Thursday Thirteen # 14: Highs of 2006

Thirteen Highlights of 2006

  1. 2006 greeted us with the loss of baby Trissi Gabriel.
  2. Hubby finally bought me a new computer as an early pre-valentine gift.
  3. This was followed by an overnight trip to Blue Mountain where I tried skiing for the very first time.
  4. Summer where spent at Canada's Wonderland, where we bought our first season pass. It was good timing, since we didn't know we will be moving out of Ontario later in the year.
    From Patricia's first to discovering she is as daring as me... and in trying more daring rides... and here's the picture to prove it... and of course, still daring at the water park.
  5. Our summer is also filled with out of town trips to New York City...
  6. An overnight trip to Tobermory, Ontario...
  7. and back to the USA for a family gathering/reunion.
  8. I joined and become part of the Thursday Thirteen group.
  9. And here's my entry about my problem with kids and TV and my new house rules is working perfectly! Now my kids are used to the idea of no TV. Since we moved, buying TV is at the back of our list and kids are not complaining at all.
  10. I held my first contest and the winner received a $20 GAP gift card. Sorry, nobody won my second contest.
  11. Of course, the biggest highs of all is our relocation... from Ontario to Alberta! Feels like we are migrating all over again!
  12. Our new car! [which I haven't blog about]
  13. December 24, we spent the day on a trip to Banff National Park and Lake Louise. Hubby visited Banff last September, here's what it looks like in the summer time.

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On Returns and Exchanges

I wish to thank everyone who left me messages. Sorry I have been too sick to really respond to each and everyone of them. I am deeply touched by your well wishes! THANK YOU!


On Returns and Exchanges

The one thing I love about North America is the right of the costumer to return or exchange an item, as long as you have the receipt and its original packaging.

Before we left Toronto, we received 2 advance Christmas gifts, one is a digicam and the other is a portable DVD player for my kids.

I already notice that the digicam's audio is quite low compared to my old digicam. But since I have been busy with our relocation I decided to postpone going to the store to have it check. But I did ask my friend to give me the receipt, just in case.

The portable DVD player was a gift for my kids, they got it on our last day in Toronto. I also had to leave the packaging since I had no way of knowing that I will be requesting for an exchange. Once we got on the plane, I found out that it was defective. It can't read the disk. And I thought that was it! I don't have the packaging nor the receipt.

Once in Calgary, I decided to exchange my digicam. I didn't have all the packaging with me then [I left it at home], I was just at the store and decided to ask. Its a good thing I have the receipt with me. And the girl just willingly exchange the unit without any question. On top of that, I got a refund. You see, that model was on sale that day, $50 off! So when she did the exchange, she has to give me the difference in the amount. Yey! Of course, I'm returning the refund to my friend K.

This gave me an idea that maybe I can exchange the DVD player too, even without the packaging. So I have to ask my friend Junnie to mail me the receipt. The problem with this DVD player is that it is being phased out, so there are limited units available in Calgary. I have to go to 3 different stores before they finally got one. They willingly exchanged it, with no hassle! And they were quite amuse that my receipt was from Erin Mills, Mississauga, Ontario.

Now, this is what I call a good customer service!

3 more days to go...

and I have not bought any gifts for my kids! I've been sick this whole week with sore throat, cough and on and off fever and migrain. I've been sleeping a lot and drinking lots of liquid... still I feel like I am getting worst everyday!

I know what to get my daughter coz she just gave me her wish list... but my son was to lazy to make his wish list, so I don't really have an idea of what he wants. Maybe its about time I give him cash this Christmas, what do you think?

Thursday Thirteen #13: Christmas Season

A Canadian born made a comment: "I don't understand why some people, like my neighbor, would put up their Christmas light and decor as early as September. Are they crazy?"

I said: "They must be from the Philippines.

He said: "Yes! How did you know?"

I said: "Because I am from the Philippines and our Christmas celebration starts as soon as the 'ber' month arrived. Filipinos love the Christmas season."

He said: "I can't imagine putting up my Christmas tree and lights before Halloween... We always put up our tree a week before Christmas and take them out after boxing day [December 26]."

Thirteen things I miss about Christmas in the Philippines

  1. Celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, birth of Jesus [and not Santa Claus].
  2. Christmas songs playing in the mall as early as September.
  3. The overflowing of food during Noche Buena.
  4. The gathering of family and relatives during Noche Buena.
  5. The opening of gifts on Christmas eve.
  6. Simbang gabi and puto bumbong.
  7. Gift giving.
  8. The different sizes and colorful parols hanging along the streets and houses.
  9. The well decorated homes, malls and business district.
  10. Numerous Christmas parties to attend.
  11. Participating in the "Kris Kringle".
  12. Christmas carolers singing door to door.
  13. Going to carnivals [our yearly family tradition].
If you're not yet done with your Christmas shopping, here's a list of ideas for your friends, for FREE!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you!!!

Thoughts #9: On Remittances

I hate my bank [HSBC] in the Philippines... first, they wanted to convert our existing PHP mortgage loan to USD since we are no longer living in the Philippines. So I have to faxed them copies of our valid Philippine passport just to let them know that we are still very much Filipino citizens. And of course I insisted that that loan has been approved when we were still in the Philippines.

Then, come the time when they wanted to tax my USD account, again because we are no longer living in the Philippines. So I closed my USD account and just decided to maintain my PHP account for the mortgage.

Recently, I've remitted money to our account in the Philippines. I used PNB-Toronto to remit, so that it will be easier. This is the second time I used PNB-Toronto and I have no problem with our first remittance. Now, they are "rejecting" my remittance, reason being "we are non-resident". Duh??? The money I'm remitting is being converted to PHP in Canada, so once it reached my account in Manila, it will be in PHP. This is fine since my account with them is in PHP.

I sent them 4 emails before I got an answer. I was finally informed me that they will only accept my remittance in foreign currency since I am a non-resident and not in PHP. My account is in PHP, it only seems reasonable to send money in PHP, right?

When I told PNB-Toronto about the reason they gave me, the lady told me that this is the first time they've encountered problem like mine. If this is a ruling of BSP [Bangko Sentral], as claim by my bank, then why is it that PNB have never heard of it? And none of my friends have ever encountered such a problem?

Have you ever encountered such problems?

Relocation Update #6: Schools and Homework

In a matter of speaking, they say that schools here are generally much much better than the schools in Ontario. I still have yet to find out since my kids just started school here last week, but so far, here's what I've discovered:

  1. There are 4 types of school available: regular Public school or Catholic school, and Public French Immersion school or Catholic French Immersion school.

    In Ontario, there are only 3 types of school. There is no Catholic French Immersion school. So my kids have to attend the Public French Immersion school.

  2. My kids now go to the Catholic French Immersion school and have religion subject. They say they have to pray 4 times in one day, and in French! They only have 1 hour of English class every day, irregardless of the grade level. The chances of them being able to converse in French are higher here.

    In Ontario, from Grade 1-3, about 90-100% are taught in French, but once the child enter grade 4 onwards, its 50-50 in English/French. I once talk to a father who speaks French and his daughter goes to the same school as my kids, her daughter is already in grade 6 then and he told me that she is not able to converse fluently in French.

  3. Schools here are not free! I have to pay for the school bus [$230/family/year], school fees [$70 each], buy them their own school supplies and even pay for lunch supervision [$150/family/year] since my kids will be having lunch at school. These are one-time fee I have to pay upfront.

    In Ontario, I never did pay for anything! There's a school fee of $20/child/year, plus I have to pay for extra-curricular activities like ice skating, skiing, swimming... etc... and field trips. These I have to pay staggared throughout the school year. But other than these, I didn't have to provide school supplies, lunch supervision nor pay for school bus. It was only when my son started grade 4 that I have to buy him 2 binders and lined papers. That's it!

  4. My daughter [grade 1] gets homework every Friday. My son [grade 4] have homework everyday [in French]! That is why I am thankful for online sites that translate French to English and vice versa. Without it, I'd be totally lost since I don't know the French Language.

    In Ontario, my kids hardly get any homework. Well, maybe one homework once a week or every other week and 1-2 project per school year.
I thought that FREE schooling is across Canada, I stand corrected. I'm sure there's still more differences, but this is it for now.

Thursday Thirteen #12: Amazing Race

I'm a die hard Amazing Race fan! And I can't wait for the 11th season -- an all-star cast edition which premier in February 2007.

Thirteen reasons why I should be in The Amazing Race

  1. I love to travel
  2. and I love to see the world
  3. I love to see/learn different culture.
  4. I'm willing to try anything [especially if it's free!] -- like bungee jumping, sky diving, parasailing [even though I can’t swim]
  5. I'm a good driver
  6. and I can drive stick shift and automatic cars, even SUVs [though I haven't tried driving a trailer or on the left side of the road, but that shouldn't be hard to do, right?]
  7. I would like to see how far I would go to win a million dollar. Do I dare shave off my hair like Joyce? [AR-7 Ep-8]
  8. Or do I dare eat a Korean delicacy like the live octopus? [AR-4 Ep-10]
  9. I am not afraid of heights, well, maybe a little, but its something I am willing to try, like the face-forward angel dive down the Olympic Tower in Helsinki [AR-10 Ep-10]
  10. I would love to meet Phil
  11. Maybe this will help me learn how to navigate
  12. Maybe this will help me overcome my fear of water like Wanda? [AR-9 Ep-3]
  13. And I would love to win a million dollars for my kids!
If hubby and I are in the Amazing Race, he will be eating delicacies and do everything water related while I do other daring stunts... He is the navigator while I am the driver... He will deal with taxi drivers while I deal with travel agencies...

Test Your Priorities: Interpretation

It seems that 5 out of 11 participants choose to attend to the baby first and 6 of the participants decided to turn off the water first...

Five things are happening at the same time in your house which need your attention. Rank them accordingly...

  1. the phone is ringing
  2. the baby is crying
  3. somebody is knocking at your door
  4. you hung your washed clothes to let it dry outside but it has started to rain
  5. you did not turn off the tap in the kitchen and the water is starting to overflow
The succession of numbers you have chosen here define the order of your priorities in life. You can see on the following list the definition of each point :
  1. Ringing phone: work
  2. Crying baby: family
  3. Knock on door: friends
  4. Washed clothes: money
  5. Overflowing water: sex

Mixed nuts #7

My Virtual Pinboard

I saw this at Rach's blog and decided to create my own virtual pinboard... Please take time to upload any pictures [nudity not allowed] that will describe who you are! And please don't forget to leave me a comment on the pinboard.


Test your priorities:

Five things are happening at the same time in your house which need your attention. Rank them accordingly...
  1. the phone is ringing
  2. the baby is crying
  3. somebody is knocking at your door
  4. you hung your washed clothes to let it dry outside but it has started to rain
  5. you did not turn off the tap in the kitchen and the water is starting to overflow
In what order will you solve these problems? Each point represents something in your life.

Interpretation of your answers will be posted in the next entry!


Fishy fishy so cutie! -- I've always been an admirer of body paintings, just don't want to post them as most of them involves nudity.

Reading for the day: The Scars of Life and the Caller ID.

Art Attack

[Title stolen from Leah's blog]

My daughter loves to draw, that is why my fridge is always full of her drawings! Even the walls in my bedroom and her bedroom. Then she took drawing classes in October and she started to draw more.

But with our move, I really have to dispose most of them! I can't be sentimental about it and bring it ALL with me. There were just too many of them!

In order for me to remember those drawings and to monitor how her drawing keeps on improving, I dated and scan each and everyone of them! Now, I have a paperless copy of all of her drawings, in my HD.

Thursday Thirteen #11: Our New Home

Thirteen things I love about our NEW [rented] HOME

  1. It's a 3 bedroom condo-townhouse
  2. with a big unfinished basement
  3. and a one-car garage
  4. All windows have blinds
  5. It is close to the airport [where hubby works]
  6. And close to the town center [mall - where I plan to work, hopefully, soon...]
  7. It comes with 5 appliances [Fridge, stove, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer] -- and all brand new!!!
  8. It has a built-in fireplace [not the traditional fireplace, so no mess]
  9. My kitchen has lots of built-in cabinets
  10. And I have a big kitchen counter too [yey]
  11. There's also a walk-out patio where we can have our BBQ in the summer
  12. Neighborhood is peaceful and very quiet
  13. Best of all, we don't have to shovel [the condo management will handle this]

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Relocation Update #5: Movers

I was surprised when the movers told me that the total weight of my stuff has reached 2020 pounds. And immediately I questioned it since based on my own estimate it should only be at 1600 pounds. So I insisted on having it re-weighted when it reached Calgary. The lady at the customer service told me that the re-weight is going to costs me additional $50, but if they indeed made a mistake, then I don't have to pay for the $50.

So on the day of the delivery, I have to meet the driver at the weighing scale at 7am to have it re-weight, and true enough, my total weight was only at 1780 pounds. This is more acceptable to me than 2020 pounds.

I am so glad I insisted on the re-weight, they must have weigh it [unintentionally] with the driver still in the truck.

Related posts:
Relocation update #1
Relocation update #3: In Boxes