Be Still

Do you remember the time when you were asked to sit still or stand in the corner because you’ve been a handful all day? When we were kids, we don’t understand why our parents would give us time-outs when all we could think about is to run all over the place, jump, scatter toys, draw, ask questions, laugh boisterously… endless.

At 33, I feel that way. It feels like God is asking me to stay still when all I could think about is move. I want to take up programming, learn something new, finish work and do more, visit our satellite office, go to places, travel more, gym, facial… endless.

What’s stopping me is for one Lia doesn’t have yaya. I have to baby sit all day. In between I would fetch the kids from school, do errands, help kids with homework and prepare food. It wouldn’t be too hard if I don’t have work to do. Another thing, since we just came from a vacation, it’s not feasible to just plan for another travel even if I want to. But you see, travel for me is addicting. Not shopping but travel. If money is not an issue, I would love to go to Singapore-Thailand-Malaysia and Australia this year. Then next year we’ll be back to Europe to perhaps visit London again (Zach and Lia’s first time) or another Euro trip to Amsterdam, Spain and Greece. Dream… dream… dream.

As of now, not that I’m naughty, I decided to be a good child and follow what God wants me to do… stay still, relax, think, wait and enjoy the company of my family full time.

In good hands

I am slowly getting over the bad feeling I had with Colegio San Agustin and some of its educators. They recommended Marcus to be transferred to another school because of his behavior. It pains me because some students would repeat grade level several times or attend classes every summer while Marcus who doesn’t study much never gets a failing mark. He even gets very good grades in major subjects like math and science and yet he was ‘kicked-out’. I must admit he’s really a handful but we never tolerated all those bad actions that he did. I just thought that my efforts in explaining to concerned personnel that Marcus was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD wouldn’t turn out to be a futile attempt. The teacher was telling me that I could ask the Principal (a foreigner priest) for a reconsideration. What for? For me and my son to make promises to him and make my son feel that he is a terrible child. Never mind.

I know that one factor that made matters worse was when a parent wrote a letter to the Principal and PTA Officers to petition Marcus out of the school, treating my son like a monster. The adviser admitted that the parent was a bit over-acting. I humbly asked the adviser that I am open to a discussion so that the parents could hear my and my son’s side of the story. They didn’t ask for one which made me more convinced that those parents didn’t care a bit about my son.

I would have wanted to pull-out Zach as well but Zach was doing good and he likes the school so I cannot really sacrifice that just because I had a bad experience with my other son. But given the chance, I really would.

I just have a few message to those parents and concerned CSA educators;

1. I thank you because you made me realize that I shouldn’t have entrusted my son to CSA in the first place. I just thought that I enrolled my son to the best school within the vicinity. I was so wrong. Australian International School (previously Esteban school) is way way better than your curriculum and more importantly in how they handle children like Marcus. Marcus’ class is composed of less than 15 students. In Grade Six they are taught World History (instead of repeating Philippine history every year), Spanish or Mandarin, computer programming and advanced lessons in major subjects. They offer clubs without additional fee so now Marcus plays soccer and basketball on top of his PE. They believe in Marcus and they never branded him.

2. To the parents. You may have succeeded your way of protecting your child from one bully (which is what they think of Marcus), without thinking about my child’s future. Let me just remind you that there will always be a bully around your child, even after school. Protecting him/her that way will make your child weak and dependent. My child is not a monster. ‘Bullies’ need help not judgement from people like you. Besides, we’re doing something about Marcus’ condition. He doesn’t want to be like that.

3. To CSA, what about your anti-bully campaign? Is it to kick those bullies out instead of helping them? Or are you just scared of letting the ‘more powerful parents’ down. Letting them ‘bully’ you.

I don’t say Marcus has changed a lot already. It will be a process. But I can see that AIS family loves him. I pray that it will finally be Marcus’ second home.

What to cut?

Lately I’ve been thinking about cutting our expenses because our bills never fail to make me cringe. I’ve given up my budget and cashflow worksheets altogether because it’s so difficult to monitor, update and well FOLLOW them. I need to do this because I don’t want to find ourselves badly in debt in a couple of years… or (swallow hard) months from now.

Again, my family is composed of non-shopoholics, it’s just that there’s too much to pay for. To cut the story short, what I did was to enumerate those expenses that I have control of and try to evaluate what I can do with them.

1. Food and grocery items

This takes a big chunk from my budget. I can actually minimize this expense but why would I do that? With 3 growing kids, a hard-working dad and an all-around mom (that’s me), it’s unimaginable to have an empty pantry and ref. So, I’ve crossed this one out.

2. Education

To be honest we can enrol our kids to a less expensive school. BUT my husband and I agreed that we will make sure that we give the best education to our children as long as we can pay for it. Another one crossed-out.

3. Utilities

Since cost of internet, phone, association dues and water is fixed, electricity is the only utility bill I can manipulate. Unfortunately, my project of cutting the electricity cost never succeeded still with factors I have no control of. (You know what I mean, yes Meralco? Napocor?) So I grew tired of turning off unused light, timing the aircon and unplugging appliances and equipment. I am not really crossing this one out but this is not of major consideration.

4. Gym

I am still thinking if we’ll continue our membership after it expires. Although we’ve given up our personal trainors because they cost a lot, still the membership (x2) if given-up can be of big savings. I still have a few months to think about it. It will be hard to give up because going to the gym is our only means of sweating out (be it workout or sauna).

5. Eating out / Take-out / Delivery

Guilty! My family loves to eat just anything. We eat out a lot to our cravings’ content. I order food if I got tired of thinking about what to cook. We take out food as a sort of break from working (at home) all day. Food! Glorious Food! So now I decided to limit this expensive habit. Eating out would cost us at least 2k pesos. If I just prepare food, it will cost at most 500 pesos and it may even last to 2-3 meals depending on the consumption and amount when served. I guess it’s better to start with something and I know this one will be of great savings already.

Dinner in the sky

Not even in my wildest dream did I thought of getting near the Swiss Alps, more so have sunset dinner at the highest hotel of the said mountain, the 3100 KULMHOTEL GORNERGRAT. I have to say it’s an experience one should never miss in his or her lifetime, given the chance. To get there, from Zermatt you have to ride the Gornergrat Bahn train which runs on a winding path from Zermatt to the Gornergrat mountain summit at 3089 meters. During the ascent, you will be amazed by the magnificent view of snow covered mountain peaks, impressive bridges, tunnels and scary cliff. When you get there, you’ll enjoy the snow-covered viewing deck which provides a panoramic view of Monte Rosa massif, the Liskamm, the Breithorn and the majestic Matterhorn. The dinner on the other hand offers a 3-course meal of which Chinese fondue with various sauces (similar to shabu-shabu), fruits, chips and rice complete the main course. Words can’t describe the experience so better see for yourself.