Anniversary Cards.

My Anniversary Cards arrived yesterday from F.B.! My boy spoils me.... as you can see below. A letters, cards, stickers. He also sent me an 'I Love You' keychain & bought one for himself so we both have one. I just hope my anniversary cards arrive to him on time, Philippine mail is slow and sometimes letters get lost!

Yes! Our Anniversary is on April Fools Day... we're a couple of fools in love! Haha!

I was also able to go to the park on Saturday with my cousins. The weather was nice & sunny but it's still chilly for spring. I can't wait until it gets warmer. I took some gorgeous scenery photos! Here are a few of them:

You can view the rest of my park pictures on my photobucket account!

I'm also a girl that takes her pet rats to the park! Pics here! They loved it!

Visa Issues...

I got a call from the Philippine Consulate in New York today. It turns out I mailed my visa application in prematurely. I did not know this because I've never applied for a visa. The tourism visa I applied for is only good for 3 months so if they issued my visa now it would be expired before my trip! The lady I spoke with (with her Philippine accent, hehe!) said If I didn't need my passport right away they could keep it until September, then issue my visa and send back my passport for my trip in October. I asked her if I filled everything else out on the application correctly since it was my first time applying for a visa and she said yes. The only problem was that they couldn't issue the visa until September... so the Philippine Consulate will have my passport until September! Eeek! Oh well, at least I'll be aware whenever I need to apply for a visa again!

In other news: I mailed F.B.'s anniversary cards to him the other day. Our 4th anniversary will be on April 1st!

Staying in touch...

F.B. & I have been in our long distance relationship for nearly 4 years now. April 1st will be our 4th anniversary. It is a 12-13 hour time difference between Philadelphia & the Philippines. (Depending on daylight saving time in the USA.) Keeping in touch has never been difficult for us. On weekends we have our "dates". We will meet on Yahoo Messenger or AIM and chat for several hours. If it is 12pm here, it is 12am there. Even with the drastic time difference we've always managed to make time for each other.

When I'm at work during my lunch breaks F.B. will get online. I have AIM built directly into my cell phone and we are able to chat while I have my break. We also email during the week. We don't email on Tuesday's or Thursday's. And we don't email on weekends since we get to spend time together online. This schedule works for us and also gives us some alone time as well. We also stay in touch by text messaging each other.

Phone calls are expensive. We usually save them for special occasions. He has a prepaid cell phone. And I usually buy a phone card. Sometimes we will surprise each other by calling out of the blue which is nice. And occasionally we talk on headsets through Yahoo Messenger which is completely free but it has bugs where your voice will sound like a chipmunk, interference noises through the headset or dropped calls.

We send cards & letters frequently. And packages for special occasions. It's about $50.00 to express mail a package to the Philippines or to the USA. We don't use any other service besides express because mail service in the Philippines isn't perfect and sometimes mail is lost. I've had quite a few letters get lost in the mail.

And of course we get to see each other yearly! It takes about a year to pay the balance of the plane ticket off on my credit card, which is why there is such a space of time in between our visits. But it's so nice being able to know when we'll be together again. And it's motivation for the year, something to work towards. I'm thankful we'll get to spend 8 weeks together this October. And maybe the trip after I'll be able to stay even longer.

Despite the incredible distance, we make it work! Sometimes it's tough, but we manage make it work. We are in touch every single day, thanks to technology! Long distance relationships can work. They takes alot of sacrifices, time & money but they work. You have to be able to trust each other. You have to be willing to make sacrifices. You have to want to be with each other, to make time for one another. But believe me, they can work!

I wanted to recommend a book that both F.B. & I have read. It was so good I purchased a copy for each of us about 2 years ago. It's called: The Long Distance Relationship Survival Guide: Secrets and Strategies from successful couples who have gone the distance. By, Chris Bell & Kate Brauer-Bell.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8

Lyrical Post...

Back to the Philippines in October!

My new Chase credit card came on March 10th. With a nice 0% APR Interest rate until March 2009. So... of course I started looking up flights to the Philippines. F.B. & I agreed on Oct 6th-Dec 2nd. I kept picking flights and it kept tellion the ng me my flight wasn't available. I even started picking flights that went through Japan and Guam... and nothing was available for some reason. Not to mention the cheapest flight was $1,400.

I played around with the dates a bit and came up with Oct 6th-Dec 4th. That came up with an $1,100 flight. Pretty much the same flight I always take through Chicago & Hong Kong. Except instead of Philippine Airlines I'd be taking Cathay Pacific Airways to the Philippines and back to Hong Kong when I go home. Which means I won't be at the smaller airport for just Philippine Airlines, I'll be at the big main airport. I'm sure F.B. and I will find eachother though. That's about the only new part to my flight.

So I put the ticket on my credit card. Ahhh more debt... lol. I'm usually able to pay off my tickets before the interest starts by making $60.00 payments twice a month. I told F.B. I want to visit ever year until we are able to get married.

I will be going to the Philippines again October 6th-December 4th. I'll be staying around 8 weeks! I'll get to spend F.B.'s birthday with him this year. Yay!!!!

I mailed off my visa application to the Philippine Consulate in New York on March 18th. I had to have the application notarized and I had to send in my passport, 2x2 white background passport photo, e-ticket, flight intinerary & my income tax copy, prepaid envelope & $30.00 postal money order. Now I am waiting for my application to be processed and my passport returned to me with my visa. Nervous. I hope I filled everything out correctly. I need the visa, since I'll be staying 2 months.

Here is my flight schedule:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Depart: United Airlines 9:24am Philadelphia International (PHL)

Arrive: 10:49am Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)

Change planes. Time between flights: 1hr 22min United Airlines

Depart: 12:20pm Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)

Arrive: 4:45pm Hong Kong Int'l (HKG)

Change planes. Time between flights: 3hr 15min

Depart: Cathay Pacific Airways Depart: 8:00pm Hong Kong Int'l (HKG)

Arrive: 10:00pm Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (MNL)

This is an overnight flight. Total duration: 24hr 15min Total miles: 9171 miles

Thursday, December 4, 2008 Return

Depart: Cathay Pacific Airways 6:30am Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (MNL)

Arrive: 8:30am Hong Kong Int'l (HKG)

Change planes. Time between flights: 3hr 10min

Depart: United Airlines 11:40am Hong Kong Int'l (HKG)

Arrive: 11:49am Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)

Change planes. Time between flights: 1hr 21min

Depart: United Airlines 1:35pm Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)

Arrive: 4:45pm Philadelphia International (PHL)

Total duration: 22hr 43min Total miles: 9171 miles

My Favorite Philippine Products.

I'm discussing possible dates to return to the Philippines to visit F.B. I'm thinking I'll be going October 6th and returning December 2nd. I want to stay 8 weeks. I'm applying for a tourism visa from the Philippine Consulate in New York. (PCGNY). I shouldn't be working those months and I will still get to spend the holidays with my family (though I'll miss Thanksgiving.) I'll also get to be with F.B. on his birthday this year if I go on those dates. His birthday is October 9th.

I've just about paid off my last trip. Only $300 more dollars to pay off before I can make a new debt on my credit card of $1,100-1,500. Getting a new credit card again with a 0% APR for a year. That's usually what I do. I hate interest! I always get a new credit card without interest for year when I buy a new plane ticket. I should be getting my new place ticket in April sometime! I'm excited!

It would be great to spend 8 weeks (2 months) with my boy! 3 weeks just goes by too quickly and it's so expensive to fly there. I want to stay as long as I can! So will be getting my plane ticket and applying for my visa! And then I can look forward to spending time with my boy again!

I wanted to share some of my FAVORITE Philippine products. I always stock up when I go over there.

1. Vaseline Shampoo.

Vaseline Shampoo (Unilever Philippines)

Buy Vaseline Shampoo from Pilipinomart!

Ahhhh! This is the best shampoo ever! I've tried them all except the blue one with aloe... haven't seen that one yet. But I always bring back several bottles of the stuff. It works so well and leaves my hair clean and shiny. I wish we had this in the USA! You can buy it online, but it costs $7 for the smallest bottle- compared with under a dollar for the same bottle in the Philippines! Which is why I stock up on it when I'm over there!

2. Closeup Toothpaste (Philippine Version.)

Closeup Toothpaste

For some reason Unilever Philippines isn't showing up on Unilever's website. Not sure why. It's no fair! In the USA we only have Red Hot regular and Red Hot Whitening Closeup. In the Philippines they have even more Closeup flavors than the picture above! My favorites are: Crystal, Icy Chill & I love the Lemon Mint Twist. Don't think I'd like Menthol though... blech.

Weird thing is... you can find Menthol Halls Cough Drops in the CANDY aisle in the Philippines! Yes Candy! F.B. & I would walk by the candy aisle and I'd get aggravated and say, "Cough Drops are not candy! Menthol is not candy! Come to our drugstores and you'll find Halls next to the sore throat medicine! Menthol is medicine!" (BTW- if you ever need cough drops while in the Philippines just go down the candy aisle!)

3. San Mig 3-in-1 Sugar Free Coffee Mix

San Mig 3-in-1 Coffee Mix

Buy San Mig 3-in-1 Coffee Mix

OMG! This coffee is BETTER than Starbucks... better than Wawa coffee! It's Amazing! And it's INSTANT! It's also sugarfree and comes with the sugar, creamer & coffee in one packet. And the coffee flavor is AMAZING! I've never tasted coffee so good in my life! My brother didn't believe me until I let him try some. Then he made me bring him back some. I emailed the place I buy some of my Philippine groceries from (Pilipino Mart) last week and asked if they would ever consider carrying San Mig coffee. They emailed me back saying they were adding it to their new products! So you know I stocked up! (You cannot get this coffee anywhere else online! I've looked!) There's a link above, if you would like to buy some too! I'm thinking when I visit the Philippines again I might ship a box back over to the USA for myself. It's cheaper to buy there and it's sooo good! I've only got 2 more packets left until my order comes! Hehe!

4. Choc-Nut

Buy Choc-Nut at Pilipino Mart!

Choc-Nut candy is sooo good! It's like a peanut butter chocolate powder candy. It melts in your mouth! You can actually buy it online from Pilipino Mart. I ordered 2 packs when I ordered the San Mig Coffee, hehe! Yummy! F.B. got me addicted to Choc-nut. Hehe!

5. Kopiko Coffee Candy

Kopiko Coffee Candy

Buy Kopiko Coffee Candy on

I think the Kopiko coffee candy I get in the Philippines is made in Malaysia. But it's still sooo good! It's a creamy coffee hard candy. My Mom makes me bring her a bag back whenever I visit the Philippines. It's the best coffee candy around!

So those are some of my favorite Philippine Products I wanted to share with everyone!

 photo sarahlynn_zpse7845bbe.jpg

Philippines Trip: 2008.

I returned to the Philippines this past January (2nd-24th). It was quite an adventure this time though. In Philadelphia alot of flights going to Chicago were canceled because of snow and my flight was delayed until 9am. By the time I got to Chicago I only had 45 minutes to get to my next flight when I was supposed to have a 3 hour delay there!

When leaving Chicago the plane stopped on the runway because the air conditioning unit fell off the plane. They had to return to our gate to fix it. We were delayed nearly 3 hours just sitting on the plane before we took off. I was late getting to Hong Kong and I was supposed to have a 4 hour delay there but when I got to Hong Kong it was already 8:30pm and my next flight was boarding at 9:20pm. I had to rush throught the airport to make it to my flight!

During my flight to the Philippines the stewardess asked me if I would give up my seat for a mother and child so the child could sit next to her mother. She ugraded me to first class! That was an interesting experience I've never been in first class! The seats were like lounge chairs. They put a table cloth on your pull out food tray & they even had real dishes and utensils. I had salmon on the plane (yummy!) and they had this fancy cake for dessert and they would keep refilling your water glass!

I arrived in the Philippines around 11:40pm. I met F.B. & his Mom in the waiting area outside the airport. They were holding a red 'Sarah' banner this time, so I could find them. We hugged & I didn't say anything stupid this time around, lol! (See: You're not so short!) He had flowers for me in the car. We got back to F.B.'s house around 1am. When I arrived at his house his family had made me another welcome sign. F.B. had rose petals scattered all over the floor of his sister's room that I was staying in. So sweet! Hehe!

We spent a week in Makati City this time. We stayed at the Best Western Astor Hotel again. We got to spend time in Greenebelt again and Glorietta Mall. We also spent alot of time at Mall of Asia in Manila. We had our 1 year Engagement Anniversary on January 10th. We went to Saisaki Buffet for the occasion! Saisaki is our favorite Japanese buffet! I got a cute stuffed horse/donkey? with F.B.'s iced tea. Saisaki always does that. Last year I got a purple stuffed dog, hehe.

We also visited the Ayala musuem while in Makati City. Where we saw Philippine History Dioramas and Philippine Art. On January 9th I got to meet up with my friend Gayle whom I met on myspace. We got together at a Starbucks in Glorietta Mall. F.B. & got to see a play on the 11th in Greenbelt. We saw 'Tuesday's with Morrie.' (My first play!) And we went to see a 3D movie at the Imax Theater at Mall of Asia.

I caught the cold his family was passing around when we were in Makati City. I had it pretty much the whole trip. F.B. gave me some vitamin c pills to take and some medicine. The one afternoon at the hotel he let me sleep in. And I got to visit 7 Eleven in the Philippines and bought some Gatorade.

We visited alot of malls during my stay. Sta. Lucia and Big R. Trinoma Mall, Mega Mall, Market Market, Glorietta, Mall of Asia. And got to eat at all my favorite Filipino places, Gerry's Grill, Chow King, Tokyo Tokyo. I also got to try Jollibee this time. (Basically a Filipino Mc Donalds.) And Yellow Cab Pizza became one of our other favorite places to eat. I finally got to try Wendy's in the Philippines, that's my favorite fast food place at home. And Starbucks... we must have gone 9 times in 3 weeks! I'm addicted now! Help!

I got to try Goat for the first time when his family had a family reunion lunch. The dish was a bit spicy for me. My favorite Filipino dishes are Liempo, Pansit, Chicken or Pork Adobo & I love Corn & Crab soup with Quail Eggs. Yummy!!!!

I also got to go to my very first Basketball game in the Philippines. We went to the Cuneta Astrodome on January 20th. We were just behind the courtside row. There was a lady reporter there filming, I kept ducking because I didn't want to be on TV, haha! F.B.'s mom & Aunt said they saw F's hair on TV! We also took some amazing sunset pictures at Manila Bay outside of Mall of Asia. The year before it had been too cloudy for sunset pictures.

The one night the power went out at F.B.'s house around 11pm. He tried playing around with the fuse box but that wasn't the issue. So I had to take a shower by candle light that night. Then we sat outside on his porch talking and having s snack of dried mango and some pringles. I saw a lizard climbing up the porch wall. And we also saw a bat flying over one of the palm tree's. The power didn't come back on until about 9am. It was hot without the fan so F.B. fanned himself and me while we tried to get some sleep that night.

F.B. & I had such a nice time together. It was sad when we had to part after the 3 weeks again. Got to the airport in Manila around 6am on January 24th. F.B. and I said our goodbyes. We were both crying outside the airport. Luckily I was at the smaller airport again just for Philippine Airlines so he was able to watch me through the windows. We waved to each other until I had to go past customs.

I arrived back in the USA on January 24th after a 24+ hour grueling travel day. The lines were really long for customs in the Philippines and I almost missed my flight. The airport tax changed from $12 up to $18 now! You have to pay the airport tax to leave the country.

I got to Hong Kong for my 15 hour flight, but got stuck next to this crazy Asian lady. The guy on the aisle seat was going to Philly also, and we kept giving each other these 'looks' when the crazy lady did stuff. She was like hanging over the guys food tray talking to people in the aisle, she accidentlly split beer on me. Thanks and when I was sleeping she kept taking snacks and stuff from the stewardess for me- poke me when I was sleeping and I'd have to say, "I don't want it. I just want to sleep."

Got to Chicago and had a 1 hour delay which was not enough time to go through customs- wait for my baggage hand my baggage back, take the tram car, go through more security and get to my gate- the entire waiting area was empty everyone was on the plane, I barely made it. I got back to Philly and guess what? No baggage! My luggage was missing! 5 people including me that were on the Hong Kong flight to Chicago and then back to Philly lost their luggage because our flight left. Luckily United Airlines returned my baggage later that same night.

F.B. kept a journal the entire 3 weeks. At night he would briefly write down everything we had done that day. When I got home he mailed me the original and made himself a copy. That was really nice, because now we can look back on our trip and read about what we did on each day.

Please check out all the photos from my Philippines Trip in January by clicking here!

Flash Back: 3-12-2007

From Myspace Blog:

March 12, 2007 - Monday
Updates....only 8 more months....
Current mood: excited

Ohhhh... just 8 more months until I'm on that plane to go back to the Philippines. I booked my hotel about a week ago! was having a very nice sale and I saved $100! F.B. & I will be staying in Makati City for a full week this time. January 7th-12th. We really enjoyed staying at the Best Western Astor Hotel there and it's right in the city so plenty of places to drive or walk too.

We will get to spend our engagement anniversary on January 10th in Makati City. I think we are going to go out to dinner somewhere. Maybe Gerry's Grill, hehe, we love that place. And F.B. is going to get me a proper engagement ring and propose properly as well.

Been having issues with the ring I have now. F.B. gave it to me on Christmas day when we were together. I love my ring, it happened to be a size too big, so I had it resized, then a month ago the stone fell out when I was at the store, my Mom, Brother & I went back to look for it and my Brother found the stone in the doormat to the store. So I took it back to the jeweler and they had to replace the head on it. I just got it back this week. F.B. & I have both put alot of money into the ring... which is why I wanted it to be my engagement ring, but it was never really intended for that, and F.B. wants to get me a proper sturdier engagement ring, and propose to me on our engagement anniversary.

F.B. graduated on Friday!!! He's all finished college now! You can see a few pictures in his profile from his graduation. He's first on my friends list. I'm so proud of him... I wish I could have been there for his graduation though... I feel sad that I missed that.... I called him at work this morning at 8:30am- it was 8:30pm in the Philippines and he was out to dinner with his Mom & Aunt.

Tomorrow I am having an early mother's day with Mom, we will be going out to lunch and to the mall, so I'll be off to bed now.


March 12th, 2007: I am off to the Philippines in about 10 more months! The ticket prices are too expensive for Christmas this year, but they were very cheap for January. So I will be going back to the Philippines in January 2008!!!

I just booked my ticket! Orbitz will be mailing my ticket to me. I'll be leaving from Philadelphia on January 2nd, 2008. And arriving in the Philippines on the 3rd. I'll be coming home on January 24th, 2008!

It will be nicer anyhow, since I can spend the holiday's with my family this year at home. And F & I will get to spend more time with each other after the holidays, when it won't be chaotic & crowded every where.

Only 10 more months until I'm with my boy again! I'm so excited! I put the ticket on my credit card this time though, so now I have to repay $1,167.00 back... but my laptop will be paid off at the end of this month- only two more payments. And then I can work on paying off my plane ticket. It should take less than a year to pay that money off, so it's not a problem. And I can still continue to save for getting married. The money in my savings is for my future with F. So I can't touch that at all.

I will probably be booking the Best Western Hotel in Makati City sometime soon. We are thinking of staying a week in the city this time. Either from, January 7th-12th. Or January 7th-11th. We'll see. I have to save up a little money first and then book that, because it will probably cost $300.00-400.00 dollars for 5 nights.... oh well... just about 10 more months!!!

Time for bed now, if I can sleep! I'm so amped up! But I have to wake up at 5;15am... blech.... so goodnight!!!


P.S. This is quite ironic... I'll be arriving in the Philippines on January 3rd, the day I left this past year, hehe.

Engaged! 1-10-2007

F.B. & I decided to get engaged yesterday. After talking & discussing things. Of course there is no set date of when we will be marrying. Only that we decided to get engaged & start planning for our future. It could be 2-3 years more before we get married. F.B. will be finishing college in May. He's starting his OJT this semester. He is in college getting his bachelor degree in computer science. If all goes well- the company he does his job training with may hire him after graduation. Then he can also begin saving for our future. We need to get our finances in order before we plan to marry.

I need to look into all the legal procedures for the Philippines. If we get married, it will be at Justice of the Peace in the Philippines. Not really a wedding. We don't really want that. Just some family & friends & maybe a dinner after wards.

I would be moving to the Philippines. That would be a big adjustment for my life. Yes it is a big step & a big change. But it's something I want to do. I've been back here in the US a little over a week & I'm going crazy. I miss the Philippines... I want to go back. I would like to visit again in the late summer this year if it's possible & works out.

I need to find out all the legal procedures for me to stay over there & work legally- without giving up my us citizenship. We need to save money- so that when I moved over there we would be okay financially while I secured a job. I would like to work in a call center and be a customer service rep. I understand the US is better off economically & I might only be making half of what my US paychecks were over there, but I'm not looking to get rich or have a career. That's not what I want. What I want is to be with my boy, and for us to have a little house somewhere and start our own life.


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