How to Mentally Prepare for the Move to the USA

It’s never easy to move to another country. No amount of preparation can really do justice to the life-changing move you’re about to do. Here are some ways to mentally prepare yourself and your family as you move to the USA.

Learn more about the work you are about to do.

Google is your friend. Although nursing and teaching are two of the top professions for Filipinos in the USA, there are other jobs that Filipinos do. Some are in the religious sector while others are in Information Technology. Continue reading

Opposites by Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Story

“Opposites” doesn’t really have a story in the strict sense. Rather, it presents a lot of animals doing silly things and presenting opposite concepts: Up and Down; big and small; wet and dry; hid and seek (although I was thinking if hid and seek are really opposites?); cold and hot; brave and scared; naughty and nice; alone and together; happy and sad; normal and crazy; fight and make up; and lastly asleep and awake.

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Please Don’t Keep Up with the Joneses

You are going to the USA, that’s something to be proud of. There are many hurdles along the way, but if you got a job and a visa, it will definitely change your life. How that change will affect you and your family will depend on the many choices you will make.

This is a new, exciting chapter in your life. You are about to embark on a new journey, meet new people, explore a new continent, and do work that you love. While it’s never easy to say goodbye to friends and family, the truth is, your relationship with them will also change. Continue reading

Who Done It by Olivier Tallec

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Book Information

Title: Who Done It?
Author: Olivier Tallec
Published by: Chronicle Books San Francisco
Copyright 2014 by Actes Sud, Paris. English translation copyright 2015 by Chronicle Books LLC.

About the Author

Here’s the author’s bio from his Amazon page:

Olivier Tallec was born in Brittany in 1970. After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure d’Art graphique in Paris he worked in advertising as a graphic designer, after which he devoted himself to illustration. Since then he has done numerous illustrations for newspapers and magazines and has illustrated over 50 books for children. He’s fascinated by textiles and by all forms of popular culture. An avid traveler, he divides his time between Paris, where he lives, and far-flung adventures. November 2008 brought him to both Chicago and San Francisco, where he visited schools and promoted his books.

You can check out his website at http://www.oliviertallec.fr/

Story or What It is About

This book does not really have a story in the strict sense. Rather, it is more of a visual puzzle or quiz for kids. As the title implies, the kid reading the book needs to identify the answer to the question in each page. It’s like a multiple choice question because there are 5-10 character illustrations to choose the answer from.

The questions are simple such as “Who didn’t get enough sleep?”; “Who ate all the jam?”; “Who is in love?”; and “who is in disguise?” among others.

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Don’t Convert Dollars to Pesos in Your Head

When we first came to the United States in August 2015, it was so tough to spend money on almost everything. Why? Because we often convert US Dollars into Philippine Pesos.

For example, a bottle of soda costs $2. If you convert that to Peso, that is roughly equal to PhP 100. That is expensive for us in the Philippines. And if we kept thinking this way, we would not have been able to drink soda or even eat at a nice restaurant.

Even when we went shopping for clothes or anything in particular, once we started converting to Pesos, it becomes so difficult to spend money. A pair of jeans here costs between $20 to $50. Again, if you convert that to pesos, it’s between P1,000 to P2,500.

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High Sierra Loop — My Very Useful, Inexpensive Travel Backpack

In addition to my carryon luggage, I am really glad I found the perfect backpack. Let me begin this post by saying that I don’t care about high end (aka expensive) gear. I am after function, convenience, and it’s even better if I get it inexpensively.

I tend to keep my backpacks for several years. As long as they work and they don’t look like they’ve been picked up from the dump, I will keep using them.

My former backpack was a 1400-peso Adidas backpack, which I bought in the Philippines in 2014. It has been with me to South Africa, Germany, and the United States. A friend of mine who works at Goodwill gifted me with a smaller UnderArmour backpack from Goodwill. Yes I got it secondhand and I don’t mind using it.

Stumbling onto the Best Backpack

I looked online for the best travel backpack that I could use. I finally stumbled onto the High Sierra Loop. It costs $34 on Amazon and I just added it to my wishlist.

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What’s the right age for a child to get a smartphone

Unless you want to live under a rock, you cannot escape the invasion of smartphones in our world today. You could see smartphones being used by adults falling in line while waiting for their coffee, by teenagers hanging out in the classroom or in public spaces, by adults walking down the street, and just about anyone in the train or a bus.

Increasingly, bored children are also staring down at a smartphone or tablet screen when they are at a restaurant, or when their parents want to have some peace and quiet in the house or in a public space.

It’s one thing for a child to borrow his or her parent’s phone. It’s an entirely different thing for a child to own a smartphone. What is the right age for a child to get a smartphone?

Here are several facts from Influence Central about smartphones and kids that you might want to know:

  • On average, kids get their first smartphones when they are 10.3 years old
  • Families text each other even when they are home
  • Kids are using tablet computers and smartphones for entertainment when they travel with family
  • 50% of kids have social media accounts by age 12, Facebook and Instagram lead the way in kids’ usage

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Herbert’s First Halloween by Cynthia Rylang & Steven Henry

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Book Information

Title: Herbert’s First Halloween
Author: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator: Steven Henry
Published by Chronicle Books San Francisco
Text Copyright 2017 by Cynthia Rylant
Illustration Copyright 2017 by Steven Henry 
No. of pages: 29

About the Author & Illustrator

from the back flap jacket: Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than 100 books for young people, including the beloved Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter & Tabby series. Her novel Missing May received the Newberry Medal. She lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Visit her at http://CynthiaRylant.com.

Steven Henry (formerly Steven D’Amico) has illustrated several children’s books, including the award-winning Ella the Elephant series and It’s Raining Bats & Frogs. He lives in West Seattle, Washington, with his wife, daughter, and a cat named Wini. For more information, visit http://StevenHenry.net. 

Story

Herbert’s First Halloween tells the story of how Herbert, a pig, and his father prepared for Halloween. Herbert’s father shows Halloween photos from his own childhood to encourage Herbert and prepare him for his first.

After asking if he can be a cowboy like his dad, he decides to dress up as a tiger, instead. His father took his measurements then prepared his costume. Father pig sewed Herbert’s tiger costume. Herbert practiced his roar. When the last day of October arrived, he and his father went around the neighborhood and gathered candy while meeting a lot of other kids in costume.

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You’re an OFW Now, So What’s Next?

Many Filipinos consider the United States as the “Land of Milk and Honey,” and that if you had the chance to go there, your life will never be the same. If you just get there, you will be swimming in dollars and you can lift yourself and your family out of poverty.

Some Filipinos may have found that to be true. And even for those who do struggle, life in the USA tends to be more comfortable than life in the Philippines. The good thing about working and living in the US is that you earn dollars. And if you convert your money to Philippine Pesos, you’d get a lot! If you had $1,000, that would be equal to around PhP50,000, depending on the exchange rate.

Alas, you earn in dollars, you also spend in US dollars. And if you’re not careful, you also get into the consumeristic, materialistic lifestyle of most Americans.

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Visiting Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg is a beautiful city. Its O.R. Tambo airport is one of the biggest hubs in the continent of Africa with flights to and from major airports around the world. South Africa is also home to beautiful wildlife.

Johannesburg, and the whole country of South Africa, has a difficult past. Apartheid, or institutional racism, has made life difficult for many Black South Africans. It ended only in 1991, which is pretty recent.

Amid this tumultuous history, heroes rose and helped pave the way for peace and reconciliation. Nobel Peace Prize awardee Nelson Mandela is easily the most recognizable name from this era.

I visited Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg sometime in July 2017. It was a chilly, rainy morning. We bought our tickets. We waited for the guide and took the tour of the facility.

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