Teaching Tagalog language to our son

Even before traveling to the USA, we started teaching and talking to our 1-year old son in English. We thought that doing so will help him adjust more easily to life in America. So by the time he was two, he can converse well in English, but he could also understand Tagalog.

We totally underestimated his ability to pick up languages and his capacity to adjust to life in the USA.

When he turned three, we thought of enrolling him to a Pre-K at the school of the church we go to. He didn’t need to go to school every day. Instead, we opted for the twice-a-week schedule for him. It was a great chance for him to socialize with other kids and give my wife some time off by herself. He also had a view of what it is like to go to school. Preschool in the USA is very different from preschool in the Philippines. It is less structured, there’s more time for play. But that’s an entirely different post altogether.

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Tips When Driving on the Freeway or Interstate Highways in the USA

It can be scary to drive in the freeway or interstate highways in America. Cars speed up like a torrent of flood, headed to places miles and miles away. In many parts of the USA, having a car is not a luxury, but a necessity if you are working or if you want to have the freedom to move around. I’ve written about how to buy a car here.

If you’re scared of the interstate, you will end up driving in the backroads where the maximum speed is between 25-45 miles per hour (mph), depending on where those streets are. If you go to the interstate, the minimum is 45 mph and the speed limit is usually 70 mph. Although I’ve found that in some interstate highways, cars can speed up to 80mph. One time, I had to drive from Nashville to Atlanta to apply for a Schengen visa. It was a 4-hour drive but man, all those cars were just zooming past me though I was driving at 72mph.

Here are some tips when driving on the freeway or interstate highways.

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How to Lower Your Comcast Xfinity Cable & Internet Rate

When we first arrived in the USA, we applied for Comcast Xfinity cable and internet package. We paid $66 per month initially. But after the initial 12 months promotional period, we ended up paying $111 per month! Too expensive! So when our 2-year contract was up, I called them up and managed to bring down our monthly rate to $48.66

Here’s a trick to lower your Comcast Xfinity cable and internet monthly rate.

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Dental Care is So Expensive in America!

In the Philippines, most families don’t really pay for health insurance and dental insurance. But in America, it’s very difficult if you don’t have one. The cost of healthcare without any insurance could be so high that you may end up paying thousands of dollars!

Our 4-year old son started complaining about his teeth. So we went to a dentist for a consultation. His dentist recommended that they put a crown on 6 molars – 2 on each side on the lower set of his teeth; and 2 on the upper right molars.

The next step was to ask for estimates from the dentist and our dental insurance plan how much it would cost. You see, even if you pay for a dental insurance, it would still cost a lot to avail dental services.

So we waited for a little bit. Then a letter came in the mail. To do a Pulpotomy and crown two of his lower left molars, it would cost a total of $831! I know I’ve said I should not convert from dollars to pesos, but man, that’s more than PhP41,000! I could have replaced all of my teeth and more!

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How to Apply for a University of the Philippines Transcript of Records Online

Last year I applied to a Master’s degree program. I applied and got accepted to the Master’s degree in Youth Development Program at Missouri University. It was quite the process.

I had to apply for admission. Then I had to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is required for all foreigners who want to study in a university in the USA. I’m proud that I got a score of 117 out of 120! 🙂 I prepared for that test but not thoroughly. I can write another post about that soon.

To be admitted to a master’s degree program in the USA, though, you will need to send your official transcript of records (TOR) to the university. Your personal copy does not count, though. It should be sent directly from the college or university in the Philippines to the college or university in the USA.

Here’s how to apply for a UP Transcript of Records Online

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How to Subscribe to Netflix

Ever heard the term “Netflix and Chill?” Please don’t use this term unless you really know what it means.

Anyway, Netflix is a cool streaming service. It has original programming, and you get access to lots and lots of TV series such as Breaking Bad, Marvel’s SHIELD, Supergirl, Flash, Arrow, and a whole lot more.

Go to Netflix.com and sign up.

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How to Build Your Credit History When You are a Newly Arrived Immigrant (or Non-Resident Alien)

When you live in America, you definitely need a credit history, unless you are filthy rich or you can save for pretty much anything that you can pay for them in cash.

Most ordinary folks, though, will need a good credit history to avail of personal loans, credit cards, and other financial products that make life go round and round in the land of milk and honey.

So if you are a bagong salta, a newcomer, newly arrived immigrant or non-resident alien in America, you will need to build your credit history. Here’s a few tips and tricks to get you going.

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How Many Filipinos are in the USA and where are they?

I sometimes think that Filipinos are out to take over the world. We are everywhere! Case in point, I was in Zambia a couple of years ago and I came across 4 Filipinos, two of them were Ilokanos from Northern Luzon. They worked as carpenters and miners near the city of Ndola in Zambia. In Lisbon, Portugal, I even found a San Miguel Beer bottle at the foot of a statue! It might have been a Filipino who drank that.

Have you ever wondered how many Filipinos there are in the USA?

According to the 2010 American Census, there were more than 3.4 Million Filipinos in the USA, making us the 2nd largest Asian group in America, next only to Chinese Americans. In 2015, that number grew to 3.9 Million.

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Overseas Filipinos and the Challenge of Political Engagement

It’s a crazy world we’re living in.

I’ve felt that to be true in the past 2 years or so since my family and I moved to the United States. I know that it is also true in the past, but I’ve felt it even more on social media, and even on personal interactions.

I’ve heard of friends needing to unfriend or unfollow their friends on Facebook because political discussions have turned downright ugly and toxic.

I have not been very active on social media. Or it may be accurate to say that I have not been as active as I used to be.

I’ve been thinking about the political engagement of OFWs. It comes easy for some while for others it is a challenge. I’ve been thinking of some of the mental barriers preventing OFWs to engage politically.

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Pregnant Pinoy in America: We are Expecting!

When Cha and I got married, we talked about the number of kids we wanted to have. Both of us didn’t want to have a huge family (thankfully!) although she has 5 siblings. I only have 2 siblings. I wanted to have 3 kids, but she wanted 2.

I am not the one who will carry the baby for 9 months then risk my life to deliver them. In the end, we agreed to have 2 kids, with 3 or 4 years between them. In 2013, our son Coco was born and he changed our lives for the better. He brought so much joy and happiness in our lives.

Postponing our next Baby Project

We planned to have another baby when he was 3 years old. But our plans had to change because we ended up moving to the USA in mid-2015. We thought we were going to postpone having a baby for a year. After all, moving from the one country to another is a BIG move.

But our waiting season turned out longer than we planned. In 2017, we felt that it was time to try and have another baby. So we prayed and tried. We had to wait some more.

Since we have a family prayer time together before bed, Coco got to pray for a baby brother or a sister. After almost a year of praying, he just couldn’t seem to wait anymore.

Coco (to me and Cha): “Where is my baby sister, we pray and pray but she’s not yet here.”

Me (trying to stifle laughter): “Anak, we need to be patient and wait.”

Coco (with some hand waving and a big pout): “But I can’t wait anymore!”

Nanay: “Let’s keep praying and waiting anak, hopefully she will come soon.”

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