November 14, 2017

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

1 John 3:6 NIV

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October 22, 2017

My First NZ Hike.

Jeisson and Ana were very kind to invite me to this hike they planned on going, I probably wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for them convincing me that it was an easy track which will only require me to walk. They told me that it will take between 6 to 8 hours to complete. When I heard that I was a bit intimidated and thought surely a track that loong couldn’t be just an easy walk! And I was right. They just managed to trick me into going!

Ana basically made all the arrangements for accommodation, transport and everything else down to the food! I was not given any itinerary or plan, so I didn’t realize we were supposed to be sharing food so I brought my own grocery bag with me with tons of easy cooking stuff like instant noodles, instant oatmeal, a bunch of bananas, apples and most importantly, lots of chocolate snacks for the hike!

This was the room at the Tongariro Family Park that Ana got for us three ladies, Andrea, Angie and myself. It was a small room but comfortable enough for us to crash for two nights. Good thing there was a heater in the room as I didn’t bring enough thick clothing with me as I assumed it was just a walk across the alpines but not exactly climbing them so it shouldn’t be too cold. Boy was I wrong!

The recommendation was that we had to bring our own sheets and blankets as those are not provided. I didn’t want to carry too much things with me so I went with a sleeping bag that could work as a blanket. It served its purpose well especially with the help of the heater in the room.

One thing I have to mention, is that this camp site has no signal at all for phones! At least for Vodafone of course (Andrea was using Spark and she was able to communicate with her family across the globe), I wasn’t able to tell my family I arrived safely, I wasn’t able to kill time using my phone while everyone else was just speaking in their own language. Urgh.. it was pretty frustrating.

They did have a shared kitchen area which we could use to prepare our meals for the hike as well as for the duration of our stay there. Even though we arrived at the place around Friday midnight, we still had to wake up early around 5am the next morning so we could get our packed meals for the hike ready.

After having our breakfast and packed lunch, we waited for the shuttles to arrive that would take us to the starting point of the hike. We had to pay $35 NZD each in cash because they didn’t have an eftpos machine so I was really glad I came prepared and brought cash with me.

We must have arrived at the starting point around 8am, and I was surprised to see soooo many people also doing the hike! Even some senior citizens too! Wow respect to them for conquering this track and those many stairs we had to go through to reach the top!

19.4 KM is probably a breakthrough for me. The last hike I did back in the Philippines was in 2014 for my 32nd birthday (Pico De Loro and I also had a post about it here). If I were to compare both hikes, time wise its pretty much the same, it was also a whole day hike for Pico De Loro, but this one definitely had more scenic views,  and perhaps was more difficult as I age and also had to carry more of my own body weight in this journey.

Just a few minutes into the trek, I could already see Mt Ngauruhoe in the backgroud topped with snow/ice. I had to do lots of selfie shots since I was alone most of the time no thanks to Jeisson and Ana. Everyone else also seemed to be hurrying up and I’m thinking whats wrong with these people? You should be walking the trek to soak in all the views and smell the mountains and fresh air! Not rush through it just to tick a bucket list! Tsk!

This was halfway though what they called the “Devil’s Staircase” because it was just non stop staircases hard ascent towards the South Crater.

It felt amazing to be up close and personal with these mountains surrounding you. This was by far one of my favorite views in all of the hikes that I did.

Oh lookie here! I even got to stand in the snow! or Ice! One thing I did wish I had gotten for this journey was a good pair of trekking boots. Especially with all that ice and mud we had to walk through, my good old Asics running shoe had all burned out from this 19.4km trek.

This part going up to the Red Crater Ridge was probably the most challenging for me. I was so afraid of falling I had to stop numerous times just to let people pass by me so I could take my time and take the right steps so that the loose rocks won’t take me down with them. There was even a point where the ascent was so steep there was a chain fastened to the rocks to give some support for you to pull yourself up.

Not to mention these wires that was available for you to hold on to as you continue the trek upwards. I haven’t felt like I had any fear of heights in my life until this day. As much as I want to see the beautiful view I had to tell myself not to look down a few times cos I felt like I was gonna topple over!

Finally reached the Red Crater Ridge but I didn’t want to get to close to the edge so I just took a selfie which could show the slightly maroon-ish brown colors of the crater behind me.

Good thing when I got to the Red Crater Summit, Ana and Jeisson were there eating their packed lunch and enjoying the beautiful view of the Blue Lakes at the far end, and the Emerald Lakes on the right. Although the brochure we got from the shuttle driver says that it was an easy descent from the Red Crater Summit to the Emerald Lakes, it was easier said than done. The scree was loose and I fell at least twice on my butt because I slipped. Thankfully I didn’t roll all the way down but I did get a lot of volcanic sand and dirt into my shoes and socks!

The Emerald Lakes was nothing compared to the Blue Lake. The water was just so blue and it looked like the surface had crystals sparkling with the reflection from the sun! I wished I had taken a video while I was there but man, the wind was so strong even at my weight I felt like I could be blown away! It was hard enough to hold my hands steady to do a photo, let alone make a video! Plus, it was already about 1pm when we got to the Blue Lake and we really needed to get going if we wanted to make it to the shuttle on time. Therefore we didn’t stay there very long even though I wished I could have.

From the Blue Lake down to the Ketetahi Car park, it was pretty much downhill all the way. My knees were starting to hurt as we had to step down on many stairs downwards and I think it took a toll on my knees. Talk about being old!!

Plus, there wasn’t much of a view downhill so I didn’t take much photos except one selfie or two just to show what the surrounding was like going down.

I arrived at the car park around 3:30pm so I think it was not too bad, I did quite well for my own record. I think if I had stopped more often for photos, I probably wouldn’t make it to the last shuttle which was at 4:30pm!

So we took the same shuttle back to our campsite at the Tongariro Family Park, took a shower and also took a nap before our late dinner at 9pm.

I have to say, I’m glad I made the trip despite being hesitant at first. My own excuse and tactic to convince myself was that it would be a trip to continue the tradition I was starting in which I would climb a mountain or hike to celebrate another year of my life and to tell myself that I can do it and that I am capable of achieving and conquering these mountains in life even as I grow older.

I did feel like an outsider for the most part because the group I traveled with were all Colombians and they were all speaking in Spanish even though Jeisson said he would make them speak English -_- I do appreciate their efforts to sometimes have a conversation with me, but mostly I am thankful that I got the invite for this adventure even if its for my own sake. Plus, the sharing of the cost helped lower down the budget for this trip which I give my hats off to Ana for organizing everything and all I did was tagged along. It was about $110 NZD for the whole trip per person, but I spent a bit more on my food so I would say about $190 all in. Not too bad for a trip that long and the comfort of our own rental car to get there.

I just wished I had someone to walk with me and share the journey with instead of people just leaving me to be alone during the hike. I know I wouldn’t leave a friend behind and would walk with them if they were alone. Oh well, different perspective I guess. It did make me realize what I can expect when I go with certain groups of friends so in the future I will know to say NO or get someone who will come with me and keep me company throughout the journey ;-P

September 28, 2017

Aspire2International Spring Graduation 2017

Where do I begin talking about this day that I have been anticipating for the two years I have been in New Zealand?

Well, perhaps just two days before the actual graduation day. I started thinking about what I would wear under the robe, shoes, any accessories, how I should do my hair, etc etc. It was obvious I was excited about the event. I learned something new about NZ too, that we actually need prescriptions to get contact lenses! NZ is so weird sometimes, I mean in Malaysia I can get contact lenses anywhere and as long as you have a pair of glasses you can get them. But nope, not in NZ apparently.

My mother was pestering me months before that she wanted to come visit me in Auckland and attend my graduation. I didn’t really want her to come firstly because flight tickets were very costly, secondly, it wasn’t my first graduation. So naturally I had to decline and tell her it’s not going to be a grand thing anyway. And I was right about it.

I was very critical of the whole event really. I couldn’t help it since I attended the previous graduation ceremonies and knew what to expect and what not to. What I didn’t expect was that the guests and attendees of the event didn’t even get offered at least drinks or any food! Urgh.. I mean how much cost cutting can you get? And the robe, oh gawd, it was like the moment you get out of the theater, you had to return the robe and there was no one to warn you that you couldn’t take pictures of your robe after you get out of the hall! They were in such a hurry to get you to return the robe on the day itself. (eyes roll profusely!)

I didn’t expect my classmates to attend the graduation except for Jason, my one time Colombian classmate for F9 paper. As it turns out, there were quite a few of them that showed up surprisingly. L-R : Jason, Ashok, Arun, Nisan, and beside me was Jaspreet.

These were the most pictures I managed to get with them. Most of them left their separate ways almost immediately after the ceremony so there weren’t much photos to take afterwards. I also didn’t manage to take any photos with my tutors as they weren’t even there. Sigh.

 

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Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the event, felt that $75 bucks was a bit over the top for the muffin and USB that they gave as a graduation gift. It was not worth it at all.

I thought I could compensate that less than average graduation ceremony experience with good food I was expecting to enjoy at Federal Delicatessen where my Colombian friends and I would go after the ceremony to eat our supposedly “early dinner” or “late lunch” because there was no food at the ceremony (eyes roll here again).

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L-R: Monica, Ana, Jason, myself, Paula and Saj.

Oh to my surprise, I was very unimpressed with the serving, the service and the taste of the food they claim to be the best. Urgh. More sulking to come. I ordered their NY Strip Steak, although the steak was alright, but the serving was just too small. And their menu dared say “Best Shared”???? Scoff!!!

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I have to talk about the Montreal Poutine. I was reading Lucy Knisley’s Delish comic and that’s where I recently read about Poutine and what it was. I knew that when I saw Poutine in their menu, I just had to try it. Then, OMG, it was just fries, which were not fresh by the way, and less than average, topped with gravy and some cheese cubes! What blasphemy!!! I cannot believe I fell for this false advertising in Zomato.

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I also read in Zomato that their cheesecake was a must try. See, I am very particular about desserts, having tried so many wonderful and glorious dessert in the Philippines, I knew I would not find anywhere else that could make desserts as well as Filipinos do, but I wanted to be proven wrong. This was not that time. It was just so-so and definitely forgettable.

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It was turning out to be a bad day for me after all. Not so great event, not so great food, what else could go wrong? Well, bad people apparently. People who asks for crazy amount of money to fix a mistake that was not done by me. Not gonna dwell on this but let’s just say it involved me having to urgently borrow money and I hate it when that happens.

What makes the day worse, was that I blew a job opportunity because I missed a call from a recruitment agent. Even though I called back almost immediately after missing the call, the job was already gone by the time I was able to call back at the end of the ceremony. Urgh. Not a good day at all.

So after getting home from the ceremony, I decided to drown my sorrows in take out Chilli Pan Mee from Paparich and a small tub of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate fudge ice cream that is worth 270 calories. (wails)

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Oh well, congratulations to me.

 

August 31, 2017

Road to 50 kg. #weightloss #healthfirst #herewegoagain


So… this happened. Finally got the courage to get back on track with my weight and health issues. I don’t even recall the last time I was at the gym or working out. I vaguely remember playing rugby and basketball with a bunch of NTec people after work and that was unpaid work back in summer 2015. This was a long time coming.

Ever since I got a paid job in a chartered accounting firm, it wasn’t easy to fit exercise and work out into the schedule. Late nights and long hours in the office was a sure deterrent. By the time I get off work, I was mentally already drained and didn’t have the motivation to work out physically.

Since getting back from Palmy on August 12, I made the decision to start watching my calorie intake and working out again. I couldn’t let myself go again to the point of no return. So I downloaded myFitnesspal app which I previously used for calorie counting and started my diet.

Used an online BMI calculator and sure enough, nothing surprising, but I am frickin’ OBESE!!


Urghh!! So now I need to really work on getting back to 50 kg. Even if its not 50, at least to the ideal weight of 53kg. Entering the 70s range has been my all time heaviest. I have never been this heavy in my life! It’s the ultimate wake up call.

So here’s to me, hoping I could pull this off once again as I did before. With lots of work out, getting into an active lifestyle and most importantly watching what I put into my body, and lots of meal prepping and planning, I will be able to reach this goal before Christmas this year. Yep, that’s the plan.


I did a 5 day free trial before actually signing up today. They had a 50% joining fee discount just for the access key, and then it would cost around $15 bucks a week for unlimited access as well as 24 hours access. Which is cool really, I haven’t heard of any gym that is open 24/7 back home or even in the Philippines.

Before I signed up today, went on a late lunch date with Ana my second Colombian friend (the first was her partner Jason of course).


She’s such a cutie, petite little lady with the so sexy accent. Despite not being very close with her (our mutual link was really through Jason) we managed to talk about every little thing about life. Sometimes I get that she finds it hard to express herself in English, but I’m glad she made the effort. I really should learn Spanish again!


After lunch we went to Gloria Jean’s to have some coffee and chat a bit more. Talked about what we are passionate about and what kind of business we would dream of starting. How cool is that huh?

She had to go off to work soon so by 4:30pm we headed our separate way. I felt so guilty about eating so much calorie in one seating I went off quickly to the gym to burn off at least 300 calories!!! I really should learn to cut down food portions from outside so I can control the food intake.

Ok, cheer me on guys. I got this 💪🏼💪🏼

June 28, 2017

The end is here. #finalexam #diplomacompleted

Two years just went by too fast.

Today marks the end of another chapter in my 34+ years of life on this earth.

It hasn’t been a breeze, although it must have been easier than being in High school though. But of course, life as a teen and life as a middle age adult and still studying is two different things really.

It was such a burden off my shoulders when I finally finished my final paper for the final term. Audit was a lot of theory and not quite like all the calculations we’ve had in other subjects previously. I’m sure I would pass, its just a matter of getting a good result.

My little ‘squad’ comprising of a Korean girl and a Ukranian guy waited for me to finish my exam so we could go have lunch together for probably the last time. Of course, Saj just had to tag along 😏


Instead of the usual Food Alley, HeyG brought us to a place called “Tab” and obviously it was a bar which also served food so at least a place where we can have drinks to loosen up too.

I went for the Traditional Fish and Chips and boy was I disappointed at how little the fish portion was 😒 

But as you can see from my expression here, I was more relieved about the Diploma coming to end than I am about the food that I didn’t care how my double chins were popping out like nobody was there 🙄


Had a good chill session with these guys, although Saj had to leave by 2pm to head back go work, Sergii, HeyG and I just sat around, have our drinks and just savored the last moment we get to sit around and talk about life just like that.. 😊

Yep, I’ll miss seeing these two seatmates sticking around me in class 😝

June 23, 2017

Fake Collar. #ivegotmail #wishapp

Another parcel arrived today! I thought it was my Nucerity package that I’ve been waiting for weeks but as it turns out, it was this!

It’s called the “Fashion Blouse False Collar”.

The material is soft but I don’t know whats it called, not too sheer so it still looks good.

I was having a hard time trying to get a sleeveless collared shirt around town and so I decided to just get this online from the Wish App. I really wanted this just for the sake of having a white collared shirt that I could use to take a photo ID with. In Malaysia and apparently also in the Philippines, passport photos must be taken with a collared shirt. No idea what the logic behind it is. Looks more formal? professional? whatever.

It does make me look smart. Doesn’t it? 🤓

June 23, 2017

Final Class in NTEC DBA level 7 Diploma in Business Accounting

It is finally here. And it didn’t really dawn on me until Arun mentioned the obvious. He said he was also not feeling well today, as we were talking about why Linda (his seatmate) was absent the past two days. And he said that he was not about to miss the last class of his final semester in NTEC.

It’s too bad that we didn’t have Ken, our favorite tutor with us this week. He was away on a business trip back to Malaysia and so we had Asif as our replacement tutor and we just had to do our own self study so it was a pretty boring class. But hey, all is well nevertheless.

How could we leave the class without one last groufie??


This was taken from Asif’s iPhone 7 so the resolution was very good and took a very good shot of everyone. Well, not the complete group but at least the ones that have stayed behind.

L-R : Venika, Dinesh, Jaspreet, Ashok, Nisan, Arun, Ruwan and Hyeji. Danuka and Sergii right at the back.

This bunch has annoyed me all semester to be honest 😏 especially the group from Sri Lanka cos they talk too much. But I think they weren’t as bad as the group from Punjab in the last class we had a few semesters ago doing the Performance Management paper.

After our exam next Wednesday, I may never see some of them ever again. Well, it was good to have crossed paths with them anyway 😉

June 19, 2017

Little Mermaid Pillow Case.

Bought this Pillow Case from the Wish App for only ND5.00 because the item itself was Free and I just had to pay for the shipping cost. Ordered it on May 20, and it took almost a month to arrive. The material was exactly as described, although touching the material now, I am not sure if I can wash it first before using it. So I decided not to wash it just to be on the safe side. At least until it gets too dirty and I might have no choice but have to hand wash it.

Since the product did not include a pillow, I got myself the pillow cushion from those Japan Home Centre type of stores that sells 3 items for $10, only this pillow cushion was not part of the deal. So I had to get it at $6.99 for a standard 45×45 sized pillow. I did find it quite expensive, I mean, I would’ve expect it to be $5.00 but well, its better than $45 I guess. (saw one in Farmers for $45)

As usual, a trip to these Japanese stores would not be complete if I didn’t get something I didn’t really need, but would be nice to have. I got myself a mobile phone stand, ear plug covers and a digital kitchen timer!
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I am really enjoying these Monday retail therapies.. sighh~~ better treasure them while I still can!

June 18, 2017

Snapchat Filters. #random

Like seriously, how did they ever come up with these filter ideas? It’s just brilliant!

Although, it does emphasize my flaws now that the filters make me look too good 😒


I mean take this photo for example, I mean the left one doesn’t look too bad (at least in my perspective) and its me au naturel, I’m sure I have had worse photos than that (like my ID photo). But the right one makes me look soo good that the left one automatically looks terrible! 😒

Filters are digital make-up. They make anyone look even better!

Just randomly posting this as I’m so lazy I don’t feel like doing anything else in LIFE! 🙄

#emomode

June 18, 2017

未来日记 The Future Diary.

So this anime series marathon happened today.


Spent all day watching the whole 26 episodes and I must say I was not quite amused by the final ending but I suppose the whole series and plot was interesting non the less.

Initially in the first and second episode I was less than intrigued and thought it was a bit lame. But as the story progresses it did catch my attention and finally I got hooked with the idea.

It reminded me of “Hunger Games” where it was a game of survival and 12 of them had to kill one another so that the last one standing gets to be God.

Because the series aired sometime in 2011, the mobile phones depicted here were of the old flip top models. Already “old school” despite it being only about 6 years ago.

I rarely see a main character as weak as this one,  far from being the hero of the show, this 14 year old boy is sooo lame really. And I was surprised that the 9th character was more important than I thought it would be.

There wasn’t any character that appealed to me out of the 12, and I personally do not recommend this anime to be watched by kids under 16 or 18 for that matter. Too much “dark” stuff and talk about freaky “Yandare-stalker” stuff. Very unhealthy for young minds. 😐