Saturday, February 07, 2015

All about my Amber

Amber started attending Hoikuen (daycare) a week before turning 8 months old. Too early and young. In all honesty, it was not easy for me. That constant guilt of whether I did the right thing or did it make me less of a mother to her. I went through that phase but as soon as I saw that she had adjusted quite fast than expected, i began to console myself that everything will be alright. 
Takasudai-2 Hoikusho is just three minutes away from our home.

The more i was comforted after having learned her progress and that she got along well. Her ways are very Japanese and very independent but at home, she likes to be cuddled and carried or constantly wanted by either parent.
We used the carrier on the way to her school until Autumn.
Autumn of 2013 came and decided to purchase a bike. A mama bike but T rode it most of the time because it was difficult to maneuver. I ride only upon Amber's request.

Amber was born in Korea, spent her toddler years in Japan and soon to continue her formative years in Cebu and the rest who knows where provided either parent should be physically present to attend her needs.

Having lived in 3 countries, she learned a few words from 2. Most words, as typical for baby words, are repetitive and pronounced incoherently.

Here is a list of words we heard from her lately (grouped according to source):

The Repeaters
Poo poo (poop), Play play, Bye bye (goodbye), Big big, Chu chu (train), Wee wee (to pee, peed), Bugga bugga (a tree or leaves), Broom broom (toy car / car). 

From sensei and tomodachi
Oishii (delicious), Kaku (to be carried), Yada (no!), Abunai (dangerous), Dagai should be 'nagai'. It means 'long', Ippai (many), An punch - to punch. Based on anpanman cartoons, Wan wan (dog), Nyan nyan (cat), Hait (yes), Nani? (what?). 

Lingua franca
Toys, Book, Eyplen (airplane), feet, Hands, Eat, Pepol (purple), Dewash (girraffe), Panda, Bebe car, Gin (green), Odenj (orange), White, Black, Pink, Blue, Red, Cook, Food, Moon, Binbow (rainbow), and others I forgot.

On a sad note, Amber (or Sophia in school) had her last day at Takasudai-2 Hoikusho yesterday (6 Feb). I was not able to fetch her and say my farewells to her teachers and friends but T was there to represent us both.
ありがとうございました, たかすだい2

Last Day
It was fun playing a lot with teachers and friends.
Thank you very much Takasudai-2 Hoikusho
Her teachers gave her a certificate, a class photo, and some crafty gifts. That's one of the many things I admire in Japanese schools, they don't spoil the children with new stuff. Of course, they have a lot of toys to play with in school but gifts or prizes, all are arts and crafts. And they are not ordinary artworks, really clever crafts that even had me thinking 'how come i never thought of that?'
Exhibit 1: Amber's 1st birthday card
Exhibit 2: Amber's 2nd birthday card

The day before her last, her teachers gave us a letter written in English. Beyond touch, I am. Framed and now hangs next to my Ikea hexagon mirrors. True story. 
I am now starting to miss Amber and her school. It was a very a difficult schedule to keep that had been often the cause of our tardiness at work. Time ran too fast. I was fortunate that mine is lenient and forgiving with this case, while T was the opposite. We've come to accept the outcome and have long moved on. In fact, I am a little excited in spite of one musketeer's (that would be me) absence of the happenings from here onwards because every thing we have been hoping for will materialise. Time has come indeed.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter essentials: what's in the bag?

Bag at the moment: The Gap leather tote. Size is enough to fill with the universe, and sometimes, Amber's baby essentials. I am slowly letting go of bringing baby bag when out for less than a half day with her.

Inside (clockwise from left): ear phones, Marc by Marc Jacobs 3-fold wallet, Baggu bag, company ID, ear muffs, Suica card (prepaid card for transportation and can be used in convenience stores as payment mode), Moleskine planner, The Gap leather gloves, and keys (house and bike). 

(Not in photo) My Russet beauty kit only carries a lip gloss, balm and comb. So low maintenance. 

That's it. Gone are the days were i practically fill my bags with life (compared to this post I wrote in 2009). The older i get, the less things i need. With the exception of shoes. 

But seriously, i am eyeing on Annabel Ingall crossbody bag. It is the cheap version of Celine trio. It would serve well for errands. A large tote is good for now because my busy schedule is preventing me from the simple task of changing bags (but not with blogging, hehe). Come Spring, inspire me to reorganize.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

travel: Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Cebu

After welcoming 2015, the three of us headed for the beach. I have always been curious about the hype of Mövenpick so we decided to stay there.

White walls, high-ceiling and modern European-inspired furniture greeted us.
It was our first time in Mövenpick. Prior to becoming 'Mövenpick', these buildings were Hilton Cebu. It was not as popular compared to other resorts in Mactan but when the Swiss took control and bought the property with half a billion pesos worth of renovation, Mövenpick Hotel & Resort was born.

Amber pressed her face into a chair. It's the only way to caption this photo.

The Ibiza Beach club, the only fun place for party-goers, holds various night activities. On our first night, it was a Latin dance show, the night after was an in-house DJ playing music.
I am not saying there's not much activities. They have programs and activities for kids and adults in the morning which we also missed. 

Amber, my now hyper active toddler, runs whenever a chance presents itself but most of the time, still prefers to be carried.

Our first day at the beach. I was surprised by her excitement and willingness to dip her feet into the sea for I was expecting otherwise. Upon seeing her love for the water, we hurriedly went back to our room to change for swim wear.


We booked the cheapest suite available. Cheap may be but behold thy suite! This is the lounge area  (can't say living room. It sounds off). The bedroom is separate making it a 1 bedroom suite. The suite has two TV sets. The smaller one is in the bedroom. 

Neutral colored couch with Missoni-like stripes throw pillows. I had doubts on the authenticity of the various arts mounted on the walls.

With just a few additional square meters, the bar area could become a kitchen. There's a small fridge inside the cabinet.

I fell in love with the bathroom. Spacious. It makes up for 1/3 of the bedroom. And the color is to die for. Royal blue, dim lights and modern fixtures are all it takes to make a windowless bathroom look expensive and creepy.

Again, the paintings. If these were authentic, I mean all rooms having these original artworks, the artist is lucky to have this commission. 

Back in the bathroom. There's a clothesline for our clothes to hang dry, and a rubber clown fish that Amber calls Nemo and wanted to keep. I went as far as asking the staff if it is for sale. On our last day, Amber kept Nemo in her backpack. We talked her about leaving Nemo here to no avail. Of course, being adults, we tricked her while on our way out. While I was fixing her hair in a topknot, I took it from her backpack. I was hoping she'll forget Nemo and fortunately, she did.

To me, Chopard is an accessory brand. I never thought of them as supplier of bath products. The lotion smells nice though.

The bathroom has no walls separating toilet and bath making the double doors unnecessary but designwise, helps with ventilation. The right is next to the shower, while the left is next to the tub.

Mine and her gold saltwater sandals. We tested its durability and it passed.

One thing that got me curious of Mövenpick is the glow-in-the-dark chairs. It looks awesome and avant garde. Sorry if I sound ignorant but I have not seen such before, not even in Japan (or maybe I should go farther from Chiba, lol!)

My little miss and her topknot.

The beach is typical Mactan beach. White sands were obviously imported somewhere. There's only one pool and restaurants of choice are two. Overall, it was a nice experience. The best thing was the room. Food was OK. We tried the Mövenpick ice cream (who knew they make some) and was no better than Haagen-Dazs.