He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Favourite Photos of Scandrett Regional Park

These photos were taken on our first summer in Auckland (Dec08). Among the regional parks we have been to in New Zealand, I find Scandrett the most beautiful. Once a dairy farm, this farming estate was bought by the NZ govt from its owners, the Scandrett family, and they have turned it into a regional park in 1998. They have maintained the farmhouse and implement houses and the grasslands around it, as well as the sheep that keep the grass grazed low.



This is probably the best pic of a pohutukawa tree I have taken. I know I should have taken more photos of this spectacular tree which blooms only during the Christmas Season (late Nov to Jan). It is truly New Zealand's Christmas tree.






This one is my favourite pic of the pohutukawa tree because the white sheep taking shelter under it completes the red-white-green colour scheme of Christmas. It gives me a really Christmasy feeling. This is a rare pic I would say because the following year (2009), when there was a drought, the grass markedly turned brown the whole summer. It didn't look like this.







A distant view of the tree. More sheep under the tree are visible in this picture.














A water trough for the sheep.











More sheep in this photo. I never could get near enough because they run away if you get near them. Yes, the grass was littered with their poop. :)














Views of the waterfront from Mullet Point.







The water was so still and quiet.








It was the 21st Dec 2008 and there was a church having a picnic that day, it was a Sunday. They even had a band playing Christmas carols, so we stayed around to listen.







This is the view of the Scandrett cove from the top of the hill in Mullet Point, the part of the park where there's a quite-sudden drop to the sea. The building is the farmhouse and the tallest tree, a Norfolk pine tree,  was planted by the original Irish farming family who founded this estate, the Scandrett family. It was a gift to them by a once-Governor of New Zealand (Sir George Grey) who lived in a neighboring island. Actually, Jayne, Jed and Joche didn't want to come along with us for the trek up Mullet Point and they were actually just sitting inside our car (the white one in the middle directly facing the picnickers) waiting for us to finish our walk! Our city-bred kids were still adjusting to the outback, relaxed life-style in NZ. We came to Auckland just over two months that time.






We saw some of these Dotterel chicks on our walk along the beach. But I left my camera in the car when we took that walk so I got this pic from the web. They were newly-hatched and the area was cordoned off for this endangered species.


If you ask me, I think the most beautiful natural place I have ever been to is none other but this place - Scandrett Park. It has a view of the sea on both sides of the hill and it gives you a sense of quiet and peace not found in other places. On the other hand, the most beautiful man-made place I have ever been to, I think, would be Washington DC, USA.



This is a photo of the neighboring hills surrounding the Scandrett estate. The farmhouse is covered by trees and further up the waterline is Snells Beach.






This one is the sign at the entrance of the park at the ridge. You can see both sides of the hill at this point and there's water on both sides. It's so beautiful, almost other-worldly. I think I didn't take a photo of the other side, although it's also a beach, because there are more houses and camper vans on that side which make the view more cluttered than the Scandrett farm side. I wish I can see this place again in my life-time.


This is a view of the Scandrett cove from the ridge where the above entrance sign is located. We crossed the fence and I sat on that grass for a while just to feel what it's like to watch the water, and enjoy the fresh air, and it was really awesome. Like heaven on earth!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Illusive "Beastly"

Whoa, Friday again. I do so look forward to Fridays so I can
spend time with my kids, esp my older daughter. It's our night out!


Two weeks ago my older son was here for his Spring break. He came on
the Wednesday night and on Thurs night I had to go shopping at Waldbaums and
CVS. (In Dartmouth, the joke is "the world ends in CVS." CVS pharmacy is right
at the end of the short row of shops they have on campus and after it there's
only woods, woods and more woods. Haha!) The Spring rains have come and it was
raining quite hard that night and it's still cold. I told them one of them at
least has to escort me coz it was quite late. So, my older son had no choice but to get
dressed and go out with me, feeling like "the man of the house." But my older daughter
wanted to tag along, too. So, off we went quite well-wrapped up in water-proof
jackets but my daughter's had no hood so she took my son's umbrella along. Yeah, my older son
has a fold-able umbrella, always tucked in his backpack's side-pocket!! It was
quite a wild night because we all got wet and the wind blew the umbrella
inside-out, haha! My daughter said his umbrella is only good for Dartmouth, can't
stand a chance in the NY winds! But that was a good night out as we took
advantage of his muscle by buying more of the heavy stuff we need as the
walk is quite long and without a car, carrying goods home, let's face it, is
hard work.  I guess that was one crazy night out we three would remember, even long after.


The next day, Friday, we thought we could watch the movie "Beastly" or "Red Riding Hood" while the
younger ones (my younger son and younger daughter) were in school. But as usual the older boy is awake all
night and asleep all day so, nah, not gonna happen. Then we told the older boy that we should go
at night then. But he had a report to write; it was his only time left as
he was leaving the next day for CA to visit his gf!!!  Hmmmp, I thought now that we're in the US he
would spend more time with us but no, there's competition now.
So, that was the weekend for us. I walked him to the train station the next
day, and waited with him until his train came, just so I could spend more time
with him.
Oh well, I thought, when he starts working, which is going to be soon, the only
time he can visit us is probably Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving – the
three major holidays here- and there would be competition still! Nah, I have to
come to terms with it, my son has left home.


At the train station going to Penn station to go to Newark airport.


















Last week we were thinking we could see "Beastly"  in a movie house that takes two bus rides,
but they had already stopped showing it. So, the older girl suggested we try going to the nearest Mall which is in College Point, because there's a movie house right next to it and "Beastly" is still showing there. I didn't like the idea of walking because here, in the map it doesn't look far, but it actually is far.
But there's no other movie house around here! The next option would be to go all the way to Manhattan but that takes a long time and the movies cost more there!  So, we took the bus, just the two
of us (since younger boy and girl didn't want to come along), and we did get there.
However, it turned out the theatre is like 2-3 blocks away, blocks that
included a football field and a tennis court, etc. It was a pretty Spring
evening and we saw the setting sun and the moon for the first time since we
came here!! (I just realized you hardly see the moon in winter here. The skies
are always overcast you can't see any moon or stars at night nor the setting
sun at dusk. You only get to see the sun rising once in a while. ) We also saw
many people playing in the fields and that was a first time, too. The snow had
disappeared and there's actually green grass on the fields. They were playing
soccer and I thought, if this is NZ they would be playing "touch" instead.
Soccer is definitely more popular here. After that long, tiring walk it was frustrating to find out that "Beastly" was showing later (at 9pm onwards) than the time they posted in their website. We
had the choice to watch "Red Riding Hood" instead but the movie tickets here
are so expensive, probably more expensive than in NZ.  So, we thought twice about
that, since RRH is not really the movie we wanted to see and we didn't want to
spend so much on a movie that we're not sure we would want to see. We didn't
want to wait for the 9pm show either because we're not even sure if we could
still get buses to go home after the show when it's so late. Besides, I didn't
want to go the same way we came, walking through isolated, dark places and we
would have to take two bus rides to go home if we take the other way, a way we
have never taken before, since it's our first time to come to this theatre. :( Oh well, we saw a bus
going to Flushing so we ended up eating Chinese dinner in Flushing Mall instead
– also our first time there. My daughter wanted to see Flushing Mall so much, thinking
it must be interesting, but we were disappointed since there was nothing much
there, just some Oriental food shops. She ate her favorite noodle soup but was
disgusted that it's served in a plastic bowl and it doesn't even taste as good
as the one I cook for her at home.
A picture of the setting sun, taken by my older daughter through the glass window of the speeding bus we were on.





Waaahaaa, there goes my daughter's New York bubble. She said
there's no Friday night-life here in Flushing, just like in Westgate.
Hmmmm.  She said New York is only really
great if you live in Manhattan itself and you have to have lots of money to
live there! Haha! So, today, it's Friday
again and I wonder if we'll get to see "Beastly" this time or end up doing
something else again. Whatever it is, at least it's still Friday night. I don't
have to set my alarm clock for tomorrow!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

On the Massive Quake and Tsunami in Japan

On the Japan Quake of March 11, 2011 and the Resulting Tsunami

As the aftermath of the massive (mag 8.9) earthquake in Japan and the resulting 10-metre tsunami (in Sendai, the Japanese city closest to the epicenter) continues to unfold, my family and I remember the Japanese people in our prayers as well as those people in other countries hit by the resulting tsunami, including Philippines, New Zealand, US (California side), Mexico, Indonesia, Hawaii and other countries located along its path. We thank God that so far the effect of the tsunami in these Pacific Rim countries and territories have been minimal.

Link to Latest Photos of Quake and Tsunami-Hit Japan

LIFE Photos of the Quake


And now, what started as a natural disaster can turn into a man-made catastrophe.
Fukushima Nuclear Plant Video
The cooling system of the nuclear plant in Fukushima was damaged by the quake and the tsunami. Without an efficient cooling system in place, a meltdown can occur. In a meltdown radioactive material can be released into the environment endangering the lives of people, animals and practically every living thing around the reactor. A full-blown case meltdown happened in the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine in 1986. It involved massive relocation of residents in the area. Hence, the scientists and technicians in Fukushima are working and thinking fast how to prevent this from happening, and they only have a few hours to sort it out. Japan badly needs OUR prayers at this critical time. Please spare even just your few moments for them. God bless to you all out there!


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29th March 2011, 9:40 am, New York time

I found this new footage on You Tube, put up only two days ago (27th March 2011). I wonder how this footage was obtained. On a helicopter? This close-up view of the "monstrous" tsunami that hit the Japanese east coast really puts things in perspective. So many thoughts run in my mind:, like, "God sits enthroned in the flood." And, "you wouldn't wish this on your worst enemy." And, "you would never want to be caught in this sitaution," etc.



Tsunami ravaging Kesennuma port



And on the Fukushima nuclear reactor plant crisis, an offshoot of the tsunami brought by the same Tohoku-Kanto earthquake of 11th march 2011, since upgraded to mag 9.0, radioactive contamination has already been found in drinking water in Tokyo and in the soil and vegetables in Fukushima, high radiation levels in the sea water around Fukushima, etc. These are not very good signs and are a source of concern for everyone, even for us far from Japan. The overall effects of this radioactive leakage on people and the environment will not be seen and totally evaluated until much, much later. I pray God will have mercy on Japan and their neighboring countries, as well as for the rest of us humanity. I do buy Japanese food products in the Oriental shops here, so, what would make us think we're safe from this nuclear accident just because we're on the other side of the world?



Japan nuclear plant: plutonium found in Fukushima soil 

May God have mercy on us all!



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29 March 2011, 10:07 pm

Here's a nice song for Japan.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------






Update 8:58am April 5, 2011 (NY time)






Above photo taken from:

Snapshot on the Battle to Contain the Radioactive Leak in Japan


Meanwhile, Japanese folks continue with a semblance of normalcy by celebrating Spring through Sakura viewing (Hanami) in local parks, a Japanese tradition.

Spring in the Park


On the other hand, we hope and pray the recent earthquake in Christchurch (2/11) and the series of aftershocks after, didn't wake up a sleeping giant in the form of Mt. Ruapehu, an active volcano near Taupo. I have received prayer alerts from friends in Auckland.

The God of Nations is on a roll, may God defend us all.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2:07am, April 9, 2011, Sat. (NY time)

More items for prayer over Japan:



Japan's Meteorological Agency has announced that 20 volcanoes have become active due to the massive March 11th earthquake. It also said that volcanic eruption have occurred after earthquake, several times in history, hence, people need to be vigilant over this possibility. Japanese authorities have also announced that research findings indicate that a chain earthquake of over 9.0 magnitude might hit Japan and its surrounding off-shores. You can read more of this news here :
Japan warns of massive earthquake and volcanic explosion after the April 7 earthquake



Also, the April 7, 2011 magnitude 7.1 aftershock quake near the east coast of Honshu caused water spillage out of spent fuel pools in another nuclear plant, the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi prefecture, raising concerns that a second nuclear crisis might ensue, even while workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are still struggling to prevent a full-blown nuclear meltdown.


Meanwhile, China, Japan's neighboring giant economy, has urged the Japanese government to observe international law and take steps in protecting marine life, amid concerns over discharge of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, as well as accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date reporting on the crisis.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


13th April 2011, Wed., 8:42pm (NY time)

Another Wormwood?
"Japanese authorities have raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant to the highest level, seven." This is the update as of yesterday, 12th April 2011.


Although experts have earlier said that the Fukushima accident can never be the same as that of Chernobyl's, they have raised the severity level of this nuclear crisis to the same level as Chernobyl's because eventually, though the release is much slower, the amount of radiation that would be leaked out to the environment from Fukushima's contained reactors could exceed the amount released from Chernobyl which was a sudden release due to a series of blasts from a non-contained reactor. The level of radiation is low and release is slow in the case of Fukushima, but nobody can exactly tell right now how this low level and slow release of radiation would affect people, animals, plants and the environment in the long-term.
In his book, "Operation Exodus," Gustav Scheller, the founder of Ebenezer Emergency Fund (Operation Exodus), a ministry that helps Jews worldwide to make aliyah, mentioned that the Chernobyl accident was for him the fulfillment of Rev. 8:10,11. The word Chernobyl is a bitter herb in Russian which literally translates to "wormwood". For him, the star of communism that fell when the Chernobyl meltdown happened, is the star of Humanism. (The Chernobyl accident eventually led to the disintegration of the USSR, which set the Jews free to go back to their own country to make aliyah.) Humanism is the symbol of man's self-belief and self-effort. Doesn't this as well symbolize the present-day nation of Japan which is very deeply rooted in Shintoism, a spiritualized form of nationalism? Christianity has hardly made a dent on this nation. For Christians who want to understand the times and pray with understanding for Japan, a good guideline when praying concerning the recent earthquake / tsunami / nuclear crisis, can be found here. When I first read about Wormwood in Scheller's book, around 2006-07, my friends and I were saying, "Are we that far into the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Book of Revelations??!!" Well, think again and see what's happening in Japan. (Unfortunately, I gave away my copy of that book on our recent move from NZ to here, the US, and I cannot check the exact words of the author.)

The times may be sobering but may we always remember to look with Hope to the Lord Jesus Christ who came, that we may have Hope. My children always say, "Mommy, we don't want Jesus to come yet because we want to have children of our own so we can see how they look like." :-) Nobody can really tell when He's coming again but we might as well be ready for it any time, as the signs are there. May God still find faith on the earth - in us - when He comes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Moment for Those Missing in Christchurch

My life is tough but when I think of Christchurch, suddenly my "Vietnam" seems like "Heaven." Or even if I just think of the book I'm reading: "Holocaust Exposed" by Pastor Nigel Woodley, hey, my life is truly utopia!

We were thinking of visiting the South Island before leaving NZ last year. That would have been during the September break but the big earthquake occurred on Sept 4 that year, in Christchurch. By the time my husband came home for his Spring break they were still having aftershock tremors, even as late as December. So, we scrapped the idea. Besides, I don't think it would have been fun visiting a place that's still recovering from such calamity. But Christchurch is home to many Malaysians who have immigrated to NZ. Many Malaysians prefer Christchurch over the other cities in NZ because they feel it's slower-paced.  In fact, a family living in our neighborhood in K. Lumpur moved there just two years before we moved to Auckland ourselves. I got my computer-based homeschooling programs for my younger son from them. They sold them to us when they left K. Lumpur and they were avid home-schoolers. We even got to know our children's piano teacher through them because their children were serious piano players. But because we had been so busy, both they and us, we lost contact with them. The email they gave us wasn't working. As for us, we chose Auckland mainly because of the international airport being located there. We needed to be close to one so my husband could easily fly in and out for his business trips. So now, I only remember our friends in my prayers, that they are kept safe and well-cared for by the Lord, a family of five devout (and very conservative) believers.

Christchurch is known for its beauty and history. They have many historical sites and scenic spots. I have never been there and not really looked at pictures of those places but I know it is a "must-see" for tourists. My cousin in California went for a luxury cruise with her husband when we were in Auckland. That's how they got to visit us there. The itinerary of their cruise ship included Christchurch and they swore it was beautiful. A cousin in Melbourne also went there with her husband, on another cruise tour. But now it seems tourists will be wary of going to Christchurch, not with the most recent aftershock jolt that killed hundreds of people and sent many more displaced from their homes and jobs. 

What I feel sad about most of all are the young students who were trapped and went "missing" when the Canterbury TV (CTV) building collapsed in that 22nd Feb. quake. Many of those students are Asians and some are Filipinos. Some came only as "Monday starters," which means they arrived on the Sunday, started school on the Monday, and fell victim to the disaster on Tuesday. There was an English Language school located on the third floor of that building and the students caught in the building, mostly having lunch at that time of the tremor, got trapped in the collapse. These are young people who have probably gone there in the hope that they can find employment. Apparently, I learned from other Filipinos, there are "agents" in the Philippines who bring in Filipinos on "student visas", just so they could go to NZ for job opportunities. This is not only true in NZ but in other places as well, like London. Filipinos, unlike other most Asians, are educated in English, and they do not need to be in a language school in NZ. These are young people who probably spent all their life savings, or borrowed lots of money through loans, friends, or even loan sharks, just to go there, in the hope of finding jobs. Just imagine the sorrows of their families, losing a child in some far away land, a child upon whom so much of their hopes are loaded.

Probably we are too far from what's going on in Christchurch. I remember when the quake occurred last year I asked a friend in Auckland if she has any family or friends in Christchurch. She said, "None." And that was it, end of story. My older daughter once told me that she had observed that for people in Auckland, Christchurch seems to be "another country." I didn't quite get that until I had that little conversation with my friend about the quake in Christchurch. Probably that's the reason why the Prime Minister John Key had to publicly express his "connection" to Christchurch, having grown up there, etc., in this recent fatal disaster. Whatever it is, if even people in Auckland can think of Christchurch as just "another country," I guess we who are truly in other countries would feel that way, too. But if you feel inclined, do spare a thought and prayer for those men, women, children, and the young language students who fell victim to this calamity in Christchurch. You can actually see the list of the "missing" students here:


Romans 12: 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
   than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
   the living should take this to heart. 


o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~


God bless you especially today.

Growing and Moving On

My husband just left this morning for another two-month business trip to Malaysia. I am in a new country, on my own, again. All the children are settled in their schools and I have a few other things to follow up concerning our settling down here. I have also started reviewing for driving exams. Although there is a church right in front of our house I still have to find one that has an evening service so my teenagers can be awake to come with me to church on Sundays.  On top of these, something came up to make me realize that menopause is staring me in the face. I am turning 50 this year, after all. It's jubilee year for me!!! Hey, if that means I finally get to go to work, even just mopping floors at McDonalds, that would still be a life for me. It might truly be jubilee year for me!!! Meanwhile, my special needs child missed school yesterday and today because of bladder control problems. I just realized it seems this is a chronic problem for her and that needs to be addressed, too. And that reminds me, one of the major things I need to follow up on is the processing of our family's medical insurance.

Although we have friends here my Christian friends are all very far from me. I guess that's the main thing I have to look for now here, a support group of some Christian friends. My sister and our common friends here are all "very Catholic" and I don't mean to be a "hater" (whooaa, I'm using the word!), but Catholics actually don't realize that there's a whole world of difference in our beliefs. Of course, I don't push the issue but even my children can feel how America is soooo "Catholic." We realized NZ is actually "more Christian",  in the sense that there are many more Christian churches than Catholic churches there. My older daughter had a freaky encounter with the idols in one of the homes we had gone to which made her realize all the more how serious these things are. As a little girl, she used to get  freaked out with the idols in my late parents' house when we used to go home to visit them in the Philippines. (Yes, I grew up as a Catholic and because I have come to know the Truth in the Bible I have made extensive research on the history of the Catholic church and its teachings.) When we went to visit that house here in the US, they had so many of those icons but Jayne didn't see any of them! Later, when God opened her eyes just before we were to leave, she freaked out. Then she realized how God had protected her by "blinding" her, because she would have felt very uncomfortable in the hours we were in that house.

Anyway, back to my thoughts on a Christian support group. I didn't realize how badly I needed that until I opened my FB today and a Christian friend (oh, how I miss my prayer times with this particular friend) shared this quote in her status:

If we are growing we are always going to be outside our comfort zone. Unknown
So true; so hard. The reason I feel so challenged is because I am out of my comfort zone and it's a sign I'm growing (still!!) and moving on. Not too excited over it but that's just how life is - a monotony of challenges - bwahaaa!!:-) >.< *<>* (Gee, even just looking at these emoticons lifts the depression out of me. Ok, ok, how pathetic my life is, huh?!! hmmmp!!!)


 Jeremiah 29:11  ...For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..."

Cheers! =)
 
 

Confusion Galore

Dated 17th Feb 2011
Valentine’s

Nope, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s. It’s not part of my husband’s culture and after I became a Christian I just decided not to celebrate it anymore.  However, I do enjoy observing other people celebrate it. Love does make me smile.  A friend in FB video-taped himself playing a love song on the piano for his girlfriend and posted the vid on FB. I thought that was really sweet! :) Well, happy Valentine's to those who celebrate it!

Language Check

I was ordering food for my younger daughter in McDonald’s when I asked if their “Chicken Selects” combo comes with chips. The girl taking my order looked at me with a blank look and then I realized. “Oh, French fries, I mean,” I said. When we were in S’spore and M’sia before, my husband would always refer to them as “chips” and my children and I would insist they are "French Fries.”  We thought he was being weird.  He said that’s how they call it in England. (He studied there for his undergrad.) So, when we went to NZ and everyone was calling it chips, we thought, ok, so the English people really call it “chips,” as in “Fish and Chips.” So, we got used to calling it “chips” and now that we have  come here, er, we have to revert to “French Fries” again.  BTW, my younger son misses fish and chips and THE meat pies in his school lunches!!! I was hoping there will be meat pies here but um, no - maybe if we hunt for them hard enough.

School Nostalgia

We had checked out two potential schools for my younger daughter i.e., special needs child, last week and it seems she has gotten the hang of going to school and riding public buses. So, this week she had been asking me whether we were going to school and / or riding the bus. Well, good on her, today we did go to a third potential school for her and bingo! It’s the right one for her. She met her would-be classmates and teachers and we filled up the necessary forms but she won’t start until after their one-week mid-winter recess. So, that means she starts only on the 28th Feb. Also, probably because her older siblings have started school, she also seems to miss going to school and she’s been asking me about her classmates and all her teachers in her former school in NZ, and whether she will see them again. So, I had to explain to her that she won’t see them anymore because we’re so far away; at least 18 hours of sitting on the plane to get there. Tonight when we were in Manhattan she asked, “Is this near Bruce McLaren? See Nathan and Hannah? See Imogen?"  She’s still not really sure exactly where we are. When we first arrived here she thought we had gone back to Malaysia because she was asking for guavas to eat. Lately, whenever her older sister asks her where her older brother is, she says, “In the US.” :-D

Names and Borders

Now we have some major trouble with our names. Our children all have both Chinese and English names but because they were born in different places the order in which those names were written are not the same. For our older son’s case, being born in Japan, there was no “space” for his English name in the registration form at the Malaysian Embassy in Japan. So, his English name has never been in his birth cert. It’s more just an informal name for him but everyone knows him by that name. Then the two middle kids, being both born in Singapore, have their names written in the Chinese convention which is surname first, followed by  two Chinese names and then the English name. But for our youngest who was born in Malaysia, the registration form required her name to be written with her English name first, then her surname and then her two Chinese names. Because of these variations the clerk at the US Consulate in Auckland wrote their names and surnames  according to the order they were written and now our youngest's surname consists of her English name AND her surname! So, that makes her surname different from that of her siblings. Will people think of her as our adopted child then???!!! And me, I am another major fiasco case because by convention, in M’sia and S’pore, women don’t change their surname when they marry. So, I have always used my maiden name as my surname even after marriage. Although we were married in the Philippines we never had my surname changed because we lived in M’sia and S’pore for a long time. My husband didn’t want his friends to think that he married a "cousin" of his, that’s why he didn’t want my surname to be changed! By itself, this has caused a lot of confusion whenever we’re outside of S’pore and M’sia. For instance, whenever I went back to the Philippines and the airline or bank people would see my passport and find out that my surname was still a Filipino surname, I would get those “knowing” looks and I knew they were probably  thinking I was just a mistress or “living in” with my husband!  Fortunately, times have changed in the Philippines and women now have the option, and more are opting for it, to keep their maiden name even after marriage. On the other hand, it seems times have not changed in NZ.  In fact, I won’t be surprised if some people there thought I am an unmarried woman. For the Kiwis, they get to tell whether a woman is married to her “partner” or not by looking at her surname. If her surname is different from that of her children’s they presume she’s unmarried! Oh well, cultures, borders and names!! I have told my husband that if we were to stay in NZ I will have to change my surname to his, or people will always think I am still single!! He said there’s no need for it since I’m already old. Well, now that we’re in the US, we get the chance to change our names when we become citizens someday.  So, hopefully, that time we’ll be able to rectify our names and we’ll all have the same surname! Meanwhile, it’s confusion galore! O.o >.< @.@

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D