. Neil and I went out to look for a possible starter house for us. Lethbridge, AB is definitely growing. It has been chosen by Moneysense as one of the best places to live in Canada in 2011.

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From Moneysense

Generally Lethbridge is a beautiful city, the people are friendly, the shopping is decent and if you need something special it is just a day trip to Calgary. You can get to anywhere in the city within 10 to 25 minutes. Though I must accept that the wind can be pretty nasty sometimes and it can get really annoying. Lethbridge looks after it’s seniors and you will appreciate that someday when you are one. There is plenty of activities to do here, you just have to look and if it’s not to your liking, again Calgary and Montana is not that far away. There are a lot of job offers as well. The grass may seem greener somewhere else but it sure is pretty green here.

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The Lethbridge Viaduct, commonly known as the High Level Bridge, was constructed between 1907–1909 at a cost of $1,334,525.

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The Henderson Lake. The park contains many amenities and attractions, including a 24 hectare (60 acre) man-made lake, the largest lake in the city. Several annual events are held in the park.

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Whoop-Up Days is an anual non-profit festival, exhibition and rodeo held in the city. The event includes a 4-km parade through downtown, daily concerts, bull riding, a rodeo, an indoor and outdoor trade show, entertainment on the free stage, a midway, HobbyWorld and city-wide pancake breakfasts.

I agree that it is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada as for the moment as there are a lot of developments going on. The city is great during summer season. Master builders like Galko, Avonlea, Milestones, Greer, Ashcroft and a lot more has been building gorgeous homes.

Galko Homes is, and has been Lethbridge’s premiere award-winning homebuilder for over 40 years as they claim. They have been building creative homes with unique features and superb quality that comes from decades of experience. Having said that, we entered their show room. They call it “The Prescott with Bonus Room” where the plan features 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. The family friendly main floor plan features a large island, fireplace in the great room, and main floor laundry. A large bonus room above the garage adds more square footage. The upper level is completed with master bedroom with ensuite as well as two additional bedrooms and full bath. The interior design was absolutely awesome. I was stunned and fell in love with the place! We checked out other plans too, but we cannot seem to like anything else. We already have set a standard for our dream home. They have a lot of exclusive home plans that we have checked, (http://www.galkohomes.com/?p=5&sp=23) and so far The Prescott was the most impressive for us.

The Prescott with Bonus Room by Galko Master Builders

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The Prescott with Bonus Room Living Room

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Dining Area

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The Kitchen

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The Master’s Bedroom with Ensuite

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The Large Bonus Room turned into a 2nd Living Room

Thinking carefully, the house was really amazing but it cost a fortune. We have a lot of questions to deal with.

Is it going to be practical if we are to buy this absolutely gorgeous home?

If we plan to settle in the Pearl of the Orient in 10 years time, is it a good idea to splurge on a massive house like The Prescott here in North America?

Can we still invest properties in the Manila if we are to pay a huge amount of mortgage every month?

Did we want to be a prisoner of our own house for the rest of our youth?

Can we still travel Europe, go on a Safari in Africa, discover the ancient civilization of Egypt, see the most beautiful beaches and a lot more if we are thinking about our monthly dues?

Is it a better idea to just be practical and buy a nice average house just for starter that will not cost us too much money?

Are we better of buying a house that is fully developed in a reasonable cost?

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It is really a tough decision to make. Maybe I should start buying a lottery ticket!

In buying a house, there are a lot of things to consider.

If you really are decided to fullfill a lifelong dream and buy your own home, you should be ready for all the pros and cons that is waiting ahead of you as it is one of the biggest emotional and financial decisions you will ever make.

Going from apartment renter to a home-owner is a huge change. A lot of different expenses might creep up. We will never really know for sure how much it is going to cost us until we jump in. It is not just about falling in love with the interior design of the model home. It is important to have some financial security, just in case something big goes wrong.

A lot of friends say that borrowing money nowadays are not as difficult as the skeptics make it out to be. Banks have tightened up their terms but now homebuyers can only have a 25-year mortgage with less than 20 per cent down payment which is not a bad thing at all. A shorter term means that we are more likely to purchase within a realistic budget, and we will end up paying thousands less in the long term.

There is so much more to buying your first home besides picking out the house and signing the papers. If you do not know how it all works before jumping in, then how will you really know what’s going on?

After our trip today, we learned a lot of things. As we browse the web looking for houses on sale, we had a second thought on buying a new house in developing areas. There are a lot of houses on sale that are already fully developed and gained it’s character in time. It could be fun to own a 5 year old house and make it your own, have a little project each month and decorate it the way you want it. But since we are still new to this buying-your-first-home dilemma, we have to have proper answers to these questions :

  • Do we have the necessary financial management skills?
  • How financially stable are we?
  • Are we ready to take on the responsibility of all the costs involved in owning a home, including mortgage payments, repairs, and maintenance?
  • Are we able to devote the time required for home maintenance?

For now, we have to save for our down payment.

Have a blessed day!