Petty’s Hunt for the Nest!

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It was 10 days ago when I wrote about the irony of being a bed spacer here in UAE. While I was writing something about it, my idea was just to let everyone know how difficult it is working and living abroad like in my case or all the other expats out there. I live in a room with 5 other girls. It’s very much different from the way I live back home. In Philippines, I have my own room, we have a garage, we have the living-dining area, we have 2 other bedrooms, and now we have a music studio. Life is better there but earning is better here. Guess, you just spotted the difference? 🙂

I recall that one for as of yesterday, I was in-hunt of a new nest. My lifetime partner was about to land in 2 week time so I have to search for our own place. Well, I am just looking for a room, for a couple preferably in a family community. I dislike crowded flats. Aside from our tight budget, I need just to look for a place where I could sense that it is worth starting a life there. Plus, I hope to get near my area so that I could still walk my way in and from the office. I am not that choosy but I do have considerations / guidelines for a house which I want to live. Here it is :

  1. The good vibes. From the façade of the building on the way to the lift up to the flat itself I have to feel that good vibes. I am imagining myself going up and down, in and out from it every day. If I sense happiness just through the power of my imagination, it’s a plus point for me.
  2. The owner. While I started a conversation just by inquiring through phone, I am trying to get to know the person a bit. How they answer my query, how polite and accommodating they are. Because I believe from there, I could sense if we are going to have a smooth relationship from the beginning of our stay or not. And when I get them personally once I checked the flat, I assess through their appearance. (If they are wearing to many gold on their hands or neck, I could say they are really up for a business. A no-no for me.) I asked their living and I observe how well they could convince me to get the room right away.
  3. The place itself. I first check the bathroom, especially if it’s for common use followed by the kitchen. How they maintain it as of the current time of inquiring. Then, I checked the bedroom, how big it could fit the two of us. Again, I’ll check my vibes. 🙂 Then, I will ask if how many persons occupy the place and the inclusions of the payment. If there are rules to be aware of. And more often than not, I asked the owner if they reside in the same place they selling. I prefer the owner also resides with the tenants so that they could easily respond for any house problems.
  4. Lastly, the neighbours next door. Most of the time while I am busy talking with the owner, I’ve get to see some tenants residing there and I always wear a smile without even knowing them personally. When they smiled too and cared to ask, I could say that I have a pleasant neighbour if in case I choose to stay there. So far, from the 1st try of room hunt last night, I wasn’t smiled back. The feeling was so sad thinking that we are of the same race. 😦

Now, if you’re wondering how on earth did I arrive on this “nest-hunt” criteria? I was once a renter. Not the owner of the whole flat but since I lived there and the owner is for plain business deal only, and due to my charitable character, I did all the work instead of her. Every time there would be a vacancy of rooms, she will just call me and ask for a favour to assist the inquirers. For almost 2 ½ years of my stay there, it was like I own the whole apartment. Most of the time, if they would get to meet her, (that is only during the collection of their 1st rent payments)  they would approach me with amusement on their face and say, “I thought you’re the one owning this flat?!” Crazy but it’s true. I was the one welcoming new tenants; assist each and every need of the all occupants. Arrange house services for anything that needs to be fix. I post billings and responsible for the computation for all the renter’s payments and miscellaneous expenses. Not to mention that I keep the house clean almost every time. I seem to manage everything to transform that house into a home for everyone. And I did it all for free! But even if I did it, I didn’t even get a decrease in rent so I decided to transfer instead. It’s not practical for me to live in a room which is almost equal to a price of a studio flat so I moved. When I tell her I’m leaving, that’s only the time she offered a good price but I ended up turning it down for I no longer want to be charitable for another year. Enough is enough for me. It’s not mine anyway so why should I care. 🙂

That whole experience of mine was reasonable enough for me to understand every owner –renter’s needs. What I know if you’re the owner, you should be kind to your tenants, for they give you the profit. You have to take care of them so not to lose them. You are selling them your business so you have to provide better service with them. Sad to say, that almost all of the Filipino owners here are only up for the money they could earn by simply renting it out. They are only good when you’re paying. But mind to tell you, not all tenants are good also. It’s hard to see if they are responsible occupants or not. I did have a huge headache before. Renters fighting about computations and so on, especially the ones who don’t want to pay with all that lame excuses. As an owner, you can never get away with those kinds so expect it.

Anyway, as of my writings, I took off for a couple of hour to check another flat. It was of the same building with my good friend Marge. I had love that place since the time I visited her and guess what? I already made an arrangement with the owner and right there and then, I paid the deposit. Yey! I FINALLY FIND OUR NEST! 🙂 🙂 🙂 The good vibes are there ever since, the owner is so friendly and they also stay there. The place is good for a starting couple like us, and I haven’t seen much of the neighbour, but they are 2 ladies which are siblings I guess so that would be enough. All my “nest-hunt criteria” was met so I never have to think twice about it. And know what my friend just texted me? The good thing about us living there is that she can come to me anytime and we can talk all we want till we got tired and sleepy. She even informed me already what she wants to eat during our first breakfast there.  (I think she gets the benefit more than me living so closed to each other. hehehe)

Well, Petty is just happy for the hunt. Hope you did a good house hunting too, if ever you are one. 

I am the inspiration

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A colleague emailed me a link for her trial blog website. It was her first post and I was lucky enough to be one of the few selected visitors who viewed it. After visiting her page I replied saying, “Way to go! Congrats!” She then again responded that she was indeed inspired by my blog. I was overwhelmed and I don’t know exactly how I should respond. All I know is that I just started blogging a week ago and I just blog about anything that I want to share and what exactly comes out of my mind. I didn’t know that all along, I was inspiring somebody like her to make her own blog too. In that minute of compliment, I humbly replied that like her, I was also inspired by few people who think I could write. She was one of them actually and I guess I am paying it forward again.

Having that conversation made me realized to recall how exactly I was inspired and how they moved me to do something about it. It started by reading a step by step guide on how to use wordpress as sent to me by Mr. ET, and as I applied what I read, I automatically created my page. I got so excited that I even published my trial experience as my 1st post. 🙂 But long before I started it, I have been accepting compliments of my writings from like my previous officemate Mrs. S , who just love and envied my facebook info page; to my fellas Mr. RM & ET, who are the newbie bloggers before me;  to my friend EE who always complimented me with my English capacity; to a foreign friend S, who asks advice to me whenever he is down;  to Ms.A who even printed my thoughts on how to solve a heart problem; to CT  from which I practiced my witty thinking and typing ability; to HP  who taught I was a bright student; to QT who trust me with her paragraphs and spellings; and for everyone who responded that they love what I have been sharing them through emails. Wow! I have a huge list of inspirations as a matter of fact. 🙂

What i learned today? Sometimes, we only need stimulation. A simple push for us to start what we should have done for  the longest time. For me, it was only my idea that I can write, I never get the chance to start it since nobody is asking me too, and only one appreciates it which is my huge fan, N. (well, he is my partner. 🙂 ) And now that almost everyone I know compliments the way I talk, write and think. I didn’t have second thoughts in finally doing it. Their compliments are my stimulation in making it happen. Having all of them made me realized that they believe in me, they took time paying attention to every word I said and they valued me. They are indeed my inspirations in writing. They are the one who pushed me to do something on which I am capable of.

And now that I am also an inspiration, I wished to share more of what I have learned along the way with my blog. I was again inspired to write more, talked more and obviously think more topics to share. I learned that when you have all the support in anything you want to do, you feel the courage to do your best. I experienced it and I guess its time for me to pass it around.

I hope I had inspired another soul today. 🙂

I choose Faith.

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Every tomorrow has two handles.
We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety
or the handle of faith.
– Henry Ward Beecher

Petty’s Thoughts : I choose faith. Well nothing is impossible if you have faith. Faith in God and faith in yourself. If you want something to happen, let go of uncertainty. Make action to your plan and make it happen. If you need to move mountains, then do it. For faith happens in believing when there seems to be no reason to believe.

The “ALDO” experience

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I came back to Aldo Shop today to check again if they already manage to fix the watch I bought last Saturday. It has been twice that I came to drop by and follow up my request. I really loved that wrist watch for reasons that aside from 5 different colours of strap, it has alarm, backlight, so funky and not to mention it is digital. The first time I’ve seen it I really fell in love. Well simply because I really love watch and I can’t deny that I am very much eager to own it. So the next day I go back again with my friend M, bought it and to my excitement, I tried all the features as stated in the manual. When I get tired and turn it on the menu, I was surprise to see that I accidently changed the original time as set when I took it from the shop. That minute I suddenly panic because I can’t bring it back. I tried again for two days reading the manual, but I really can’t fix it. And the easiest way for me to solve the problem was to return it back to where I brought it.

And so, here was I back again to claim for my watch. I really felt so sad when they informed me that none of their staff know how to fix it. Since 7 days had already passed since I bought it, they offer me to replace it for something else. Of course I choose for a watch replacement but among the displays I can’t seem to find one as funky as it was. I was about to lose my hope when I spotted the satchel bag hidden at the back of the counter. It was actually the one I tried to buy before but it was a bit pricey so I changed my mind. I ask if I can replace the watch into that bag and to my surprise, it was 10 bucks cheaper from the price of the watch I paid. I was feeling lucky because they have it on sale. Yey! 🙂 Image

I was saddened for not having the wristwatch as I already dreamt of wearing it, but I felt happier having the satchel bag. Maybe I just want the watch and I needed the bag more. Coincidence? I guess so. Thank goodness nobody knows how to fix the watch. 🙂

Peace of Mind.. need one?

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One day Buddha was travelling with a few of his followers. While they were passing a lake, Buddha told one of his disciples,

“I am thirsty. Do get me some water from the lake.”

The disciple walked up to the lake. At that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy and turbid. The disciple thought,

“How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink?”

 So he came back and told Buddha,

“The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.”

 After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake. The disciple went back, and found that the water was still muddy. He returned and informed Buddha about the same. After sometime, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back. This time, the disciple found the mud had settled down, and the water was clean and clear. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha. He looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said,

“See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be, and the mud settled down on its own — and you have clear water.”

Petty Thought : Having peace of mind is not a strenuous job, it is effortless in process. Like in the story, when it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time and it will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put a lot of effort to calm it down. It will just happen and it is indeed effortless.

If your have been into a lot of thinking lately, rest for awhile. it sounds simple but it has multiple effects on your mind. Remember, good decisions comes out from a clear mind. Hope you have one.

Zero Debt? I mean it!

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I have been a debt accumulator since I started earning more bucks abroad. Way back in my country of origin, I didn’t even have an ATM card, I just get my salary cash and pay everything in cash. Life was so simple. But when I step in here, loans and credit cards are just like flies surrounding you and you just have to say yes even if you don’t mean it so they could fly away. You just have to fill up the forms given by the agent who is almost present every day in the office, no need for bank appearance or follow-ups, you just have to wait and you’re on your way to debt. Well, that was 2006 and since recession hit the city, the flies are nowhere to be found. 🙂 Much better.

I experienced a year loan in 1% interest and after I have had a credit card in 6% total monthly interest for which I had paid for almost 2 years & 8 months. You read it right. I paid the credit card longer and in higher interest rate. Well that is because I never stop using the card for 2 years. I pay then I acquired debt again and I just realized to stop when it felts like nothing seem to change with my payment schemes. You see, the loan has a time frame and has fixed interest unlike of plastics, they vary the interest on your outstanding balance so the rate is changing. The more you acquire the higher the equivalent of interest to pay. But I am not saying that it’s better to have a loan and credit cards are really bad. Loan if you’ll be using it as a leverage tool in multiplying the earnings and credit cards could also be your friend, if only you know how to use it wisely. I hope its clear.

As of my credit debt, when I understand how the interest works, I pledged to finish it in 8 months. I really sound crazy that time but having the determination in keeping that goal, I’ve made it with flying colours. How I did that? I give the credit to my brother. I didn’t ask for money but for advice. He has been my #1 mentor in almost everything so might as well asked his knowledge about my problem.

Here’s what I’ve done:

  1. Cut all the cards. Seriously? Yes! I get a scissor and cut it right away. But I left one of course; one which I thought would be the best among the others to keep. For emergency used only. Since it’s all cut, I don’t have anything to swipe. And the one I left? I keep it a place where I could hardly get it. Not in my wallet but in my luggage. 🙂
  2. Stop using the card. From that day on, my transaction are all cash. In this way, the interest is decreasing and I really feel the hurt in letting go of higher amounts in my hand. I became frugal. 🙂
  3. Tabulate all the credit. I list out all the cards I have to pay, with the outstanding balances in excel sheet and figure out each cards interest rates. This way, I have a clear idea of the amount which I have to pay and which card has the lower & higher interest.
  4. Set an amount you can afford to pay each month. Paying above minimum is better. For example you can afford 2000 aed per month. You can disseminate this amount equally or have a percentage basis for this amount for each of your credit card. Formula : divide your total credit to the amount you could set aside and this way, you can calculate how long you will need to pay till it become zero balance. (Just remember that you no longer use the card.)
  5. Choose a strategy : Snowball Theory or highest interest first? I prefer snowball or the lowest interest first. Why? Because the credit card with lower interest got to be finished easily and once you accomplished something you became eager to be zero-debt.
  6. Declare your freedom day. Nothing seems to be more interesting than having a specific date on achieving a goal to be debt free. Marked that date and focus.
  7. Stick to the strategy and keep a status for payments. Monitor each payment made and at the end of the challenge, you can assess how much the interest you just have paid.
  8. Apply for a credit clearance. Once you have completed one card against the other call the bank right away and apply for a clearance. This will take time but be patient in always following up for your request because most of the bank they will not respond right away, some might just refuse to cut off your card and they will ask you to just keep it especially when you are a good payer. So whether they like it or not, apply for the papers.

I also thought of using my savings as a payment for my debt, but I never did. I consider that impractical if you are fighting against recession but I believed it also works. Nowadays savings are only 1.5% in interest rates or 4% in Time deposits which is lesser than the average rate of a credit card. So rather than keeping the money in lower rates, just pay it all in your debt!

Lesson learned : Never buy on credit. There is no such thing as “easy” payment. Believe me, every payment would be hard. And when you meet that freedom day, learn to put your money in an investment on which you charge them interest not in debts that charge you interest.

Happy “Zero-debt” day! 🙂

Rich vs Poor

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A couple of months ago, I encountered someone whom I’ve known quite a bit and that was way back 1994. I met her again not in UAE, but through the power of social networking. She’s kind of a rich when I first met her during high school. Why I said so? Coz she can buy anything she wants and money wasn’t a big problem. I almost envied her. And if you’re wondering why I talked about her now? Apparently she is asking for help. She is living differently now from the way I have always known her. I pitied her. I pity in a way that she find it hard to adjust in the life she has now. No job, with 2 kids sent to school plus a husband with a minimum wage salary. I am not sure if she finished school. It was really such a sad story to hear.

See, my parents enrolled me in a private school from elementary through high school and the irony of studying there was I can always spot the difference between the wealthy, not-so-wealthy and the striving. I was in between the last two categories. I admit I was a bit stubborn then. Silence has been my worst tantrums every time Mom never allows me to buy something cool nor attend parties or even join school contests and events. Her rule was simple: “We are not rich, stick with that.”

Over the time, I get through it. I mean, while I have been keeping myself in a silent mode, I was wondering why on earth it has to be like that. Why in the first place I am enrolled in a school which has limits and boundaries for my kind? As a working rat now, it became clear to me. Studying in a private school doesn’t mean I should compete financially. If everybody could afford all the nicest stuff, I shouldn’t envy. I was sent to school to study, get good grades, graduate and eventually enter college. Guess you probably heard the famous line, “the only possession a parent could give you is education.” My parents never had a job that pays them on a monthly basis but seeing them work hard on every way possible just to send us to school makes us realize that we too should strive harder by all means.

Let’s face it, when you’re young, you’ll never appreciate, you’ll never understand. You only think of what’s new and what’s hot and you’re so selfish. Meeting her again made me realized that somehow it is far better when you grew up not having everything in just a snap. And though I envied her before, I realized what if I am born like her having everything? Maybe I will buy all I want, I will not care to learn how to achieve, I will just ask for money and for sure, I’ll cry out loud when I have no more money to spend. Thank God we have just enough! 🙂

When you’re poor, you won’t ask for things you know you can’t have. You learn contentment, you are taught to be frugal, you develop patience and you know how simplicity works. In not having what I want I learned to be independent and make my own way to establish myself. If I want something, I’ll do anything to have it. I dream, I study, saved all I can and unknowingly from there I started learning to have a goal.

But being not so poor and not so wealthy wasn’t really easy at all even if you are put on a state of a somehow a balanced lifestyle. The point is no matter which category you belong, the important thing is you know how to value everything. I know a few people who were born rich but are thought to understand how to live life. They know the essence of valuing things, people and possessions. We should all be like that. The world is revolving, in a minute or two, we could lose what we have or we might be staying on where we stand or we just end-up wishing to go back. The decision & choice is all ours. We are all held responsible for the way we live our lives in the first place. Whether we are wrong or currently on the right track, we are always bound to move forward. It’s a fast phasing world, if you don’t move nothing will happen to you.

I hope you have a life that is a good one. Maybe the not so great but at least a better kind. 🙂

May the force be with you.