15 Sneaky Reasons why we buy things we don’t need and their Solutions

shopping

Are you one of those individuals that buy something you do not need? I have a list of 15 tricky reasons and noteworthy solutions. Be aware of it.  You might be in denial at the moment. Awareness is the first step to finding a solution.

  1. It is on sale or better yet is half-price!

This is my weakness. When I see an item that is on sale, I feel my hands have a mind of their own. My weak right hand ( not really)  reaches out for the item which at that moment I do not even need.

Example: half-priced chocolate

I tried to ignore the chocolates and came home empty-handed. After dinner, I had a craving. I opened the pantry and lo and behold, no chocolates!  I opened the can of Milo and ate one spoonful of it. To my dismay, the boys saw me and I unintentionally introduced them to the path of eating a spoonful of powdered Milo. Guilty as charged! (Mugshot front view, mugshot side view). What have I done!

If you are not a chocolate lover, maybe your weakness is:

Photo by Jeremy Wong

SHOES! Are you pumped up?!

a. half-priced shoes?

b. on sale bags?

c. slashed prices of clothes?

d. super cheap home decor?

e. all of the above?

I am truly excited for you if you have found a bargain you need. However, if you have tons of clothes in the wardrobe still with tag prices, piles of shoes almost not worn at all, branded bags in the cabinet only used twice a year, then ask yourself, do you need it now?

Solution: “Do you really need it?” Your mind says “Yes! Yes!”  Bring along a disciplined and logical friend with you so he/she can stop you from what you’re going to do. Avoid junk mail and online updates of sales at all costs. If you can.

Photo by Evelyn Mostrom

I got your back, my friend.
  1. You don’t feel good.

Have you experienced those days when the moment you wake up, everything was set to make you have a bad mood? It is mid-day and your mind was racing with the idea “Oh, I hope this day ends soon.”  The day is over and you feel lousy. The shops are still open. Ha! You were just telling yourself, “I will just look around.” Nope. Before you went home, you bought something. It felt good, right? After a few days, you convince yourself, why did I buy that?

Solution: Be mindful of what you are doing when it’s a rotten day. What is your option that will make you feel good that is free and will not bust your budget? When the day is awful, I talk to a trustworthy loved one who is willing to listen to my dramas.

Photo by Kris Atomic

Guess what happened next sis? It will blow your mind …blah blah
  1. You are bored.

You do not want to stay home so you made up your mind to go window-shopping. Oh, the shopping center is begging you to come in and look around! Suddenly, your eyes fancy that item which for the sake of buying, you buy it. The promise of just window-shopping was thrown out of the window. The end

Solution: Stay at home if you do not have a goal or list of important things to buy. Sometimes,  I already have a list and yet still end up buying items, not on the list. What more if you do not have an objective for being there? Bored? What can you do for free at home?besides the shopping center? I watch movies/episodes and eat popcorn with the family.

Watching DRAGON BALL SUPER with the boys ( episodes you have to wait weekly)

 

  1. You are competitive.

Did you see the latest branded bag of the friend of a friend? Your chest quickly felt a pang of envy while observing her bag in a party. You whispered to yourself “I can afford that too.”  On you go to the Direct Factory Outlet of the brand you desperately want to have.

Envy is such a negative feeling to have. I met people having credit card problems because of all the shoes, bags and clothes they bought all in the name of keeping up with their so-called friends.

Solution: If the feeling of envy is your trigger, you will never be happy. Release it. There is freedom to it.

  1. You want it because it is interesting.

The item is so cute. The product will be an excellent collection of yours. It will be a hot topic of your party. Only you have it among friends and acquaintances. It is a unique item to behold for many years to come (what you believe) or just days to be realistic. After a month, it will start to collect dust or will be stored in a container to be forgotten.

Photo by Kukuh Himawan Samudro

store with different items
I got to have this! It is so cute!

Solution: I know the feeling of happiness for buying it but is it worth it when it is time to see your credit card bill? For me, a novelty item is valuable if you use it every day.

  1. You buy it out of curiosity.

Food lovers will relate to this. You are not that hungry but you saw a particular food that made you curious what could be its taste. As if the food is tempting you, “ Buy me, taste me, know what I taste like.”  After 5 minutes of swallowing your saliva while staring at the food, you buy it. Good for you if you discovered food worth eating again and again. Good luck when your verdict is never again will I buy this!

Photo by Mink Mingle

Mmmm.. That looks interesting to eat.

Solution:  Do not go to the shopping center hungry. Have your meals or snacks at home and then go shopping. Otherwise, you will spend more money with food than what you actually planned to. I am a food lover and to all food lovers out there, we can do this!

  1. You feel you deserve a reward.

You have worked hard for quite some time now.  Your quick eye saw the item and decided then and there, you deserve to be compensated with all the sacrifices you have done. Even if it is not on the budget, you purchase it. Even if you are spending money way beyond what you have, you still do it because you feel you need a gift for yourself.

Photo by Jakub Gorajek

YEAH! Traveling around the world! Wow, driving our brand new car!
After 2 years: UH, OH.

Solution:  It is so much rewarding when the gift to yourself will not give you sleepless nights and anxiety throughout the year. Choose a present that will give you joy, not temporary thrill. Live within your means.

  1. You are addicted to purchasing items.

Do you have that uncontrollable urge that you have to buy something no matter what?  Do you have the overwhelming desire to click online purchases or tap on your reliable smartphone items you do not necessarily need at the time? The items you are scanning are not priorities of your budget.

Photo by Luke Porter

OMG! It is so cheap! I must have it now!

Solution: Better get some help (personal and professional) from a sensible person or else you will end up in a huge pile of debt.

  1. You were deprived of the item in your childhood.

Parents who grew up in a deprived childhood will relate to this. Growing up poor, you didn’t experience the luxuries of life. Fast forward to the present and you have a family now. Your child wants a toy which triggered your emotions about your own childhood.  The toy is not in the family budget but still, you see yourself paying for it at the cashier.

Photo by Darren Bockman

toy train
I didn’t have that toy when I was young.

Solution: There is power with the word No especially with children. As a parent, I choose my battles. There were times I said yes and there were times I said no.  My son once stated, “Mum, when you say I will think about it, it means no.”  He knows me well.

  1. You want to be popular or a show-off.

Some people want to be popular and be topics of conversations. It is part of their need as an individual to bask in their glory, to be in the spotlight and display the item as their status symbol. I am happy for them if they can afford it.

Photo by NeONBRAND

man with a bike
Looking cool with my awesome bike

Solution:  Do not take the risk of going beyond what you can afford just for fame’s sake. There will always be new acquaintances who can buy better stuff than you.  Self-respect will remain popular across cultures.

  1. A friend, acquaintance or a store assistant convinced you to buy it.

Based on my experience, I do not know why the staff at the grocery store approaches me first and offers me a free taste of the food they are selling. Maybe, I have the aura of I-will-buy-anything-just-let-me-taste-it-first type of person. There are other people in the store but almost always, they approach or talk to me first rather than the other humans roaming around.

The boys had a free taste too and they always answered “Yes, we like it. Let’s buy it.” The case is closed. Give me what you are selling.

Conversations with friends and acquaintances can also trigger you buying their highly recommended purchases. They might need it in their lives but do you need it too?

Solution: Just say “ No, thank you” and move on.

  1. You got hooked on a tv ad or infomercial.

The power of sales talk conquered your views from a bystander to a buyer. Even at the comfort of your home, you might start calling on the phone and order the items from the infomercials or tv ads.

Even my sons were persuaded by it. “Mum, look at this! Buy it and you will have flat and toned abs!”

Good for you if you discovered an item that will help you in your everyday life or even your health issues. However, if it is not what you need, it might just end up still inside the package box and stored somewhere in a corner.

Solution: If you are that type of person that cannot control himself/herself buying on the spot without thinking of the consequences, turn off the tv or smart phone and do something productive to divert your thinking.

  1. You got so much extra money.

Spend. Spend.Spend. The debit card is having a workout.

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom.

shopping
So much shopping to do!

Solution: Please give me your money. I will spend it with the things I need.  Kidding aside, donating to charity or setting up a foundation to assist the less fortunate is money working for the common good.

  1. You love to hoard things.

Are you that kind of person who keeps buying things because you believe that you will need the items someday? The loved ones living with you are fed up with the things you keep buying. You don’t need them yet so you stock them somewhere you will soon forget and boxes occupy most of your home space. Good luck looking for it when you need it.

During the peak of popularity of garage sales for me way back in 2010-2011, I was a hoarder and loved buying cheap second-hand goods. I ended up having more than what I bargained for – lots of clutter.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

different boxes
Where did I put that item I bought? Hmm

Solution: STOP buying it. Remove the mess.  I am a work in progress with removing the clutter but I am getting there… soon or maybe in a distant future. It felt good to see more space at home. True story!

  1. You want someone you love to be happy.

“Love is an ocean of emotions entirely surrounded by expenses.” –Thomas Dewar

You know deep inside, when you buy that particular item, the person you love will be ecstatic or delighted to have it at long last. Even if you don’t need it, you will sacrifice your own needs and wants and grab the item and pay before you change your mind!

Buying an expensive but reasonable gift for someone you love is great on rare occasions and within your means. Still, it is not a guarantee that the person will appreciate it.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

man and woman sitting on the grass
Having a belly laugh together is time well spent.

Solution: There are other ways of proving your love. The best one is giving your precious time and undivided attention to loved ones.  In addition, show love by helping with the laundry, doing the dishes, hugs, kisses, eating home-cooked meals at picnics and not looking at updates on your phone constantly while talking to them are my suggestions.

 

To sum up, if you become aware of your personal trigger, then you begin to be conscious of your actions, possibly get help or control your desire. We all purchase things for all the wrong reasons. My intention for you, my dear reader, is to take charge of your emotions and your purchases. We can handle it.

I now live on a road where they don’t deliver junk mail. Hence, no temptations for me this time.

Photo by Martin Sattler

man with a flashlight
A way will be made.

 

Alternatively, what are your own solutions that made you buy only what you need?

Leave a comment below. I love to learn from my readers.

Share this article with someone you know who loves to go shopping.

 

 

 

Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art: An Eye-Opening Review 2013-2017

If you are going to Brisbane, Australia then I highly suggest you visit Gallery of Modern Art or GOMA for short. If you are an Art lover then you will certainly appreciate it.  I love GOMA and let me count my 10 reasons from the year 2013.

14 April 2013 Photos

children with an upside down elephant
Upside down elephant: The art that is a good prop for a photo shoot
children playing trains
Playing with trains inside an artistically designed room

10 Reasons why I love Gallery of Modern Art

You don’t know what to expect.

When we went to Gallery of Modern Art for the first time in 2013, we didn’t know what to expect. We saw it as a Brisbane tourist attraction in Google. We decided to visit it out of curiosity. Now we know why it is a part of a must visit in Brisbane. We have gone there for 4 years now and the art gallery never ceases to amaze me.

18 July 2014 photos

mother and son with bulls made out of tin cans
Recycled tin cans
father and son looking at an exhibit
Hey, look up!

The exhibits of the Gallery of Modern Art are visually appealing and often unique.

Our 2014 visit made us say “ What is that?!”  The problem with having a preschool child with you was we had to keep moving to see the next exhibit. Expect not to have enough time to read the information about the interesting displays when you have a youngster pulling you to the next item.

19 April 2015 photos

small boy with Aboriginal Art behind him
Aboriginal Art
Japanese Art
Japanese Art

A visit to the Gallery of Modern Art exposes you to different types of art across cultures.

I have seen excellent artworks of different cultures and among them is Aboriginal Art. I always make it a point to stop and appreciate the beauty of it.

The children had the opportunity to learn by getting involved with the exhibits.

Going inside a colorful room full of stickers was eye-catching. We all had our own stickers and started adding more all over the place. It was a delight to see and be a part of it! If there is a computer in the room, expect the child to sit and start clicking or tapping if it is a touch screen. It was learning by doing.

two boys inside a colorful room full of stickers
Colorful stickers all over the room. Start sticking!
boy creating a face on a touch screen
Technology is definitely a magnet for children.

12 January 2016 photos

Moreover, Gallery of Modern Art balances the child-friendly activities by teaching the youngsters the old ways and new ways of doing things.

Showing the designs of the patterns on paper
Showing the designs of the patterns on paper
The high-tech way of playing cars and writing at the same time
The high-tech way of playing cars and writing at the same time

 

16 April 2017 photos

Boosting children’s creativity is a guarantee because there were always available materials for them to use.

There is an option for the young ones not to go in front of a computer or touch screen. The good old pieces of paper, scissors, glue, pictures plus their wild imagination were enough to consume 30 minutes for them to create a distinctive artwork. That is also the parents’ time to sit down and relax before walking starts again!

father and son making masks
Mask making with daddy

Gallery of Modern Art is a free venue for family bonding time.

Every time we went to the city of Brisbane, we first dropped by GOMA to see the latest displays. The family got to marvel at unusual collections. We created artworks together that we could take home. Gallery of Modern Art is already a part of our treasured memories because through the years we all had a marvelous time in this place.

The art gallery became a playground for children and adults alike.

When we decided to look around at GOMA this year 2017, the museum was celebrating its 10th birthday. The collection was its best displays. We will not forget the almost two-story high slides because it was near the entrance of the gallery. The queue was long but the boys loved it and kept going back. Even adults had fun!

Two boys beside almost two story high slides
Weeeee!

We saw endangered birds.

We didn’t have to travel far or take a hike to see the endangered birds in Australia. Just be quiet and listen to them. It was bird watching in an air-conditioned room!

boy with birds behind him
Ssshhhhh… be quiet. Look at the birds!

Throughout the four years, the photos during our visit were always amazing!

The pictures were all Instagram worthy ones and admirable Facebook posts. However, flash photography is not allowed.

boy with a giant fluffy exhibit
It looked like a huge cotton candy. (2017)

 

boy with a giant skeleton behind him
Mum, take my photo with this!(2017)
mother and son with giant white horses behind them
HORSES! (2016)
two boys with the Lenin Peak background
Lenin Peak ( From Queensland to Kazakhstan album) 2013

The boys loved the automatic shots.After 10 seconds, the huge camera will take a photo again.

30 July 2017 photos

Gallery of Modern Art showed their popular exhibits this Year 2017 with their theme Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All the images and activities you saw through the years were all free. However, the last visit we had was not and we had to pay $60 for 2 adults and 3 children. The good news is, IT WAS WORTH IT!! ( screaming loud and I do not care!) My family and I are all Marvel movie fans.

If you are a MARVEL movie fan, then I highly suggest to you to go to Gallery of Modern Art as soon as you can because the exhibit will only be until 3rd of September 2017. We enjoyed it a lot!

The costumes of Captain America, Iron Man, the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Dr. Strange and other Marvel characters too many to mention were impressive. The captivating props were also there!

a boy with three Iron Man suits
Iron Man’s suits through the years

All the people in there were like small children thrilled to see everything. I was screaming inside with excitement when I spotted the familiar items like Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s shield, Iron Man’s suit etc.

three boys in front of the Asgard Throne Room
Asgard Throne Room

We were able to find the props used for the upcoming movie Thor Ragnarok this November 2017. We had our re-entry stamps on our wrists because I wanted to go back to stare at the displays some more. The boys wanted to play with the computers presenting trivia about all the Marvel characters like their origins and powers.

A woman having a fist bump with Hulk Buster
Fist bump with Hulk Buster

Even if you didn’t watch any Marvel Movie, you will still appreciate the objects on display because there were film clips from the movies showing how the props were used. As a result, most of the people took the time to watch the short videos because they showed the highlights of all the Marvel movies.

a boy with Ant Man costume behind him
Ant Man costume

Gallery of Modern Art will always be a part of our journey when we visit the city. It is a place where learning is fun!

A woman with Rocket and Groot behind her
Rocket and Groot

 

Share this article with someone who loves to travel or visit museums.

 

What are the 10 Lessons Learned in a Funeral? Are you ready?

cemetery

Attending a funeral is personal and emotional. Experiencing it in Australia gave me 10 lessons worth pondering about. It was a wakeup call for me.

  1. Friends come and go.

The woman delivered a touching eulogy about our family friend about how they met and became friends. She was calm and composed. To my surprise, she took a seat near me, covered her face with her hands and silently wept. I felt her pain.  The sadness is intensified when a friend who loved you for 25 years passed away. I have known Nanay Lena ( Mother Lena)  for more than 4 years but I had a heavy heart during the funeral. She was our second mother here in Australia.

  1. Your own funeral shows how much you have loved in your lifetime.

It was my first time to attend a funeral in Australia. I was amazed to see a lot of people who came to pay their last respects. It looked like a multicultural gathering. The chapel was fully packed and there were people standing outside. Love given is much appreciated across cultures.

two hands reaching a rose
Just be there.
  1. People will find the time or make time for someone they consider important.

The funeral was a weekday. The attendees could have been working on their day jobs or attending meetings or handling transactions. No. All of us were there.

  1. The unity and support of family and friends are essential.

Dying overseas has a disadvantage. The relatives can’t attend the funeral especially if the country where you came from is far away. Migrants who live with relatives are fortunate. In times of grief, the emotional burden becomes bearable when there are available family and friends offering assistance.

  1. Observing a funeral makes you think about your own death.

Death is certain. It will come to all of us. Questions will start pouring out. What will I choose: cremation or burial? Am I ready to die? What will happen to my family if I die young? Are my finances sorted out when I die? Sad to say, I am not prepared. I should be.

watch
Time is up!
  1. You will never know when your time is up.

I am turning 40 next year and I am thankful I reached my late 30s. My childhood friend died of leukemia at age 7. My grandmother (mother’ side) died of cancer at age 43. Our college school mate gave me a doughnut before his tragic car accident.He passed away at age 21. My grandparents (father’s side) lived up to their early 80s.

A funeral gives you a subtle reminder that you will never know when your time is up. Better LIVE your life to the fullest!

  1. Crying is the best way to release your pent-up emotions during a funeral.

The request of Nanay Lena before she died was no one should cry at her funeral. I admit. I couldn’t do it. My other friend and I hugged the bereaved daughter and sobbed our hearts out. I tried not to cry but tears kept rolling on my cheeks.

Crying for me is one way of:

  1. coping or accepting the fact
  2. gathering the strength to move on with life without her.
a family friend and my son
She bought a cake for my son during the time we couldn’t afford to buy an expensive cake.
  1. Appreciate the presence of a loved one while they are still alive.

Looking back, I am pleased I found time to attend all the get-together parties my friend had set up. Nanay Lena was the coordinator that connected us all. She attended the last ladies night out I hosted at home. Even if she was not feeling well, she took the time to mingle with my new-found friends. Catching up with friends is a great way to strengthen the bond of friendship. Time is NOT wasted when we enjoy each other’s company with laughter and drama.

I am glad my family and I took the time to visit her in the hospital or called her on special occasions. If I didn’t, it could have been one of my regrets.

  1. Money and emotional stability are needed for the funeral services and reception.

Funeral insurance seems a good idea. I should get my act together and start planning for this. Cremation or burial services are not cheap.

Losing a loved one is tough. Grieving for the loss but still have to do the paper work and make phone calls force you to control your emotions and have the utmost presence of mind. Though it was a difficult time, the bereaved spouse and daughter were brave to go through it all.

  1. The reception after the funeral made me realize that whatever you did in your lifetime, it will come back to you even after death.

Nanay Lena was an excellent cook. She cooked for me when I hosted parties or shared a dish worth drooling for. She even invited us when she had some special food prepared.

During the reception, there were two long tables filled with different types of food all shared by the attendees of the funeral. The home cooked dishes were their best recipes and all had a good meal. As if my friend was there overlooking the get-together of friends just like the good old days.

 

pug on a floor
Missing you

In addition, I miss her especially when Facebook shows the photos of the good times we had when she was still with us. I forced back the tears because I saw those photos while riding a bus. My seatmates might think I was going crazy.

Overall, let us make an effort not to take family and friends for granted. It is so easy to say ” I am busy now.” Do not create a lingering regret in the future that is difficult to live with.  LOVE while we still have the TIME. Are you ready?

Share this article with someone who needs a WAKEUP CALL.

 

What are the 10 advantages of having sons?

“Have another child. Maybe it is a girl this time.” This is the top comment I always get from acquaintances and even friends. I am happy and grateful with my three sons so I am enumerating my ten advantages of having them.

  1. Fewer mood swings

During conversations, I often hear mothers complain about their daughter’s mood swings especially during that time of the month. When girls are young, they tend to fight for what they want. As if the mother and daughter are competing to be the queen bee of the house.  I cannot relate to this. With my sons, they also have their moments but not that nasty.

  1. Big help in carrying heavy loads

They are now a great help when we decide some things are better at the dumping site. Move the furniture. Bring the ladder here or there.  Put the luggage in the car. Help mum put the bags of groceries in the trolley. Assist mum in getting the groceries from the car to the house especially the 10 kg bag of rice!

three boys in a photo
The clothes are worth it. My sons don’t care if the clothes aren’t new!
  1. Hand-me-down clothes are the norm for having three boys in the family.

You can also have hand-me-down clothes with daughters too if the clothes are still in fashion. With my boys now, it is just simple fashion: t-shirt, shorts, jeans or pants. These staple items do not go out of style. The clothes could be worn for years.

  1. Bathroom use is a lot faster.

My son told me that when he was in camp, all the boys were ready while the girls were still in the bathrooms. At home, taking a shower and brushing teeth took 12 minutes.

Having sons is also good for the environment. They can pee at the same time.  One toilet flush is all needed.

  1. Shopping is quick.

The boys are like men. When they go to the store, there must be a purpose why they should be there. If we are in a shopping center, we will buy socks, underwear and jeans.  Those are the goals then go home. We are finished in an hour.

My boys do not want to go shopping with me especially if they know I do not have anything particular to buy. They know by heart that one hour for me is not enough.

  1. Boys can carry on the family name.

I come from a culture where I changed my last name and used the last name of my husband when we got married. I do not know about my sons’ future but if they get married, our last name will go on.

three voys on air at the beach
T-shirts, shorts and good old running shoes.. done! Let’s go!
  1. Fewer expenses for accessories

I do not have to buy makeup, bra, sanitary pads and accessories like necklaces to match the clothes.

  1. Boys don’t get pregnant.

I overheard conversations were the parents stalked their daughter while on a date because of fear the couple might do something irresponsible.  The fear is real and it is more intense with raising girls.

You might tell me that the boys might get someone pregnant. Yes, that is another issue. I am scared out of my wits.

  1. Aside from my husband, I have another male’s point of view three times.

Men and women think differently.  I was telling my sons “ I was just looking at the goods.” They all started giggling. “ Mum, it sounds so wrong. Looking at the goods. Hahaha.”

I was thinking about the store items and the boys were thinking about private parts.

Sometimes it is interesting to learn how boys think because it gives me a fresh perspective about what is going on in their heads.

  1. I have the power to raise loving men.

World news is filled with bad representatives of the male species. I could make a difference to society by trying my very best to raise loving, loyal, respectful, resilient, disciplined and productive male citizens. They will be future dads, husbands, uncles, friends, workers, colleagues, volunteers or possibly even the boss. Who knows? I am not a perfect mum and still learning lessons along the way. Getting all the help I need is what I will do.

mother and three boys in front of a large temple
I hope and pray I am raising them right.. so help me God.

How about you?  What are the benefits of having sons?

 

 

20 Acronyms my sons asked me

Have you encountered an acronym that made you ask yourself “What does it stand for?” It becomes frustrating when my sons asked me the meanings of the acronyms and I just cannot remember! Therefore, I surfed the internet just to satisfy their curiosity and to maintain my peace of mind.  Here are my 20 answers to their most pressing questions in no particular order.

Wifi – Turn on the wifi, please!

Meaning: Wireless Fidelity in the 1990s but officially it has no meaning at present. However, the meaning wireless fidelity is still being widely used.

USB – “Mum, have you seen my USB?”  It is an acronym that made me say          “Where did you last put it?” lots of times in the past.

Meaning: Universal Serial Bus

QANTAS – When I was young, my father told me the meaning of QANTAS twice because he loves to read his encyclopedia. I tried to recall what my father said but I forgot when my sons inquired about it. It never occurred in my wildest dreams that one day my family and I will book this airline and live in Australia. Mindblown!

Meaning: Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited

TNT – Have you watched the funny cartoons featuring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote? Wile E. Coyote often used TNT to catch Road Runner.

Meaning: Trinitrotoluene

NASA – Every time we watch a science-fiction movie, the boys always make me say the meaning of this acronym. I already know it by heart for a long time.

Meaning: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

am / pm – What is the time? 6 am or 6 pm? I surfed the internet just to make sure the spelling is right.

Meaning:  am  ante meridiem  (before noon)

pm  post meridiem   (after noon)

idk – I giggled after I discovered the meaning of this.

Meaning: I don’t know.

RSVP – Most people know the meaning of this in English but how about the spelling in French?

Meaning: répondez s’il vous plaît  ( Please respond.)

TBA – I often encounter this in rosters and meetings.

Meaning: To be announced

P. S. – I seldom use this but when I wrote a note for my son, he asked me what it was. Youngsters nowadays seldom post letters by snail mail for this acronym to be utilized. I belong to the generation who wrote letters with lots of P.S. in it.

Meaning: Postscript

Kmart photo
To shop or not to shop

K-Mart – My sons and I often visit this store but what does the K mean?

Meaning: Kresge

Big W sign
shopping and window shopping

Big W – After the K we need to look for the W. It is another store we love to shop and window shop.

Meaning: Woolworths

SPAM canned goods
It is time for hoarding.=)

SPAM – I immediately buy Spam when it is half price.

Meaning: Spiced Ham or Shoulder of Pork and Ham

M & Ms – When I was young, it was definitely a treat to eat one of these.

Meaning: Mars and Murrie

M & M's bars
To buy or not to buy

EFTPOS – We saw the sign EFTPOS not available which made us say “ What’s that acronym?”

Meaning: electronic funds transfer point of sale

CVV – This is the three or four digit number depending upon the credit or debit card you have.

Meaning: Card Verification Value

AMF – Every time we pass this place we go bowling to, my boys always nag me what does AMF stand for? After around 5 times of inquiring, I finally searched the meaning of it.

Meaning: American Machine and Foundry

party giveaways from AMF bowling
party giveaways from AMF bowling

SIRI– Hey, Siri!

Meaning: Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface

XXXX – We watched the third game of State of Origin and my second son inquired about it.

Meaning: You read it as Four X. There is no meaning to it. It is a brand of Australian beer.

GIF – Some gifs are really funny.

Meaning: Graphic Interchange Format

There will be new acronyms in the future that my boys will want to know but that will be written in another blog.

 

What acronyms made you ask yourself ” What does that stand for?”  Please leave a comment so I could learn from my readers.

Share this if it made you think ” So that’s what it means!”

 

 

 

Dirty Laundry Lessons

Ah, this is the life! Dirty laundry in the hamper is waiting for me. It is inevitable and time-consuming. It is a chore that makes you say “ This will never end!” It’s a lifetime task. Let me share the lessons I learned with my dirty laundry.

  1. It is a never-ending cycle.

I feel accomplished when I look at an empty hamper. All the washing is done. However, the feel-good moment is just fleeting. When the children come home from school,  fresh supply of dirty uniforms particularly smelly socks are dumped in the hamper. Inhale.. exhale. It’s a part of life. Endurance is a virtue being perfected here.

laundry basket
The second basket was done! 5,000 more baskets to go!
  1. Doing the laundry is exercise.

Machine wash or hand wash, check! Carry the hampers outside the backyard, check! Hang the clothes to dry, check! When the clothes are dry, get them for folding, check!This is hard work. I am burning calories!

  1. The missing sock will remain a mystery.

 I collected more than 10 socks with missing pairs. Is the washing machine taking it? Is there a sock fairy who gets them from the clothesline for fun? My friend suggested buying a dozen pairs of socks with only one color. That way, I will never have the issue of looking for its pair.  The tip helped me.

jeans on the clothesline
Job: The pocket checker
  1. The pockets should always be checked.

Have you experienced getting the clothes out of the washing machine just to see tiny white pieces of tissue stuck on the clothes? To my horror, I traced it to the pockets of the jeans. It was a moment for me to keep calm and control the Hulk Mum.

Have you experienced discovering coins or paper money hidden in the pockets? It makes you feel rich, right?

  1. Vinegar can remove stains on white garments.

Red stains were on 3 white inner shirts. The culprit was a small red face towel accidentally thrown with the pile. My husband remembered the advice of my mother-in-law. Soak the white clothes in water with vinegar. After two days, he showed to me the red stains were gone.

For me, flowers are good but helping with the laundry is better. www.daysofmum.com

  1. Helping with the laundry = LOVE.

It is really a big deal when a loved one helps with the laundry. The burden is lessened.  For me, flowers are good but assisting me with the laundry is better.

  1. Families who have excellent house helpers are lucky.

Once upon a time, I had the privilege to have a house help. I didn’t bother back then about the hand washing, bleaching and separating the white from the colored clothes. Washing clothes for a family every week is NOT an easy task. Having an amazing trustworthy house help for years is truly a blessing.

  1. Appreciate the clothes you have.

Clothes are basic needs of man and yet some are deprived of it.  When I see the hamper piling up with dirty laundry, I tell myself, “ Don’t complain. Be thankful you have clothes.”

  1. There is always a surprise lurking on the clothes.

Before washing: What is this I see? A sticky, smelly substance … eww. Enough said. Hand washing is a must.

After washing: What is this I see? Bird poop?! Wiping it off was useless. I have to wash it again!

clothes and bedsheets hanging on the clothesline
Wait a minute… Oh no!
  1. Check the clothesline for maintenance.

I was proud of myself finishing the washing. Then suddenly, all the clothes fell down on the muddy ground. I wanted to scream! The event was the epitome of frustration!Repeating the washing was an idea my brain couldn’t handle. With a sad face, I picked up the clothes to do the task, again.

  1. It instills responsibility with the children.

Put the dirty garments in the correct laundry basket. Help mum by carrying the hampers in the backyard. Assist mum in folding the clothes.

I told my boys “ I am not your slave. I am your mother.” 

One good thing about the boys helping me fold the clothes is they start discussing topics which most of the time made me laugh.

  1. When in doubt, hang the clothes to dry in a shaded area.

The forecast is sunny, it suddenly rains. I am miles away from home. At the back of my mind, I was thinking about the clothes.  It was annoying.

Are you too tired coming home from work? Hang the garments under a covered area. The clothes will dry by themselves, rain or shine, winter or not, you forgot them or not.  The only issue here is the odor of the clothes. Solution: Invest in sweet-smelling fabric conditioner. If you have extra money, have a clothes dryer.

 

What lessons have you learned with your laundry?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The advantages of choosing to be alone (for a while) in times of crisis

person walking alone in the woods

person alone at the beach

Family and friends are great especially in times of difficulties. On the other hand, there are times I choose to be alone.  Here are my thoughts about the advantages of choosing to be alone (for a while) during a crisis.

1. The silence is bliss.

When problems come like a tsunami, silence for me is a must. It can be sitting alone in the room, going for a walk in the park or sitting near the beach. The stillness calms my mind.

2. There is an option not to talk.

Concerned family and friends will come over especially when they truly feel what I am going through. Sometimes, when the issue is confusing, it is better to be quiet about it.. at first. Moreover, when the experience is too painful, words may come out which I will regret saying.

3. The internal dialogue starts kicking in.

Depending upon the dilemma, the mind will sometimes reveal the possible solutions. Well-meaning friends may offer advice but it is better when you can talk with them about your OWN ideas after being alone for a while. Depending solely on someone’s ideas may prevent the capability to think for oneself.

4. No one is judging you when you cry.

After telling everyone that I need personal space, there is the freedom to cry. There are tons of wet tissues on the bed due to bitter tears shed over a particular problem. I can win an Oscar award after the drama!

5. Praying is an activity suddenly remembered.

I am not a deeply religious person but in times of crisis, the words “Lord, Please help me.” suddenly comes out of my mouth. Then, the song of Don Moen “God will make a way” becomes a mantra.

praying hands with a cross tattoo
What am I to do?

6. It gives an opportunity to write.

Writing becomes a source of outlet for some people. It becomes free therapy because no one is judging what you are writing. All thoughts and feelings are poured out. No holds barred. Reading what you wrote gives a new perspective or even an idea in dealing with the issue.

7. Walking alone is exercise.

Some people are good problem solvers while walking. As long as they are not forgetting to stay safe, this is an advantage.

person walking alone in the woods
Huh? How did I end up here?

8. Enjoying one’s company can be explored in the privacy of one’s  room or house.

Hmmm.. it could be watching movies, funny videos on YouTube or even the episodes of a favourite show. Listening to music that perks me up or an inspirational  audio that uplifts my moods are good choices.

lady listening to music
I love rock and roll!

Singing, dancing, redecorating the bedroom,doing my manicure and pedicure, cooking and baking are also alternatives. Diverting one’s mind about the problem for a while lessens the stress.

9. It reconnects you with nature.

A lovely garden is sometimes made by someone who decided to enjoy his/her own company away from the noise of the crowd. Removing the weeds, watering the vegetables and planting a new set of flowers are activities that give peace to some. Sorry, I don’t have a green thumb but I have 4 potted plants now!

10. Visiting places not part of your routine can recharge the mind.

A road trip is another alternative for those people who love to drive. Admiring the architectural design of a building, observing the exhibits of a shop, snooping around the store you finally decided to see and appreciating natural wonders are activities that invigorate the mind because it was not part of the schedule.

lady in the shops
Hey.. what’s that?

 

However, these advantages are only good temporarily. No man is an island. Talking to someone trustworthy is still the best during a crisis.

 

 

 

 

Open Colleges:Ten things to think about before enrolling an online course based from my experience as a mother

laptop and notebook on a table

 

I will give you my Top Ten things to think about before enrolling an online course.  These are based on my experience as a middle-aged mother. I enrolled at Open Colleges.

1.There are various ways to pay.

There are options like paying in full or monthly payments. I chose to pay the full amount because, in the long run, it will be cheaper.

white light covering the hair
Downloading tons of information

2. Starting to study is the hard part.

Studying all over again made my head hurt literally. Imagine, reading, writing and submitting assessments again! The good news was my middle-aged working mind gained momentum after a month.

3.It takes discipline to make time to study.

The family is watching television or enjoying a movie marathon. There I was sitting in the lounge desperately telling myself to stand up and go to your laptop. Submit the tasks!

The temptation to procrastinate is great. Sometimes, I gave in to the temptation and had a marvelous bonding time with family. Other times, I suffered the consequences of sleep deprivation. Your choice.

tired mother with two boys

4.I felt isolated.

There is a study buddy online where I could connect with other students near my area. I didn’t choose that. I rather surf the internet than connecting to someone whose profile picture is blank.

It took a heavy toll on me. I grew up in a traditional classroom where I could talk to real people. I missed that. I studied in front of a laptop while my boys were at school and my husband was at work. I had to leave the house just to relax and talk to people.

5. Sometimes, staying in front of the computer for hours is necessary.

In the real world of mothers, everything changes when a child gets sick or the husband had to stay longer at work. The only option was to do all the tasks for submission in one weekend. That means sitting all day in front of the computer. Managing time is essential.

macbook and phone
I need to send this NOW.

6. I learned a lot.

Submitting assessments made me read books and surf the internet for reliable information.  What made it difficult was to find the right answer to the question which means skimming and scanning websites. Through it all, it opened my mind to issues  I didn’t know existed. It broadened my understanding.

stepping on a see through floor
Going beyond

7. It pushed me to my limits and let me out of my comfort zone.

There were times I wanted to give up. What made me held on was I already paid the tuition fee in full haha!  On the serious side, I have a strong belief in this When I start something, I want to finish it. No excuses.

8. Feedbacks from instructors during the last assessment were nail-biting.

I had a lovely opportunity chatting with the instructors for questions and comments during my study. All of them were kind and accommodating.  However, the last assessments caused me sleepless nights. Were they good enough?

lots of balloons in the sky
I DID IT!

 9. It gave a feeling of accomplishment.

When I read the word PASS with my final assessments, I jumped for joy! Yes! I finally finished my course! After all the hard work and dedication to do it, I finally made it. It was an achievement itself taking care of a family and studying online at the same time.

10. Finish your course as soon as you can because sometimes the curriculum changes.

At the middle of my studies, the curriculum suddenly changed. If you do not want to have more assessments or retake exams, better finish it in one year.

 

Homesickness: the toxic feeling that makes you forget to appreciate what you have

woman bowing down

Homesickness trigger scenario: I locked the door. The morning rush is over. My husband went to work and the boys are at school. The chores are all staring at me. Clean me! Wash me! Iron me! As if all the appliances are screaming at me for attention. What to do? What to do?

I saw myself sitting in the hallway trying to stop myself from crying. I felt hopeless. I couldn’t think straight. My mind is telling me Snap out of it! You are better than this! Why are you so sad? There are more people who are suffering more than you so stop crying!

I didn’t. Cries turned into loud sobs. It was the moment that I do not like thinking about. It creates a feeling of despair, a sudden rush of sadness and feeling of isolation. I was homesick.

person alone in the desert
I felt isolated.

There are times when homesickness is triggered by someone or something. It sometimes hit me without preparation. I saw an old couple holding hands while crossing the street. It reminded me of my parents in the Philippines. I saw a plane while I was hanging clothes in the backyard. I felt lonely because I wanted to ride a plane and visit my loved ones.  I craved for the food I could only buy in the Philippines.

I sometimes envy the mums going to school who have their mothers assisting them with a pram or a toddler.  They have with them their mums for support and guidance. I am a middle-aged mum who understands more now why mama and papa were behaving that way in the past. It was so easy back then to be stubborn and believe that my way was better. Listening to them is important to me now. We talk over the phone or have a video chat. Sometimes it is enough to get me by.

However, there are moments that I badly need a hug or a kiss from mama. Living overseas is both joy and a challenge as a mother. I cannot be tough all the time. I sometimes break down. This is where the tricky part comes in. What do I say to myself?

covered face behind a window

Just keep crying Shirin. Let it all out. Cry… cry… You have a loving family who supports you. You have friends who accept you for who you are. You have food in the pantry. You have clothes and shelter. Life in Australia gave you the chance to experience events you only dreamt of before.

After finishing a bucket of tissues later, I realized that I forgot to appreciate what I have in the first place. Why am I focusing on the loneliness when I could focus on the life I have now. I do not have issues that are life threatening. I am alive which is GOOD! I should be mentally aware when this toxic feeling suddenly comes again.

lady with raised hands at the beach
 JOY

When the feeling suddenly comes, positive self-talk is essential.  Today, I choose joy! Yes… I am feeling sad right now but being miserable today is doing more harm than good! I believe there is a way of going out of this. I can handle this!

However, don’t get me wrong. I believe a good cry can also do wonders for my health and sanity. It gives me a feeling of release. It gives me a new perspective. Okay, I already cried. Now what?

Homesickness is a toxic feeling every migrant, overseas worker, traveler, and refugee will feel. Wherever you are, I feel you. I am with you in this battle. My intention is for you to be able to have coping strategies for it. Mine is positive self-talk. How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Words and Phrases I often encounter in everyday life: A quick read for migrants to Australia

These are the Australian words and phrases I encounter in everyday life. I learned them in everyday conversations, advertisements, newsletters and invitations.

view from picnic point
G’day mate!

A

Arvo – afternoon

I encountered this in a text message. See you this arvo.

B

Barbie – barbecue

Let’s have some barbie.

Bloke – man or guy

Did you see that bloke out there? He is huge!

Bottle-shop – liquor shop

The wine costs $10 at the bottle-shop.

 

Bush- the Outback, anywhere that isn’t in town

I think we are lost. The GPS led us to the bush!

BYO – Bring your own

Brekkie – short for breakfast

Let’s have brekkie at Macca’s.

Bring a plate– share some food, bring your own food

The meeting is at 4 pm, bring a plate.

close up face of a boy
Please bring a plate on my birthday.

C

Chook – a chicken

The chook tastes good!

E

Ekka – the Brisbane Exhibition, an annual show of animals, goods and rides galore

I really wanted to go to the Ekka!

 

F

Fairy floss – cotton candy

Fairy floss booths are often seen in school fiestas and holiday events.

Freddo – a frog character on one of the small wrappers of Cadbury chocolates

Let us sell some freddos for fundraising.

freddo chocolateG

G’day – This means good day but it is used to greet someone like Hello.

G’day is often the word I hear every time a bloke greets me. 

Gold coin donation – $1 or $2 donation

In fundraising events, the entrance is a gold coin donation.

Grog – liquor, beer

They drank too much grog at the party.

J

Joggers- rubber shoes, running shoes

Don’t forget to bring your joggers for P.E.

K

Kindy – Kindergarten

I enrolled my son in Kindy.

L

Lollies – sweets, candy

Too many lollies are not good for your teeth.

M

Macca’s – Mcdonald’s

I want to eat a happy meal at Macca’s.

Mate – buddy, friend

What is going on mate? Are you all right?

Mozzies – mosquitoes

Wear insect repellent! There are so many mozzies out here!

N

No worries-  expression of forgiveness or reassurance

Oh, I am sorry. I cannot come to your party. Answer: No worries.

This is my favorite expression because it calms me.

O

Oz – Australia

On a t-shirt: I love Oz.

P

Pavlova – rich, creamy dessert with strawberries, kiwi, raspberries and other fruits on top

Pavlova is a dessert worth trying. It is a meringue with fruits and cream on top.

Prawn – use prawn not shrimp. I don’t hear Australians say shrimp at a seafood market.

A kilo of prawns is worth $11.

S

See you later – expression after talking to them

The bloke at  the cash register said, “ See you later.”  I took that seriously. In my mind I was thinking:  Why will the man see me later? Does he know my address? Is he a stalker? I learned it was just an expression.

State of Origin – It is an epic rugby league football battle between Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues.  The games are really awesome!

Sunnies – sunglasses

Wear your sunnies not just to be cool but to protect your eyes.

T

Togs – swimwear

Don’t forget to bring your togs for your swimming lessons.

two boys doing karate kick at the beach
Togs in Summer!

Tradie – tradesman

We need a tradie to fix the roof.

Tuckshop – canteen

Students get their snacks and lunches at the tuckshop.

U

Ute- pick-up truck

The ute was used to deliver the sofa bought from a garage sale.

V

Vinnies – St. Vincent de Paul’s, charity thrift store

 Families starting a new life in Australia can buy second-hand goods at Vinnies.

W

What do you reckon? – What is your opinion?

Do we need to serve more drinks? What do you reckon?

 Do you want to learn more Australian words and phrases? Click here.