Cravings, Emotions and Filipino Food

Halo-halo

When you have cravings, there are emotions attached to it.

Suddenly craving for an ice cream? Everything fell into place and you want to celebrate!

rainbow ice cream
Happy eating!

Dying to eat chocolate? You just want to shove the piece in your mouth because you are upset.

chocolate waffle
Looks delicious… yes it is.

Angry at someone? You see yourself getting the potato chips in your pantry because you want to release stress.

Feeling bored? There is a bottle of wine somewhere…

There are various reasons why we crave a particular food or drink. I will not discuss alcoholic drinks, coffee or soft drinks.

I want to focus more on FOOD.

CAKE – This is always present on special occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, mother’s day and other special days. In spite of that, when you feel you are an actor in a drama series, the cake is one of the options for stress eating. I could already hear the song “All By Myself”.

ube cake
So happy to see you!

There was one night when I craved for Ube Cake. It is a purple yam cake with macapuno (coconut sport)  in it. Oh, it was one of those nights I couldn’t do anything about it! I do not know how to bake it or if the ingredients are available at the Asian store. I only see it when a talented guest shares this treat in the party.

ICE CREAM – There is something about ice cream that makes you want to eat more. I couldn’t sleep one night and went to the freezer to get two scoops of Rocky Road ice cream. I asked myself, WHY AM I DOING THIS? My mind didn’t even bother to answer and just gave in to temptation.

rocky road ice cream
Eating ice cream with family and another one for midnight snack

What is your tempting ice cream treat? Vanilla? Strawberry? Chocolate? Special flavors like pistachio ice cream perhaps? It even tastes better with an ice cream cone, just like the good old days of childhood. Yum.

CHICKEN – There are two types of chicken I CRAVE: Chickenjoy from the Filipino fast-food chain JOLLIBEE and the spicy chicken from KFC. At the moment, I could not eat chickenjoy here in Australia because it does not have a  Jollibee branch yet. However, I see myself most Tuesdays falling in line at a KFC branch ordering the Cheap Tuesday option.

three boys with Jollibee
We miss you Jollibee especially your chickenjoy.

CHOCOLATE – This is my weakness, is it yours too? There are days I do not even look for it in the pantry or not even eat it for days even if it is just within my grasp. When the craving starts, as if I am a little child coming back to the pantry eating a part bit by bit.

MEAT: BEEF? PORK?  MUTTON? This is not much of a craving for me but other people are craving for these. Do you want it grilled or barbecued? Fried? Baked? Stewed? Eat the jiggly  fats that come with it? Mmmmm…

LECHON
Lechon, where art thou lechon?

POTATO CHIPS – You are not much of a fan of sweet food but you suddenly get uneasy when you crave for something SALTY. Disgust fills your mind when you open the cupboards or the pantry without potato chips. You promised yourself in the grocery store that you will start a healthy life by not buying potato chips. You breathe in and breathe out and close the pantry.

Boy Bawang Cornick
We travel for half an hour just to get one of these!

Stop it. Hold it. I could go on and on with the other food cravings. Don’t make me start with pizza. Let’s go a bit deeper with this. Something familiar.

Furthermore, there is another cause why we desire a particular food: HOMESICKNESS.

–  It was part of your childhood.

–  Father or mother used to cook it for you.

– You associate it with a friend back then.

– It is the food that you devoured during a special occasion in the past.

– Foodstuff that reminds you of home miles and miles away.

Good for you if you can buy it in the shops or the ingredients are available and you can cook it from scratch. Other times, you just have to grin and bear it. Wait for the chance to visit your country of origin and eat it all you want until you can’t take it anymore.

Here are the  Filipino foods that I craved once or twice or more.

Taho – I grew up eating this for breakfast during my childhood years. It is made up of soft tofu with caramel and sago pearls.  Most of the time, the peddler shouted TAHOin front of our house so I asked my grandmother to buy some for me. The answer was always yes. *grinning*

I ate this in front of the house with my childhood friend who was still wearing her pajamas. We didn’t even wash our faces or combed our hair but we were already outside eating taho for breakfast.

Taho
One TAHO for me and one for you

Philippine Mangoes – I already ate different types of mangoes but my heart still craves for Philippine mangoes. Maybe, it is the taste I grew up with or the special memories associated while eating it. Looking back, I always ate mangoes with my loved ones.

Philippine mangoes
I want to eat you all!

Lumpiang sariwa / Fresh spring rolls – The fresh spring rolls prepared by the experts will make you forget your diet. Different vegetables are wrapped in a soft white wrapper then topping it with sweet sauce and peanuts. The secret here why it is so delicious is the sauce that comes with it

one fresh spring roll
The last fresh spring roll… mmm.

Banana cue – This was my afternoon snack growing up. Deep fried bananaplantains with brown sugar are the best! My friends and I devoured it while drinking coconut juice.

two banana cue
Banana cue, when can I eat you again?

Chicharon/ Pork crackling – Dipping this in vinegar and stopping yourself finish the pack is an effort. Hearing the crunch of the pork crackling in every bite and catching up with friends is a match wherever you are.

chicharon/pork crackling
It takes self-discipline to stop eating this.

Balut – fertilized duck egg. Do I have to say more? It is best to eat it with salt or vinegar. It is not for the faint of heart. Legend has it that even the most adventurous, thrill-seeking food lovers have said NO THANK YOU to this.

Balut
I am challenging you to eat BALUT.

Dinuguan – is pork blood stew. I do not know how to cook this but every time I see it in parties, I always taste it initially. When my son first saw me with this, he exclaimed: “ Mum, you are eating dirty food!”   NO, I AM NOT.

Dinuguan
Dinuguan by Nelia

Pandesal – It is a part of breakfast of every Filipino family. You buy it in a bakery early in the morning then fill it with your favorite peanut butter, margarine or cheese. When I was young, the pandesal was bigger. Nowadays, it became smaller and more expensive.

Hot pandesal for breakfast = good start of the day

Leche flan and polvoron – My mother rarely prepared these special treats so when she did, I was in sweets heaven.Leche flan needs 10 egg yolks, condensed milk and evaporated milk. These ingredients are expensive for simple folks. I controlled myself eating the whole serving so I could eat it for days.

3 leche flan
Party Leche flan… I know you want it.

Polvoron is another one. Mama didn’t bother anymore wrapping the treat. She just put it in a big container and gave me a spoon. How I loved eating polvoronwhile watching my favorite cartoons! Be careful eating it or else you might cough and scatter the powder all over the place.

sweet polvoron
Polvoron (right)

Halo-halo – It is a Filipino dessert with shaved ice, evaporated milk, sweet beans and bananas, jelly, leche flan and other ingredients. Halo-halo becomes special because of the other ingredients you decide to mix.

Example, other people put macapuno (coconut sport)  in it or vanilla ice cream on top or jackfruit. It depends upon the preparation and available ingredients. Delicious!

Halo-halo
HALO-HALO: Mix all the ingredients then eat.

Kakanin – Filipino delicacies or rice treats

To prepare these treats, patience is needed because there is a lot of mixing involved. I am still a work in progress in cooking. The last time I made one, it got burnt. I rather eat the food prepared by someone who knows what they are doing. If you are interested to cook Filipino kakanin then here is the website for you.  Click here.

KAKANIN/ RICE CAKES
Examples of KAKANIN/RICE CAKES
sapin-sapin
Sapin-sapin: layer upon layer of sweet sticky food
colorful puto
Colorful puto by Joselito

Tamales or Bobotu to Kapampangans- There is the feeling of anticipation every time I remove the banana leaf wrapper from the tamales. Will the tamales be huge like the wrapper or is it small? My father loves tamales and I love it too.

Tamales wrapped in banana leaves
Surprise! Huge tamales in the house!

Street food – OH YESSS. Air pollution from the public vehicles didn’t stop me from eating street food. I only ate siomai (dim sum dumplings) and quail eggs. I was not adventurous enough to eat the grilled organs of the pig.

street food on a stick
Street food on a stick. Yum!

Pancit Malabon –  Savory noodles with toppings like smoked fish, eggs and sea food ( shrimp, oysters, mussels)

Pancit Malabon
A plate of this and you are good to go!

Reno – It is a canned good of liver spread. Yes, we do love this and we put it in Caldereta or Beef stew.

Reno, you will always be special.

To sum it up, there will always be a time that you start to crave for something. Sometimes it is okay to give in to the temptation. Just have the discipline to STOP yourself when you know enough is enough.  My enough is when my belt needs to get loose. *giggling*

A friend once  told me ”  JUST BUY A BIGGER T-SHIRT  if you don’t fit in it anymore.” Funny yes. In the long run, it will not be.

There you have it, folks. At the moment, I am craving for BALUT.  How about you? What are you craving for?

10 Advantages of Having a Mums’ Night Out

shadows of three women

The definitions of mums’ night out for me are the following:

⁃ going out on a Friday night with other mums in a restaurant that will offer excellent food and service while chatting to your heart’s content then go to one of the mum’s home  for wine or coffee until late night or

⁃going out on a Friday night to one of the mum’s place with a share of food or wine, then conversing late at night while  the responsible dad takes good care of the family while mum is out or hosting

The reason Friday is the best one is that even if you come home late, you still have Saturday to do the rest of the household chores and catch up with the needed rest and sleep! You still have Sunday for family time, grocery shopping and homework if there are project materials that have to be purchased.

Photo by Yutacar

glasses of wine
Let’s drink to that!

Furthermore, the mum that will drive the rest of the group will have to make the ultimate sacrifice (for some) …drinks only one shot or stay sober for the rest of the night. We are two in the group alternating this task but she does more of the driving. It is not a big deal really because we are not into drinking and the company of the mums is what we are after. We love them so much.

So here are my 10 advantages of having a mums’ night out. Better start organizing your own because YOU DESERVE IT, my friend.

  1. You can eat food that you don’t usually get to cook or prepare.

As a mum, you get tired of the usual food you prepare daily.  Your family or other people may appreciate your meals but as a mum, it is a delight to eat other people’s cooking for a change. You are dressed up for the night and ready to try a cuisine with friends.

If all the mums were happy with the food and service then it is a guarantee that they will recommend it to friends and family. They may even go back to the same diner with their family next time. Happy and satisfied mums can spread excellent feedbacks like wild-fire when they had a wonderful night out in a particular restaurant.

Photo by Paula Borowska

oysters
Eating what I don’t prepare at home
  1. Knowledge of alcohol is enhanced.

Before, I do not have the slightest idea about the different alcoholic drinks. When mums’ night out started way back in 2013, I got the chance to try various beverages from red wine, white wine, vodka, gin and cider.  It took me just a couple of sips then stop. I do not like it. Really, you might think. Yes, really.

Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic has lyrics  There’s a black fly in my Chardonnay. I got excited to try it but I didn’t like it as well. Recently, we do not drink as much as we used to. As a mum, it is a must to think of good health long-term.

  1. Friendship is strengthened.

If there is family bonding time, there is also connecting time with friends. Household chores will always be around 24/7 but your friends may not. It is easy to say no to an invitation because there are cleaning tasks, monotonous errands or even a job requirement that demands your attention.

Looking back, I don’t regret leaving the clothes that required ironing or the messy rooms that needed organizing. I appreciate the belly laughs and tears of joy about silly things with the mums.  They have your back because they made time to see you. You are not alone in the struggle.

Photo by Levi Guzman

shadows of three women
Vacuuming is better than this! Hell… no
  1. It is a FREE outlet of unexpressed emotions, insecurities, doubts and all the issues mums deal with.

As a mum, it is normal to feel confused and overwhelmed. The responsibilities and decision-making both at home and work result in STRESS. When the plan goes awry, sometimes there are things you can say to your friends but not to your spouse. The spouse may interpret it differently. Here are the close friends to save the day. After the release of all the fears stuck in your head, it felt good because the burden became light.

There is a note of warning to this. Be careful whom you trust.  Some can be good listeners and may even give good advice throughout your discussion. After you spill your guts out, the world will know your dirty secrets in minutes.

Photo by Rob Potter

diving airplane
May Day!May Day! My reputation is going down!

My point is trustworthy friends are treasures here on earth because they will not judge. They will accept you for who you really are, no pretensions. True friends will genuinely care about your well-being and will help you.

Moreover, they have the capacity to keep secrets no matter what. Close friends can be mums like you because they know what you are going through first hand. They will say in your face things YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR. Ouch. Don’t be too sensitive about it. YOU COULD BE IN DENIAL FOR SO LONG.

  1. IT FEELS GOOD but preparation is important.

Isn’t it exciting when the mums’ night out is set?  Anything goes during conversations. It is an opportunity to unwind and enjoy the moment.  Because the night out is scheduled mostly Fridays, we tend to prepare EVERYTHING beforehand like the dinner of the family.

Do not forget to comfort the youngest child with the idea that mum will come back and she is just out with friends. The spouse should be well-informed like sleeping routines of the children and your whereabouts.

One good tip is NOT TO PROMISE the time you are going home.  As long as he receives texts that you are okay, it’s good. Keep the phone near if your spouse calls or texts you about urgent matters. The first mums’ night out will be a lesson learned but the following ones will get better.

Photo by Adi Goldstein

man lying in bed
So tired with the chores… Thank God the dads night out will be next week!

Alternatively, it could be the dads turn to have a night out in one of the dad’s home. You are just being fair. If it becomes a part of your social activity every year then you started a tradition that makes everyone feel good.

  1. You can get advice or another point of view.

An issue has nagged you for weeks. You blurted it out to the group and asked for an advice. Your close circle of friends will have a say on the matter and it is up to you to filter which ones will make sense.

All of you mums could be crying during the night out because the subject is upsetting. Occasionally,  there are breakthrough solutions for the troubled mum. All it took was a night out and she got an answer to a pressing matter.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Laughing woman
Hahaha! Why didn’t I think of that?

At times, a way will be made because the person you are talking to know someone who can help. Furthermore, your friend might say a keyword that will give you an idea. Finally, you can customize the choice you have made based on their ideas and yours. Listening to another mum about your issue wakes you up to a realization that “Hey, it is not a big deal after all. I need to relax. I can handle this.”

  1. You learn information mostly based from experience.

When the boys were younger, they always called me while I was driving.

Example:  Son: Mummy.

Me: Yes?

Son: Mummy… Mummy…Mummy… Mummy..

Me:  What? One mummy is enough… What do you want?

Son: I just saw a flying bird.

Seriously? There was a minimum of 5 mummy words before they told me what they had to say. I told them repeatedly that 1 mummy is enough.I told the mums about it one night out because it was driving me crazy! It turned out that I was not alone. Their children too even teenagers called them multiple times before saying their topic. HA! I thought I was the only one suffering from this. I rest my case.

In addition, information is available on the internet but if the data are proven with experience, then I try those tested methods first. You can learn a lot of general facts from mums’ night out. It could be about:

  • Raising children

Example:  As parents, do not contradict each other in front of the children. It results in confusion.

  • Recipes

Example: The secret is to add sugar. It makes the dish tasty. That’s the reason why.

  • Personal development

Example: The mum informed the group about a seminar about handling your finances.

  • Epic mistakes worth sharing (I don’t want that to happen to me!)

Example:  Read the fine print.

  • Sale, discounts and free stuff

Example: Hey! The rice is half-price this week.

  • Relationships

Example: Don’t forget your spouse. He needs your attention too. Experiment.

 

  1. It maintains your sanity.

One time my son was talking to me about his classmate in school. I know I could hear him but the words don’t register in my mind. I was so absorbed with my own thoughts that my son finally exclaimed, “Mum, you are not listening!”

I answered him with a weary and confused “What?” He gave a heavy sigh then continued his story. I captured random words: YouTube, handball, lunch and the word hungry. On the contrary, the keywords that wake me up no matter what are:  homework, submit, buy and problem.

Photo by Aaron Andary

bulldog
I can get through THIS!

When the day becomes like this, it is time to unwind and have a mums’ night out. You are tired, stressed, sleepy and cranky. After a night out with the mums, you are ready to face the world again invigorated. It took you out of your rut.

 

  1. It is one way of taking good care of yourself.

Resentment emerges when you have to sacrifice most of the time. I know you love your family but sometimes the duty that comes with it makes you sick. Going out with other mums reminds you that it is okay to treat oneself once in a while because you love yourself too. The well-being of the mum affects the overall mood of the household. The family is not anxious because they notice that mum is cheerful and not snapping everyone’s heads off.

 Photo by Krista McPhee

relax
Do not forget it.
  1. You create memories to reminisce that will make you giggle in your lifetime.

I have a friend in the group who has her smart phone ready for documentation. The selfies she was able to capture were really good. Also, we always ask the service staff to take our photos. Most of the pictures ended up posted on Facebook while the rest are not for public consumption.

There are three memories that stand out among all the mums’ night outs:

  1. We saw an adorable baby koala passing by across the road. The driver stopped the car and we just gushed how cute the koala was. The koala successfully crossed the road.
  2. We went on a road trip after eating at a restaurant. One mum recorded our non-stop laughter in the car. In the end,  we ordered chocolate loaded sundaes at Mcdonald’s just because we wanted to.
  3. When one mum was experiencing a difficult time and all the mums set up a night-out just to be with that worried mum for encouragement and support. You will schedule a time for people you love.

Photo by Joanne Turner

2 seals lying on ice
I can’t take it anymore!
I feel you friend.

 

There you have it. Mums’ night outs are the best! Our way may be different from yours but we definitely get lots of benefits from it.  I hope you will find time to organize one because it is FABULOUS.

 

Multicultural Dinner at Alexandra Hills (Redlands): A Mouth-watering Experience

LECHON

One of the things that get me excited is FREE FOOD!I have been eating free food every year since 2011.  It all started 26th February 2011 at the hall of St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish. The parish priest Father Emmanuel Aguiyi and parishioners started to organize a multicultural dinner.

It created an opportunity for all the church goers and their friends to cook and introduce their national dish for all the attendees to try. It was a huge success and it became a part of the social activity of the parish every year.

two cute boys attending a Multicultural Dinner
First Multicultural Dinner
26 February 2011

Recently, my friends and I attended the multicultural dinner that was held at the Hall of  St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School. More than 20 flags of different countries were represented.

multicultural dinner invitation
Facebook page of the parish

As usual, the wait was killing me because I was so excited to taste what the participants had to offer! I am a food lover at heart. My share for the night was pastillas de leche.

daysofmum.com pastillas photo
my sweet pastillas ( Philippines )

I asked for permission from the early comers to take a photo of the food they brought. Some brought a savory dish while others chose sweets. My apologies for not being able to take photos of ALL the food.  I was busy tasting and coming back for seconds to the food I discovered to be really good! Sad to say, the other dishes I wanted to try were gone in minutes because they were a huge hit! I hope next time, I will have the chance to eat it!

In no particular order, here are the photos of the diverse cuisine I took before I started stuffing my mouth with food I cannot even spell or pronounce.

Maltese Bread Pudding
Maltese Bread Pudding ( Malta) 

According to Sylvia, Maltese Bread Pudding is a mixture of bread, eggs,  flour, butter, nuts and other ingredients.

Chicken Rendang
Chicken Rendang ( Malaysia)

According to Felicia, Chicken Rendang is chicken with coconut milk, toasted desiccated coconut and a paste of mixed spices ( ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemon grass, garlic and shallots).

Pastiso
Pastitsio ( Greece)

According to Anna, Pastitsio‘s main ingredients are macaroni, minced meat and white sauce.

Tiramisu
Tiramisu ( Italy)

According to Annita, Tiramisu has cream and cake in it. It is alcohol and coffee flavored.

Sri Lankan cuisine
Sri Lankan cuisine

According to Jennifer, she prepared Vegetable rice, Spicy Yellow rice ( right) and Chicken curry.

Indian food
Indian food

The food nearest to the flag is Mutton Gravy ( Goat meat ) while the food with eggs on top is Biryani.

Here are the other photos.  I could not comment on the food because either the person that made it was not available to be interviewed or the program was about to start.

Pavlova
Pavlova and other sweets ( Australia)
Muesli ( Australia)
 Gyoza - Japanese dumplings
Gyoza ( Japan)
sweet food from Brazil ( don’t know the name )
dessert from Portugal
chocolate dessert ( Portugal)

Furthermore, my friends are excellent cooks! Here are the photos of the Filipino cuisine.  The church goers’ table representing the Philippines was loaded with food you definitely want to try. Believe me. I wasn’t able to take a photo of ADOBO but it was a hit as well.

The food that many people took photos of is LECHON… ( roasted pig )

LECHON
Lechon ( Philippines ) by Eddie
Pork Barbecue by Nikki
Sisig by Ronald ( almost gone )
Pan de Coco by Gina
Dinuguan
Dinuguan by Nelia
Puto by Fernan ( The partner of Puto is Dinuguan.)
Maja Blanca
Maja Blanca by Dulce
Pork and Prawn Spring Rolls by Pete

I just want to make something clear about the multicultural dinner. It is not a guarantee that the food you see in this blog will be served each year.

Every year, the cooks prepare a different dish. Similarly, one family could be absent. We will miss their presence and their mouth-watering dish.  I prepared pastillas this year because one of the ingredients of cassava cake (my share for many years ) was out of stock.

Everybody had a marvelous time. It was a chance to catch up with friends while dining. Moreover, there was entertainment after the feast. There were live performances from theatre-like singing to cultural dances, singing in their own language to guitar playing. I was able to capture only 3 performances. I needed to drink tea and get some fresh air outside. Inhale.. Exhale…

singing teens
impressive voices
cultural dance
cultural dance
Filipino girls singing
singing Filipino and English songs 

The event was well-attended. Kudos to the organizers of the multicultural dinner! Thank you to all the participants that brought delicious food.

Also, thank you to all that helped set up the hall before hand and the clean-up after the dinner.

Please do not be absent next year. Share your national dish with us. Everyone is welcome.

lady with lechon
See you next year!

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.

 

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.