Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arabian Sausages

At the Carrefour supermarket we bought Arabian Sausages, they look so much like our local longganisa, which my kids lovingly call "longga-bongga" (we adapted the way my bestfriend and her son call longganisa). They were thinner and longer as compared to our local ones.

I should have trusted my instincts though, as my kids and I did not like the taste one bit. I had to finish mine to prove them part of our deal that we have to eat whatever is served on the table. I don't want my kids to grow up being choosey with their food. Back home, they even eat tuyo and tinapa and they love it :) My tastebuds was able to distinguish its garlicky taste but there was a curious herb or spice that was used as well. And I could not, for the life of me, remember what it was. It tasted like cardamom or something that you smell from a Chinese drugstore. Am not too sure... where I've always boasted my husband to know the spices or herb used on a particular food. This time I would have to concede :)  It might be something that the locals here love to include in their list of grocery items but for sure it won't be part of ours next time.

Salah and Carrefour

My husband and I decided to bring our kids to one of the shopping centers in the city...Carrefour. It was a big mall similar to Megamall I think. Carrefour has a wider selection of grocery items and they even have a bakeshop that sells all kinds of bread including Pandesal. My children's heads must have made a 360-degree turn as they saw all kinds of cheeses, nuts, chocolates, and cakes. My husband and I had to take turns telling the children in jest not to put too much in the grocery cart as we might end up selling them in exchange for the grocery items they want to buy :)

We were not able to go around as we made the mistake of doing our grocery shopping first. And since we had a lot of bags on hand we all just decided to go home. On our way there and back home I took some pictures via my mobile phone which I will be posting as well. In this country, we are unable to go out anytime we want as we need to observe their Prayer time or what they call as Salah. Salah is done at intervals within the day. So if Salah is, let's say, at 4pm then we can only go to the mall 30 to 45 minutes after.


The city by night

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cooking with Peaches

Apart from the regular chicken recipes I know, since we arrived in this country, I would always look for other recipes via the internet. Most times I like simple cooking but there are times when I want to surprise my husband and kids with my culinary ability. Last night for dinner I made Chicken cordon bleu. But instead of the usual fillings, I made mine with sausage (of course chicken sausage as well), carrot and cheddar cheese slices, cream cheese and peaches. For the sauce I made two kinds red sauce and bechamel. Of course the kids and my husband loved it and kept on asking when I plan on cooking the dish again. I would like to share with you my version of Chicken Cordon Bleu with red and bechamel sauce.

For this recipe you will need:
250 grams boneless and skinless chicken breast
Boiled Carrots (you don't need to much), sliced lengthwise
Peaches, sliced lengthwise
**Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese, sliced lenghtwise
Cream or Feta cheese (optional)

Ground pepper
salt to taste

**you can use other kinds of cheese

1)  Thinly slice the chicken breast the same way you do when you make beef rolls. Sprinkle the meat with ground pepper and salt. (you can also rub it with a little lemon if you want your chicken meat a bit tangy)
2) Arrange sliced carrots, cheese, and peaches and roll chicken until filling is completed wrapped. Dip in breadcrumbs. And fry in low fire. You can also add chilis, if preferred (the kind that is used for sinigang). Set aside and let cool.

For the Sauce:
Red Sauce:
3 pieces Garlic, minced
1 bulb Onion, sliced
Tomato paste
a little sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil add tomato paste and 1/4 cup water, add salt and pepper depending on preferred qty and stir constantly. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp sugar while stirring. Once red sauce is a bit thick, set aside.

White Sauce (bechamel):
7 pcs garlic, minced
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup grated cheese

Saute garlic in butter add 4 tbsp flour or cornstarch then pour the milk stir until it thickens a bit then throw in the grated cheese. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Once mixture is thick enough. set aside. For this sauce I put a little amount of sugar to balance off the taste.

You can now serve your Chicken cordon bleu with 2 sauces/gravy.

***Please note that the photo above is for visual purposes, this is not the actual picture of the dish I cooked last night. I forgot to take pictures as my husband and kids were excited to dig in! Photo was borrowed from

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bridging the distance with Prayers...

A week ago I was counting the time and wondering how long before the plane would land and before my children and I find ourselves in the arms of my husband. Today I wish I held my mom in my arms much longer and told her how much I love her. Back in the airport she held me and I just cried and cried not knowing what to say, while my mom, like the kind of mother she is, just shushed me and told me as if I was a little girl again, to stop crying and to make sure that I take good care of her grandchildren expecially my only girl.

Last night I just received news that she suffered another heart attack and I am quite apprehensive as this is her 5th. What can a daughter who is too far away do? I am limited by the distance between us that all I can do is try to be positive and leave everything to God. This is probably the reason why my visa was held at the embassy, it's probably the same reason why during the time I was fixing our documents everything kept stalling. I should probably have spent more time with my mom rather than worry about our papers. :(  I pray that the Lord hears my prayers as there are still a lot of places I want her to see, there are still a lot of things that I want to give her. One of the reasons why I left my job back home to pursue a life abroad was because I want to show her the world and let her live comfortably. I just pray so hard that my mom gets to hurdle through this again. There is not much I can do really...except pray for my dear mother and I appeal to my readers to do the same.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Antsy Pantsy

Am getting antsy.... I want to go out but I can't just do so anytime I want to. My kids and I have been seeing just the 4 corners of the room in our flat hence, I regret forgetting the books I wanted to bring along now I have nothing to read. It's quite fortunate that we have internet and television for the kids. I wanted to keep my kids busy by doing some art stuff because I brought all my materials with me. We have used up the unused folders here...I just hope my husband does not forget to bring us some scratch papers. I feel awful for letting the kids watch tv but I could not think of any other activity they can do. It's a good thing though that it is laundry day today so, I asked my 2 kids to help me out. I'm done with the laundries, and while on it was able to finish 2 articles today :) am just going to rest for a couple of minutes before I go ahead and iron the clothes.  The thing about washing clothes here is that the clothes get dry so fast you don't have to wait the whole day.

On our own

Back home, we left our dear dear nanny with my sister who has a baby. She has been with us for almost 5 years. We wanted so much to take her along but due to the limitation of my husband's status, we are unable to declare her as a dependent. Although we can sponsor her, we do not have the capacity yet to pay for her visa which I heard from my husband, costs about 10,000 riyals or depending on the exchange rate , is translated to more than 100,000 pesos. Hopefully, in the not so distant future we may be able to bring her over but probably no longer to work for us but to work on her own. Hopefully we can send her to school so that she can finish the degree that she has already started.

Prior to leaving the Philippines, I talked to my children about the life that we will be facing in this country. I set their expectations and was firm in saying that we have to work hand in hand. And that we have to do everything including domestic chores as a family. I assigned my daughter to washing the dishes and cooking rice, while my two sons are assigned to cleaning the table and mopping the floor. Just today, I decided to take it a notch higher. I am teaching my daughter now to wash our clothes, which should not be too hard as we have a washing machine. My eldest son, on the other hand, will help in hanging the clothes outside. While I do the ironing. My daughter, I have noticed is not too particular in doing things the way I wanted it done. She has her own style which would leave out a few things forgotten but I believe easy does it... we are slowly getting there. There are still a few hits and misses, but I know in time she would be more diligent in doing her assigned chores.

Two Saturdays ago before we left, my tita and cousins treated us to an eat-all-you can resto at Glorietta 5. It was there that my tita mentioned how my mom was so worried about my ability to handle the pressure of taking care of my kids coupled with domestic chores and work should I be able to find a job soon. She feels that my having a nanny since my daughter was 2 years old, may have altered my ability to survive. It's all but natural for mothers to feel that way, I think. Mothers are born worriers and like my own mom I worry as much too. But I know I can manage. I love the domestic life... I love cooking for my family! Hell! I even love doing the laundries (as long as there is a washing machine), and ironing clothes. It's not only the feeling of wanting to do those things but I find fulfillment in actually doing those stuff for my family. But because I want my children to grow up armed with the same life lessons, I delegate certain tasks to them. Hopefully, by the time that we go back to the Philippines, my children would already know by heart the value of discipline and hard work.

Our family's first day out

Saturday is considered as the country's first day of work, and since it was no longer a weekend, my husband decided to just ask permission from his manager to allow him to take us to IPSA and their company hospital. We left the flat just after lunch and once out my children and I felt the scorching heat. Surprisingly, we did not even perspire that much. There are no jeepneys, buses or any other mode of transportation except the cabs. My husband warned me that we have to be discriminate when it comes to hailing cabs as there are cab drivers who would take advantage and bring their passenger(s) to the dessert to rob or hurt them or worst. We first went to the company hospital, my children and I were again awe struck with the building’s interior and exterior. Everything...the ceilings and the floors were so lavishly designed. It was like walking into a palace...had it not said SAAD Outpatient building outside we would not have known that we were inside a hospital.

We just stayed a short bit and went straight to IPSA to enroll the kids. We were a bit apprehensive because we left during the exams week and we were not too sure whether they would be accepted as late enrollees. When we arrived at IPSA, the kids were sort of practicing for an event which we later found out to be their upcoming Foundation Day. We spoke with the school’s Registrar and as we explained everything to them was relieved to know that our kids shall not be refused but will have to take some sort of exam that will breeze them through the 2nd quarter. Already the children are quite excited. We arranged for their school bus as well and after which ate at McDonald’s.

We were again caught by surprise at McDonald’s the building is separated into two, one portion of the building was reserved for Families and the other half was for bachelors. The family rooms were divided by curtains where families can eat in private. Much to our delight, the soda and fries that are considered as medium size back in the Philippines are regular sized here. Plus you get the mayo for free, back home I needed to pay 12 or 15 pesos to have one small container of mayo (chicken sauce).

I have visited 3 countries, Malaysia, Japan and Saudi Arabia being the 3rd, and every time was a new experience. I hope to be able to visit more countries in the future with my husband and children. It should be exciting that way... to make your children aware that there are other countries, that differs in race, beliefs and culture but build the same dreams like everybody else...

Monday, October 25, 2010


The next morning we found ourselves just lazing around, catching up and just plain doing nothing. The first meal I cooked in this country was Chicken Afritada for dinner, upon the request of my husband. The next day my husband decided to take me along to one of the shopping centers here to buy me and our daughter abayas
We went to the grocery too to buy some stuff that we would need for the whole week. I was so excited to see cheap fruits and vegetables; and everywhere I go I would see chicken, more chicken, lamb and beef. My husband does not eat beef nor does he eat lamb so I had no option but to buy chicken. That night I cooked spaghetti with red sauce and chicken meat the next day at lunch we had breaded chicken. And finally last night we had chilli shrimps for a change. I felt so filled with chicken that when I woke up the next day I thought I heard myself say “Cock-a-doodle-doo” instead of “Good morning!”

Since Thursday and Friday were considered as weekends in this country we were not able to enroll the kids in their new school. My husband and I decided to enroll them at IPSA, which was recommended to him by one of his officemates whose children are currently studying there. I hope they get accepted as we won’t have any other choice but to enroll them in another international school which, I heard could be quite costly.

Hello Saudi Arabia!

For 5 months I plied the roads of Quezon City, Cavite, and Manila in the urgent desire to process our documents for visa and passport purposes. I was drained emotionally, my energy was zapped, and my pocket was left with a big dent. But all that is now water under the bridge...I can now say "khalas" (it is finished/ended)...a common word I continue to hear since my children and I arrived here 4 days ago.

I must say that my children and I are still in awe.  It was my children’s first plane ride and they still get excited whenever they get to talk about it. The flight was uneventful but laughable because of my kids. I blame myself for not being able to set their expectation whilst inside the plane. I remember only being able to introduce the country to them prior to our journey and telling them what can and what can’t be done whilst inside the airport. But I forgot about the plane ride ha-ha. One of those funny episodes was when my youngest son tried to call the attention of one of the flight stewardess, asking her for water. He started waving his glass and shouted “tubig please, tubig please!” (water please!) It was a good thing that most of the passengers around us were Filipinos too. They had fun watching movies and playing video games during the plane ride. Our first stop was at Abu Dhabi where we awaited our connecting flight that will take us to Dammam.  Etihad airways carried us all throughout and I am glad that my children had a tremendous experience, the flight stewardess were very friendly especially with my kids.

When we arrived at the Abu Dhabi International airport, my children were once again taken into a wave of awe as they rode the walkalator. It was a welcome sight as we had 2 hand-carry bags that were quite heavy. The first time I saw a walkalator was when I was sent by my boss to Malaysia about 14 years ago J.  The first thing my children wanted to do was to look at the goodies in the duty free shop inside the airport and beg me to buy them a box of chocolates which I did. After about 45 minutes we were asked to board the plane that will finally take us to Dammam where my husband will be waiting.

Dammam airport or better known as the King Fahd International airport was a  bit old in terms of structure as compared to the airport in Abu Dhabi, but what was actually important was the fact that we have landed safely. I was anxious once again because I heard from my husband that normally immigration is very stringent when it comes to checking of baggages. Being in another country with 3 children in tow is difficult should there be any problems with immigration. Surprisingly we went through without any trouble and was met by my handsome husband just outside.

The ride from the airport took about 45 minutes but my children and I however, tired just could not help but admire the beautiful and fully lighted buildings. When we arrived at the flat, I was so touched with how my husband took care of everything. There was warm food; there were fresh sheets on the bed. I can see how my husband was just as excited as we were. We had our first taste of Broasted chicken and Basmati rice. Everything was perfect.

I believe that Saudi Arabia will be our second home and where our hopes and dream will slowly be realised...Inshau' Allahh...