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W.O.T.D. – Expectation & Worth

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Here I go again… 

It’s been hard for me to write this post as I seemed lost for words and it takes time to tell you, dear readers… I will finally be coming back HOME.  I sure hope it is still “my home” though as I am a bit afraid after about being an ex-pat for more than 3 years without even visiting the place, unlike many other ex-pats.  I have been anywhere except holidaying in my home country isn’t it weird?  It’s because of the tedious flying time of 18 hours straight or cut it in two to Australia 14 hours + Auckland 4 hours = 18 hours. Which is better?  Even going back to my birth country for a holiday is more or less 9 hours away from where we are at the moment (Abu Dhabi) which is really in the middle of  Europe and Asia.  So going to Australasia down under so to say… feels like so far far away!!

WOTD Expectation

What to expect?  I am freaking out actually.  I heard so many stories about ex-pats coming back home realizing it’s NOT the same as before or perhaps WE ARE NOT THE SAME AS BEFORE?.  Even the roads will not be the same as when we left New Zealand in 2015 there are a lot of road works going on and adding some lanes and a tunnel etc.  I’ve read that the almost rural place we go to for Farmers Market and now in demand and becoming posh suburbs that we cannot even afford to buy a small land. Auckland is now one of the most expensive Cities in the World.  Though our place is farther away from the City it is still ridiculously expensive!  Good thing we have a house to come home to.  There’s a scarcity in the housing market.  A big problem indeed.

I think it’s better NO EXPECTATION.  It can save me from whatever fear facing the future.

WOTD Worth

One thing for sure we will try to make this worth it.  My son is growing and need more stability as for the past 3 years or more he has been to 3 different schools.  Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye again.  I cannot say No to being an ex-pat again if this is the only way our family can stay together.  Depends on the next contract of hubby.  Just hoping he will also come home to us for good, that would be great! though not financially.

Now that I finally adjusted to the life here, I will miss a lot of brunches, friends parties, events and celebrations around here.  I surrounded my life with many groups of moms like me in school, in our place, my closes friends and even acquaintances. FYI, I am one of those they call “trailing spouse” so yes I choose not to work (after working almost my whole life in 3 different Countries) so I am the nanny of my own child but unlike with nannies, I have a much better social network. It took me two long years to finally adjusted and accepted the life here and now we have to go for personal reason that cannot wait.

Life is easy here and less stress (except when driving haha!!) and I get used to this somehow that having to begin a new life in NZ seems a bit scary though exciting too, to be honest.  So many things to do and see places perhaps seeing it as an ex-pat.  We have to be re-acquainted to the Country.  I am hoping we can adjust quickly… hopefully!

Anyway… I often read some advice and hopefully,  I can be able to apply it.  Here are the LINK1 and LINK2 if you are curious and have time to read.

Are you an ex-pat who came back home after years of life overseas?  Please tell me your stories and perhaps I can learn from those.  Feel free to give me an advice.  Thanks!

Any ex-pats coming home to New Zealand like me?  Let me know or you can PM me.

Thanks for reading and cheers to the next journey!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Places to Wander & Wonder in Switzerland

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So true!!  I think I don’t need to explain further on this one as most of you dear readers are traveloholic like me. 

To all my followers, you probably know by now that Switzerland is my favorite destination and it shows how many posts I posted in the past.  I also like to go where the locals go so it is something new for some people who wanted to travel there and wanting to avoid crowds but still enjoying Zurich and around.  Here below are some of the places and try to visit these when you get there.  It is awesome and still full of nature.

In the City.

Zurich town, vinneve foto

Stroll around the City.  This was taken at the bridge.  Discover some alleys and around the lake you will be amazed that in even unsuspecting alley tourists are there but sometimes not too crowded, enjoying a cup of coffee, ice cream or lunches. Awesome old architectural building around. You will know more about the places once you go walking or try to join a walking tour if you like that. 

Alley in Zurich township, vinneve foto

Discover other towns by ferry, you can do short or long journey at Bellevue station/ferry.  You can reach here by tram, bus or train depends where you are.  Please check my older post about cruising leisurely around Lake Zurich.  It’s not that expensive.  We hopped off to Kilchberg Station where you can walk to Lindt chocolate factory.  But mind you, you cannot enter the factory itself.  Just a discount store as low as 50% if you are right on time and they have a sale.

 

Parks, restaurants & other lakes.

Went for a walk at the Park located at Zurich-Hongg then enjoy their cafe house inside named Jagerhaus Waidberg Restaurant as below picture. They have a beautiful garden and yes you can bring your dog for a walk and a treat too!

 

Nature is abundant in berries but be careful there is a red berry that is a poison it is only for birds.  Locals know so if you are not familiar with it do not put it into your mouth.

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blackberries, vinneve foto

Lake Turlersee.  As you can see it is very pristine.  I say it is a rural located in Affoltern, a canton of Zurich.  There is a fee of SF5 only to enter and there is a restaurant inside and a food stands with sausages and ice creams for kids.

Lake Turlersee, vinneve foto

Falsenegg Restaurant LINK.   Again our families love to walk so we go to the Park again and a wonderful restaurant with a good view of Zurich was ahead of us.  Honestly, though perhaps some people come in their car or with a cable car, we went up hiking or sort of just to eat here and have a breather after, besides we are just a few minutes away from this place and also the Turlersee lake.

Falsenegg restaurant, vinneve foto

Triibhuus Restaurant, LINK .  It is a huge greenhouse restaurant.  As you can see full of plants everywhere.  It is for families, friends or couples on a date.  At the time we were there, there is a live Mexican/ Spanish duo singers entertaining the guests.  They also make you laugh and you can join in the dancing too!

Eglisau.  It is located in the district of Bulach, canton of Zurich.  It sits on the banks of the Rhine and yes another side of the famous Rhine river.  Be careful this river runs fast so not for average swimmers.  It can get you to the Swiss-German border and to the Netherlands and it empties into the North Sea.  There is a cruise ship that you can buy tickets to.  We just had a picnic and swim party here for a birthday celebration and hired boats to go to a safer side for a swim.  We have children with us.

Eglisau, River rhine, vinneve foto

It can be foodies haven! You will learn to appreciate salads as it’s so filling & delicious. Swiss people eat healthy foods. Not a lot of fast food around and if you see one the prices can be very expensive than eating in nearby cafes restaurants or food stalls around.  HINT:  Manor restaurant inside the mall offers good quality food and drink at affordable prices around SF15-20 approx. for 1 adult and 1 child and you can still include a cake or pie but depends on your hunger.

Manor restaurant, vinneve foto

Alright, perhaps these are enough to make you hungry?  remember, Switzerland can be very expensive but if you know where to buy or eat out you can still enjoy all their food and please don’t hesitate to ask some locals as they can speak English especially the younger generations.  Also more information at the Haupthbanhoff station.  You can buy tickets for trains and other tours and services.  Museums are nearby and as well as lots of branded shops around.  Do not forget to get a “Zurich in your pocket” brochure located at the train stations.  They have all the maps and information you will need.  Enjoy!  Tschuss!!

 

 

 

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Day out in Luzern and it’s Castle on the hill

TIME spent with family is worth every second… by anonymous

LIFE is all about having a good time! … by Miley Cyrus

I make it a point to have a good time with my only son always! whether it be around our place or overseas.  Luzern / Lucerne is a good place for a day out and just only an hour away from Zurich where we are having our long holiday with the grandparents.  We have been here many times but those times it seems it passed by, perhaps it because my son was so young to remember it all.  Now that he is ten he will definitely remembers this. 

And what more to remember is to climb so many stairs up the hill that we cannot count anymore, to reach the top of Gutsch Castle which is now a hotel and restaurant.  I wasn’t aware that there is a funicular on the other side street to go up and for some reason people who I talked to about this Castle told me in the past that we need to go up to climbing stairs and I say it’s really a big task for both of us in the middle of the afternoon heat.  So now you know and so, will not have the same mistake as I, unless you really wanted to be fit and must be done in the morning instead… but it’s worth it isn’t it? Most of the sights you cannot see if you take a funicular though.  Look at the photos below and you can see lots of beautiful views only at the top and if you take the hard way of climbing the stairs up!

AROUND LUZERN 

People of Luzern loves music and that day we enjoyed having a free concerts and lot’s of sausage sizzles, beers and other foods whatever your budget.  They even have something for kids to play on while the parents can enjoy having their bratwurst or cervela and beer while listening to concerts which I believe are conducted by University students.  Of course one day is not enough so plan your day well to see as many sights and events you can do for your day out. 

We both love musuems but we only can go to one which is my son’s choice and will post next time, please wait for it.  For now please enjoy the photos, LIKE and do comment that would be great!!  Tshuss!

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Taminaschlucht & it’s Village named Bad Ragaz

Went on a day trip with the grandparents! A place that’s dear to them in their younger years.

Altes Bad Pfafers – is now a spa museum but the story begins in 1240 when 2 hunters discovered a thermal spring that the nearby Monastery found the river to have a healing power. Many famous people came here to bath since then at their own risk.

Now they have some better arrangements in the village and visitors can now bath at their comfort thru this LINK . No more being lowered down into a gorge in a basket!

The water coming from these Rocky Mountains comes down to the very fast river that’s so strong it’s necessary to have fences for safety along the pathway. It can be deafening too.

The village of Bad Ragaz has an old charm of its own. It’s boasting not just a majestic Rocky Mountains but also conveniences to visitors like train station and bus station nearby some small boutique stores, cafes and restaurants.

You can choose to hike up to Taminaschluct (Tamina Gorge), by bus or by horse wagon that goes up in the mountain. It’s definitely nice to hike but beware it’s a long rough road and you have to give way to the a bus or horses. You can be rewarded with beautiful scenery along the way and the fast raging river. We chose by bus and it’s like an adventure as the road is very narrow and the rocks looming over you.  Please bring coins only 5SF per person as you need it to enter the gate to the gorge.

This place is under the Canton of St.Gallen.  It’s a special place indeed!  Wait for my St. Gallen post next time.  Tschuss!!

 

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Heritage Houses in Bataan, Philippines

LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR see this LINK for more info.

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Las Casas waterfront view, vinneve foto

One of the best places I have been to the Philippines.  It tells of what happened in the past in each heritage house and every wall hides some secrets, passions, and sacrifices in the Spanish era (history link). It may look serene, but people in this era experienced a lot of hardships and inhumanity from Spaniards.  This is the history of the Philippines that you may learn to know once you walk and admired each house in this heritage site.

First, going there from Manila takes 3-4 hours of traveling by bus or by car depends on the traffic. From Manila to Balanga, then Balanga to Bagac.  A town where you can find Las Casas.  Be prepared for some rough roads but your hardships will be worthwhile.

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Las Casas road to the entrance, vinneve foto

 

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Hotel de Oriente, vinneve foto

 

Each house had some stories to tell.  Some you will laugh and be intrigued. But all of them are such a sight to behold especially when you get inside and see how they live in the past. You can see the rich culture and some I can still remember in my younger days playing outside where there are no gadgets to focus or get addicted to.

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Playground, vinneve foto

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Outside with Kalesa waiting, vinneve foto

 

 

Come night-time you can still admire these houses though it may look like hunted but never fear as there are so many people walking at night and enjoying the breeze outside after dinner. Yes, some houses you can rent but it will cost you, be prepared.

 

You will be amazed that this heritage site has a beachfront with a beautiful sunset too!

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LasCasas sunset, vinneve foto

After our stay in Las Casas, we went back to the capital province of Bataan which is Balanga.  It is also a nice place to go around on or before going to Mt. Samat.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to go to the mountain to see a more touristy spot.

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Balanga, Bataan PH, vinneve foto

We had a great time and enjoyed some rich history of this province named Bataan. If you are coming for a visit to the Philippines make sure you include this on your trip. It is a bit pricey but it is worth it.

Now I leave you with the famous quote of JOSE RIZAL, Philippine National Hero.

“Youth is the HOPE of our FUTURE… ” 

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Destination: Venice/Venezia, Italy

Venice or Venezia, ITALY.

(Like Paris)  I never thought I will visit this place.  I only see them in the movies and gushing what a beautiful place it is!  Only in my wildest dream I can see it, or so I thought… until a change of luck or fate in my life that I’m able to do all this traveling.  Thanks to GOD for all the blessings and/or blessing in disguises.

I’ve got the chance of having a day trip to Venice from Milan with my cousins (thanks to them) and my boy in tow.  I actually choose Turin/ Torino before because I like less crowd and less expenses as it will be less expensive than Venice and Florence I believe, but they told me it’s a must to see Venice and so we all go!  Here comes the whole day of walking and taking hundreds of photos of the sceneries and selfies and lot’s of CROWDS to do some photo bombing when taking your own photos.  I found some opportunities still to put into this blog for you all to enjoy.  But I must admit… Venice is not what I used to see in romantic movies old or new.  It’s a very hot sunny day and full of crowds. The water is filled with people on a boat ride (gondola) and unfortunately, the sea and it’s canals are not that clean anymore. I find their buildings and their architectures amazing though.  Beware of the expenses and try to save for your trip here so you can really enjoy touring and dining!

By Train from Milan  to S.Lucia  … this is the STOP and yes you see the crowds full of them everywhere so just get used to it especially in Summer. 

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Venize @bridgeview, vinneve     

Make sure you don’t get lost in so many alleys!!  And see below photo to where is the public toilet (3rd photo chapel turn left, CR with pay).  Please enlarge the photos and to see the captions.  I like the similarities of their architecture in Milan and Turin… only differs with history.

I have so many photos but I can only put just a few here sorry!  I will leave you with a sweet glazed chocolates in different shapes and forms! Thanks for checking!

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Venice Chocs, vinneve 

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Was it luck or fate? You choose.

In response to the Daily Post: LUCK

In response to the Daily Post: VIVID

In response to the Daily Post: WISH 

WOTD Challenge – GUESS

Related link to this post if you have time to check: COINCIDENCE OR FATE?

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. - Seneca

There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed. - Napoleon Bonaparte

January 2015 – My hubby just resigned from his job in Australia about to go back home to New Zealand and in about 2 days before the landline being deactivated… an important surprise call came that changed our lives. An offer. A once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed, however, changes we need to rearrange our plans.

February 2015 – Back in NZ and celebrating the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival in Auckland.  A wish came true (after throwing a piece of paper with wishes on it on top of the tree) or was it just LUCK or fate destined to happen?.  

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Wishing tree, AKL NZ CNY 2015

Showing some VIVID images from Auckland Chinese NY Lantern Festival.  The last one we have attended in New Zealand.  It was fun and a good memory to cherish.

Cheers! 🙂  

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My Desire and the Road Taken… however Against the Odds & it’s Shadow etc.

This is in response/s to the Daily Post/Prompts & Weekly Photo Challenges:  DesireThe Road Taken,  AridAgainst the Odds, Superpower, and Shadow.  The last but NOT the least… WOTD Desire from a Word Challenge group.

Please allow me this opportunity to express myself and my thoughts thru these challenges and yes it is literally a challenge about LIFE... our life, besides CHANGE is the only constant in life. Please click the highlighted in red above & below to go to another window for my previous post.

Last year I had to choose 3 options where to live for the sake of my happiness and my son’s future.  You may say I am fortunate but yes perhaps having some options are better than none, however, confusing and complicated it may be in the long run.

MY DESIRE, THE ROAD TAKEN, AGAINST THE ODDS and SUPERPOWER

The road we took is different to what my heart desires beautiful as it may seem like the ever famous and colourful beauty of both Switzerland and New Zealand. Poles apart. One my son’s half identity plus the other half and our “home” that we left behind for the meantime, so the family can be whole in UAE.  You see, how can I decide so easily if being happy is not also complete without the other half and against all odds? And so…the latter mentioned, the road taken and the decision is made because… FAMILY THAT STICKS TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER! 😉

IF I have a superpower… I will definitely be flying and live each week or month in each place so I will not feel homesick, feel deprived of my own opportunity or feel guilty about one way or another.  But alas!  I am only human.  In reality, it is impossible as it is not normal and I want some normality in my son’s life as possible.

Switzerland

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Near Zurich, vinneve

New Zealand

somewhere in Hawkes Bay

somewhere in Hawkes Bay NZ, vinneve photo

UAE, Abu Dhabi

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Between the bridges, AD UAE, vinneve

You are probably surprised that there are some similarities with these 3 Countries but yes different lifestyles (Switzerland – Sophisticated; NZ – laidback; UAE – luxurious) and definitely different cultures and values… but one thing is again common it’s FAMILY. 

For people who have never been to the Middle East… who would have thought that an ARID land can turn out to be a mysterious beauty and more?  I appreciated what is life offered us here and are grateful for the new experiences.  It’s definitely different but nevertheless, it’s an adventure of a lifetime!

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My Family, vinneve

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Daily Prompt: Giant Bird

via Daily Prompt: Giant

This is in response to the Daily Prompt: GIANT.

This “giant bird” helps me to go to a place, whether for business or pleasure it continue to amaze and give a constant feeling of adventure!

 

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over the top of Swiss Mountains, vinneve photo1

 

 

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vinneve photo 2, Swiss Mountains

 

 

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Horizon, vinneve photo

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UAE, AD. vinneve photo

Going back to UAE, Abu Dhabi.

For more posts about Switzerland please see the LINK 1 & LINK 2 and some decisions to be made as per this LINK 3.  More posts to come but please be patient as I always don’t have the Golden time to do so.  It is worth the wait, though!  Cheers!

 

 

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Destination: Qatar

Late post.  One blogger knows I should have posted it several months ago, as I have met her there, Hi Tiffany! 🙂 but I thought I could wait and perhaps come back there again for a longer trip but it never happened so I resigned and here it is now posting.

I cannot say much about Qatar but I do love the airport as it is really beautiful and has an award to prove it.  Also some unique and interesting buildings around and their famous landmarks. Nevertheless, we have enjoyed our family time and also hubby’s business meeting.  Not sure if we will be back there this year, though.

I had an earlier post about our Hotel review in Qatar please check this LINK.

Pleased to present to you QATAR.  Just click the photo to enlarge and thanks for your time perusing it.  Again, thank you! dear readers, for your time checking my new post.  Until next time, cheers!  🙂

THE AIRPORT – there is a dedicated area for kids and even us parents liked to hang around.  The whole airport is spotlessly clean and very easy to get around in.

 

AROUND THE CITY

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THE SOUQ WAQIF (Souk/ Market)