Thursday, August 31, 2017

On Motherhood and Backup Plans

I just have to write it now, lest I forget. So today, I experienced the sweetest moment here in Germany so far. As I was putting my bags in the taxi, a little boy, maybe 3 or 4 years old with a bandage on one of his eyes, came near me and said Hallo. His mother was behind him. And I also said Hallo (which was kind of high-pitched, which I hoped doesn't sound weird). He was so cute and sweet he even went nearer but I was already seated in the taxi. As I was about to close the door, he pushed it and closed it for me. Seriously, I wanted hug and kiss him. And then, in a nearby bench, the mother and son took a seat and as I was there, inside the taxi, watching them, I realized I wanted to also have a moment like that. I wanted to, one day, walk with my future son or daughter, and just sit on a bench when he or she is already tired, and just enjoy every second of being with him or her.

In my younger years, I haven't really thought much about being a mother. But now that I'm a thirty-year old adult grown up, motherhood is something that I'm starting to dream about. To be honest, I never thought this day would come. My dreams used to revolve around two things: having a successful career and meeting the love of my life. Marriage and family only comes after that. Now, as I'm climbing the career ladder, I have to say I don't really know if I'll ever meet the right man but one thing's for sure, I don't want to put motherhood on hold forever. So I'll just continue and focus on my work and save, and I am giving myself an ultimatum, which is - By thirty five years old, if I am still not married, I will either adopt or have my eggs frozen and ask for someone to donate sperm cells and have in vitro fertilization. All of these options are expensive so starting from now, I really have to save little by little. Of course, I am not closing my doors when it comes to having the whole process of motherhood in the usual, natural way. I want to experience that also but...

...backup plans are needed, just in case.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quick Life Update

The past two days (up until now) have been the best days here in Germany, weather-wise. Yesterday, it was 31°C! It felt like home minus the freakin' humidity and I love it! So yeah, there's a legit summer day here after all. It's perfectly warm but I'm not sweaty. And that just makes me feel happy. I love the Philippines but one of the things I don't miss is the situation of being sweaty right after you get out of your home or apartment in the morning. Imagine the sun shining bright and the humidity in action and your skin is just burning and wet at the same time. Anyway, I'm just gonna make this post short and sweet because I still need to pack my things for tomorrow I'll be transferring them to my new apartment.

I don't know if it's just the weather but I noticed that for the past few days, I've been feeling good about myself. Remember my post about being insecure/not comfortable in my own skin here? Just this evening when I went to the street a few blocks away to do some errands (buy some groceries because hashtag adulting), I was walking comfortably and confidently. I was just at peace and happy inside. One of the biggest realizations I have since I arrived here is that I don't care anymore if I look different among the people here. I'll just live my new life the way it's supposed to be---filled with happiness, confidence, and being appreciative of even the littlest of things. =)

Also, one month and two weeks have already gone by since I first set foot in this new country that is Germany, specifically, in this beautiful city that is Köln (spelled as Cologne in English). I have so many things I want to talk about but I just couldn't find the time to write a blog post. So sorry for being a lousy blogger but hopefully I'll get back on my feet again and take on the world of blogosphere with so much enthusiasm (just like before). Haha!

So yeah, it's 11pm already, guess I need to start packing now.

Have a great evening! Oh, let's change it, HAVE A GREAT LIFE everyone!!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Avène: First Time User

Since I am currently having acne breakouts, I decided to drop by the Apotheke (German word for pharmacy) this afternoon to see what skincare products I should take. The lady at the counter asked my skin type and I told her combination skin (oily on the T-zone, dry on the sides) and acne-prone. She then recommended the Avène Cleanance EXPERT line. I've never used Avène before so I thought, well why not give it a try. Here they are!
Avène Cleanace Cleansing Gel for face and body - €13.90
Avène Cleanance EXPERT Soin-Emulsion - €14.90
Avène TriAcnéal EXPERT Soin-Emulsion - €15.90

Basically, the line targets breakouts without irritating the skin. According Avène's website:
  • The Avène Cleanace Cleansing Gel for face and body is a soap-free gel cleanser for face and body which harnesses a combination unique ingredients that eliminate impurities and excess oil without stripping the skin.
  • The Avène Cleanance EXPERT Soin-Emulsion is an award winning comprehensive treatment that targets the appearance of blemishes at every stage. The moisturizing formula helps regulate oil production, smoothes skin texture and reduces inflammation and the appearance of blemishes.
  • The TriAcnéal EXPERT is an evening moisturiser that comprehensively targets blemishes, marks and the first signs of ageing, so that those looking for clearer skin and anti-ageing care no longer have to compromise.
So tonight, I already used the Cleansing Gel and the TriAcnéal Emulsion. The Cleanance Emulsion, on the other hand, will be included in my morning routine.

I don't want to set my expectations high but let's see if these products can tame my raging skin.

Will update after one month (15th of September).


P.S. I also got 2 mini freebies! =)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

New Kid On The Block

Three weeks and two days have passed already since I first set foot here in Germany last July 13, 2017. As I've said in my previous post, it was a dream of mine to pursue a PhD degree in biomedical science and, finally, it's now becoming a reality. Getting here was never easy. It was hard work, determination, perseverance, support of the people around me, faith, and most importantly, God's mercy that got me through all this. Whenever I remember all that I've been through, sometimes I can't help but get teary eyed.

Right now, I am still adjusting in my new environment.

First let's talk about the weather. It's summer but sometimes I do feel like it's autumn or spring. The weather here can get a bit crazy within the day. It's drastic, from 29°C where the sun is shining bright with cool breeze to 12°C where the rain is pouring with nearly freezing winds. There are days where it's nice to walk around but there are days where you just want to stay in the comfort of your bed. One thing that I've been doing is constantly checking the weather update just to be prepared. I also got an umbrella. In preparation for the colder months ahead, I am also planning to buy some jackets and coats.

Second, let's talk about the people. Stereotypes about Germans include being unfriendly, cold, direct, and are not into small talks. In my thee weeks here, I encountered some that look unfriendly and cold at first but actually they are good people. The thing with stereotypes is you compare a culturally different group of people with another group. So for me, coming from the Philippines, the norm is giving a warm welcome, showing that bright smile and greeting, to someone new. But here, on the day I arrived, I wasn't greeted by a smile and warm welcome from the reception personnel at the institute. It's just like, let's get down to business. "Why are you here? Who are you looking for?" etc. He's very direct. I wasn't offended or something because I've prepared myself about the German stereotypes. I think getting on to business is their norm here. Surely they'll look unfriendly if I compare them to the norm back home but that's what stereotyping is all about, it just compares. You can't judge someone whether he/she is a good person just by stereotyping.

When it comes to my supervisor and colleagues at work, I'd have to say they are warm and friendly and easy to work with. One of my hopes here is to have  a good and professional relationship with the people I'm working with. The night before my first day at work, I was very anxious. Good thing, that first day went smoothly. Also, it's nice that my supervisor is not intimidating and has a passion for what he's doing.

I have to add the random strangers I met outside of work. I'm very fortunate for all the act of kindness I experienced from them. I remember the day I arrived here. Jet lagged and all but I have to buy some adaptors. Using the map given by the HR, I was at the Lindenburg station looking at my map. A lady approached me and asked if I needed help. I must have looked like a lost child but I truly appreciate her gesture. Then one Saturday, I was again in Lindenburg station but the shop where I buy tickets is closed. While inside the tram, I asked a girl (whom I thought is Korean but is Chinese) how to get a ticket and she helped and taught me on getting the ticket from the machine in the tram. Also, she's a Master's student at a nearby institute who's also studying biomed so we had some conversation about our background and studies. Another Saturday, I went to the laundromat. I was looking at the directions but they are all in German. I was dead smack figuring how I'll wash my clothes. An old man asked me if I needed help. He explained one by one all the things that I have to do. He's so good in teaching every single detail I have to know, from getting the detergent in the machine to operating the washing machine to using the dryer. He's even giving me his detergent but I was shy, so I just bought one from the machine. I did some errands in the grocery and then came back to the laundromat and then, we had a good talk. He said he is the one doing the laundry of his clothes and his wife's because his wife is sick, multiple sclerosis. When he learned that I'm doing my PhD, he said that he had a neighbor who used to work at my institute. It's really a wonderful experience talking to him and realizing that he is such a good man. There's this time, while apartment hunting, I was so hungry I went to the nearest bakeshop. I only bought a slice of pie but the lady got three more breads and gave them to me as a gift. I will always be thankful to them for all the help and genuine act of kindness! I hope to also give back by helping other people.

Third, let's talk about how I'm handling some of the not-so-good stuff. Since I am a foreigner, I can't help but compare how I look with the people here. Clearly, I am different - from head to toe. The color of my hair, the color of my eyes, the color of my skin, the shape of my face, the built of my body...I am way, way different from them. They all look like models and dolls in my perspective. Yes, I have to say dolls because most of my dolls when I was a child were blonde, fair-skinned, with blue or green eyes. They are not discriminatory, but deep inside, I can't help but feel like I'm the only thorn among the roses. I'm starting to become self conscious and insecure in my own skin. Sometimes, I feel that I'm too old to be thinking that way. I'm an adult and an adult should know what is right. And that is to accept how different I am, to be content and happy with how I look, and to celebrate the diversity of people. For now, everything is still a learning process. It is my hope though that one day, I'll be able to embrace and celebrate my uniqueness and how diverse the humankind is all over the world.

New haircut, Aztec Healing Clay, and Empties

Hi everyone! Just a little update. I've never gotten a haircut since I left the Philippines last July. It's been 7 months alrea...