Dress Up and Be Carefree!

As I walk along the main street at the city center this morning, I saw a young lady wearing a formal dress. It seems she’ll be going to an event, a wedding maybe. I remember how it goes in my homeland where people are supposed to ride a taxi or any private transportation when wearing a formal dress. Then I just thought how carefree the people here are. I’m not saying this in a bad connotation, I just admire them for expressing what they really want and truly feel. Unlike in most of us who always think of what other people say. Honestly I think I’m still that person who is conscious of what will people think, especially with regard to my fashion. I’m not a fashionista and I know I can not wear anything I see in fashion magazines with confidence. I need words of encouragement and more push from friends just to wear a fashionable dress. But here in Germany, I think I can wear anything I want, even a bridesmaid dress and couldn’t care less. I guess I just have to check on the weather first before putting on one. Hehe.. Like what an Irish friend here told me when I was complaining of the cold weather, “In Germany there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes”.

Full and Satisfied at Grand Asienpalast

As long as we’re here we won’t stop searching for and dining in Asian restaurants. Two  weeks ago we went back to Grand Asienpalast. It’s already our second time to dine in this resto, the first was during hubby’s birthday last February. A 10-minute drive from our place, it is a restaurant that serves (yes, you guessed it right. Hahaha!) Asian cuisine in buffet and also in a la carte.

This will welcome you at their main entrance. From this you will know right away that they have a very nice ambiance. As expected, it was full already when we came in. It was a Sunday and many Germans dine out during this day as they spend time with their loved ones.

Here are what we got from the buffet spread.

This is plate #1 for me. I so missed the dessert, buchi, I put it on my first plate. 🙂

Now this is plate #2 for me. Haha! Yeah, I have that big appetite. But I think this was my last plate ‘coz I was really, really full I couldn’t breathe!

 The Mongolian Barbecue hubby got for us. He got the mussels for me ‘coz he knows I really miss eating them. He’s not into it so I don’t cook them at home.

 Our dessert made by hubby. Vanilla, chocolate, cookies & cream flavored ice cream, on top of the fruits.

Let me share the ones we had when we celebrated hubby’s birthday two months ago. Pardon for the shots, it was night time and the lights inside the restaurant were a little bit dim.

This was my first plate (again with the buchi). Start counting! 😀

My second plate…

The Mongolian Barbecue…

Of course dining in an Asian resto is not complete for me without my fave California Maki.

Yes, I ate all of those. I find buffet dining in these Asian restaurants expensive so I was thinking I have to have our money’s worth.  😀


A Dream Fulfilled

I’ve been seeing posts from friends and relatives on their Facebook walls lately sending their wishes and congratulating someone on his graduation. Then I realized, oh yeah it is graduation season once again in my homeland.

I suddenly remembered my own 15 years ago. Actually we just had a small celebration that day. I knew we could not afford a party that time so we had a family dinner in a simple restaurant. But to my surprise my parents gave me a personalized graduation gift. It was a wooden photo frame with my name engraved on it. They told me to put my photo taken when I was receiving my diploma at the stage. I was really happy for the gift because it will hold something that I know was my greatest gift to my parents. Finishing studies was of great importance to us, especially to them. Since we are not rich, I remember clearly how our dad tells me and big bro to finish our studies because education is the only thing they could pass on to us .

I am thankful for my parents for instilling in us the value of education. I have seen their hardships just for us to graduate and I know they are happy that we have fulfilled their dreams for us. And this I will also impart to my kids because knowledge is something that you could be proud of and no one can ever take it away from you.

Palm Brezel

I came to know this variety of pretzel last Palm Sunday. Called Palm Brezel, it is made by German Catholics and are obviously only sold during this Holy day.

It’s different from the usual pretzel with its sweet flavor and soft texture. It also comes in big sizes, my plate has a diameter of 26cm so just imagine how big it is. I loved this pretzel because it made me so full after just a few bites.

Zyc and the Keyboard

I’ve been thinking of letting the kids have a productive summer vacation. Productive meaning I want them to learn something that is not taught in their Kindergarten. Something that could enhance their personality, abilities or talents. I remember during this time in the Philippines, parents enroll their kids to either swimming lessons or anything related to sports, or music schools. I would have wanted them to learn to swim but maybe not this time yet. I want them first to be acquainted to the different bodies of water and let them feel the fun in playing in them and not just from what they have which is a bath tub. 🙂 Now I see my kids’ love for music and I was thinking of signing them up to a music school. Although we have given Ryz the Barbie keyboard last Christmas, it was Zyc whom I noticed who is more inclined to music. One feature of the keyboard is called “Role playing”. Here, the player is supposed to press the key for each note of the song and I’ve seen and heard Zyc play with it. And not only in this time I’ve seen his talent in music. He can easily grasp the tone of a song which he had only listened for just a few times. I even find it funny that he hums the angry birds theme including the tiniest and shortest note he has heard. He listens to every detail in a song. With his talent I wanted him to explore and enhance it.

I would love to give him a keyboard of his own like the ones from  Waldorf Keyboards but I guess he’s too young for such kind of instruments. I’ve seen the features of one of their products and even I couldn’t understand what are they. Haha! Although it claims to be user-friendly I think it will take time for Zyc to be able to understand how to maximize its functions and capabilities.

Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard

For now, I will just let Zyc enjoy what he has, his talent. And hopefully as he start in the music school and learn to play a keyboard he will grow and continue to love music like how he does today.

The New Electronic Residence Permit

Last month, hubby applied for an extension of his residence permit because he needs it for his visa application for his trip to China. He has been extending his annually from the time he came here last 2009 since he’s not yet a permanent resident. Considering that all our permits are to expire this coming June, I opted to do the same with mine and the kids’. We were surprised when we went to the Auslanderbehörde or Immigration Office. After filling up forms for the extension we were told that we can have our elektronisch Aufenthaltstitel or electronic residence permit after three weeks. As I have mentioned in my previous post, it came indeed three weeks after.

Upon inquiry we learned that all European Union member countries are mandated to introduce the electronic residence permit to create a unified residence title for third-country nationals like us entering the European Union. With its biometric features, it will strengthen the link between the document and the individual possessing the document thus preventing abuse. Aside from the biometric features where our photo and fingerprints are stored in a microchip, we can also use this card online for identification. Through this card, we can securely and safely register on websites and prove our identity when using machines. It can also function as our signature and be valid like a handwritten signature. We can sign online agreements or documents and they will be valid as if it was signed in ink. One advantage in this feature is we are spared from paper copies bearing our written signatures which could be unsafe and save us from mailing by post.

Eventually, this facility will be offered by various online shops, banks, insurance companies and more. With its functionality, no more waiting in lines, filling out forms and going to different government departments must be performed. Indeed, security and convenience carried in just a small plastic card.

Recognition Act: A Gateway for Opportunities in Germany

The Recognition Act came as a very good news for me. Recognition Act, which took effect in the beginning of this month, provides a legal procedure to recognize foreign professional qualifications. Meaning, professions gained outside Germany can be compared with those obtained here through an assessment. It is a standardized system which is easier to comprehend by applicants as well as the employers and businesses. Good thing is offices are available to handle such assessment and recommend you on what and where you can apply to and you are sure of decisions three months after your submission of your required documents. This will be very beneficial to professionals, like me because in reality many immigrants here have jobs that are not related with their previous careers in their homeland and receive salaries that are not commensurate.

When I received my new electronic residence permit, I was surprised that a work permit came with it. The thought of having that working permit excites me. Now I can apply for a job where I think would suit my credentials and be ready for a criminal background check. Although I know I have not done any criminal offense it is understandable that any company has to do a background check on the people applying to be a part of their workforce. And now with the Recognition Act, I’m seeing a possibility that I can work here with my past experience as a bank employee. I have already browsed in their portal regarding the professions available in a bank and by just reading gave me hope that in years to come I could gain back my career. But of course before I apply I will have to be armed with the most important weapon , the proficiency in the German language. Although I’m still opting to suit up in an international department. 🙂

The Ultimate Drum Set for Musicians

When you listen to beautiful music playing on the radio or if you have a compilation of CDs from some of the best artists in the world, you probably marvel at how wonderfully the music or the song was put together. Well, one thing’s for sure. Musicians don’t create music out of the blue. It takes time, a lot of effort, tons of know-how, and ingenuity.

Why should musicians, musical scorers, and composers be ingenious? The answer is pretty simple. They can’t employ a horde of other musical greats to help them; at least, not unless they have the money or are backed by a big music label. Most of the time, musicians are a one-man band. That means they make their music by themselves and sell these to bigger music outfits who, in turn, buy the music and place their copyright on it. If a musician is fortunate, the music he had created would be used by big-time music producers, pay him royalty for it, and let him have the rights to the music.

In order to create music that sounds as if a band recorded it, musicians who are part of a one-man team makes use of software like the Toontrack Superior Drummer and other digital plug-ins to help them out. In the case of Superior Drummer, it’s a virtual drum set and synthesizer that helps musicians incorporate the sound of drums into their music. The result is a beautifully orchestrated music that sounds as if there were live drummers during the production.

a screenshot of the Toontrack Superior Drummer

It’s perfect for upstarts who are still trying to get their act together and can’t afford to shell out much money. Since music can now be made using computers, computer software, and other digital support, musicians are sure to create wonderful music without burning a hole in their pockets.

B-Meg vs. Ginebra in Live Streaming, Yipeee!

I am a big basketball fan. It’s obvious from my previous posts on how I love watching the sport with my dad and big bro. I am thankful for the internet I get to watch my favorite PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) team, B-Meg Llamados play against the Barangay Ginebra Kings in their best of five semi-final series through live streaming. Dubbed as Manila Classico, it is reminiscent of the classic rivalry between the two teams which started way-back in the late 80’s when B-Meg was still Purefoods. I like the team because of their image and the kind of game they play. With rookies fresh from college basketball lead by “The Captain” Alvin Patrimonio, it’s like they were the “good boys” during those times. Players don’t usually get involved with squabbles or commit hard fouls. Unlike Ginebra players, especially their playing coach who normally curses the referee, commits hard fouls and was really known for playing “dirty” but still well-loved by millions. I think it was his charisma that was adored by the crowd.

The game started 6:45pm (Philppine time). It was a bad start for the Llamados, now lead by “The Big Game” James Yap, as they struggled against the strong defense of the Kings. 1st quarter ended as Llamados trailed by 13, 21-8. When I saw how they played I almost stopped watching and thought of just updating my other blogs. Good thing I continued and saw they regained composure and ended the 2nd quarter leading by 3 points. I was already shouting that time. Zyc even said, “Mommy, you’re like a man.” because that is really how I watch basketball. Their momentum continued in the 3rd quarter and the Ginebra team just doesn’t know what else to do.  The players also went too physical which lead to flagrant fouls and Ginebra’s import even pushed a Llamado on his face. The game ended with the final score 87-62.

It was a game well-fought. I am really excited for the coming games but hopefully they don’t reach Game 5. It’s hard when you face Ginebra where you not only play against the 5 players on the court but against the thousands of  fans who could put pressure on each player when they shout “Ginebra!”

My First Try in Baking: An Epic Fail (?)

I am currently on an Easter holiday/Spring break from my German class and this gave me the opportunity to try baking. I have been longing to do it because I feel I can do it better than cooking. Baking involves exact measurement and I think I’m for this since my tongue doesn’t function well when it comes to tasting food. 🙂 When Kenichi, my Japanese classmate, brought some Cantuccini in our class I instantly fell in love with it and told him I want to learn how to do it. I’ve been wanting to experience how to bake but I guess I didn’t have that enough courage. I fear that I would fail and the thought of wasting resources (cost of ingredients, heat and effort) hinders me. But everytime my classmate brings this biscotti, it was as if it’s luring me to make one on my own. So yesterday I’ve gathered the nerve and baked it.

Yesterday I thought was the perfect time to do it. It was the kids’ last day before the Easter holiday break and Zyc was invited by his classmate for a playtime so Ryz and I were left at home. This could also be the right time to have a bonding moment with my little girl! So here goes…

Ryz beating the eggs

It took me almost two hours preparing the dough. It got harder to mix when the almonds were added but like what Kenichi wrote on the recipe, I need patience on it. I did not take pictures of the step by step procedure and outcome because I was thinking that I made mistakes in the process. I wondered why my Cantuccini were brown while what Kenichi made were white. I looked through the recipe again and saw that there was no instruction of pre-heating the oven but I did. Hahaha! So that explains their color! They were also kind of tough but I guess is still manageable.

my first creation

Hubby tasted and said it was good but didn’t also like its toughness. Maybe if I had only cut them a little thinner they won’t be that hard to chew. Since they are good paired with coffee, I suggested hubby to just dip it in. Hahaha!

Until the time before I start this post I was thinking that my first try in baking was an epic fail. But then, when I saw images of Cantuccini in Wikipedia and Google, I’ve proven that I just did right. Yipeee!!!! I did not fail after all!

from Google images

This won’t be the first and last time I’ll bake Cantuccini. And this just gave me more courage to try other cookie recipes that I hope my kids will finally enjoy.