Do, Do Good

My internet is finally back in working order today. I think all this weird weather has been causing havoc to everyone and even disrupting cables. Thailand at the moment is in a strange state indeed. In the north we have earthquakes, in the south we have flooding, high waves of 2-3 meters are causing people to leave the islands, and in the northeast we have drought. Bangkok itself is experiencing abnormally cold weather. People are suffering.

Those in the south of Thailand have had to evacuate their homes due to flooding. Beautiful beaches where once we would dream of laying on the white sandy beaches looking out towards the sea has become a place to stay away from. Entire beaches which were once 25 meters long are now underwater and roads are being destroyed. Now is not a good time to go to the beach.

Who knows what the world will be like in the future? Some say it’ll snow in Bangkok. It’s hard to believe but then we did have hailstorms that are the size of golf balls in the northern part of Thailand earlier this month. Freaky indeed. Whatever happens, my take is this: Who knows what will happen tomorrow. Do what you want to do now so that you won’t regret it later on in life. Don’t let things past by and when it’s too late wish you had done differently. Be a person you’d be proud of. Know how to give and take and understand that there are others too who are suffering, probably even more so than you. If you are reading this, then your life probably isn’t all that bad.

Regrets, Regret Not

Today I read an interesting article in the New York Times entitled “What’s Your Biggest Regret?” it’s interesting that one should study about it, but I suppose to learn and understand human behaviour, we have to take surveys and see what others feel. Interestingly, the most common regreat among American adults involves a lost romantic opportunity. This was from a sample of 370 adults. Second was family issues.

It makes me think about “regret.” Some consider it feeling a deep “remorse” or a sadness for a loss or absence of something. Some define it as the “opportunity lost” or a “sadness one feels after an action one wishes one had not done.” Whatever definition you give it, it is basically a feeling one feels when one wishes one had taken an action rather than the one had.

Then I thought about what my deepest “regret” was. This was not easy as I tell myself not to “regret” any decision I make because I don’t want to spend my life thinking and brooding about the things I “should” have done, the actions I “should” have taken. Easier said than done. Of course there are some things I wish I had done differently.

A few candidates came up and they are things I wish I had done differently. The biggest “regret” I have is I wish I had taken care of my health earlier. I wish I had lost the excess weight a long time ago. If I had known, life would be so much lighter, so much easier, less of a headache. I would have lost the weight a long long time ago.

Of course, at hindsight it is always easier to talk about the way things should have been done. When you’re in the situation, it’s not always that easy.

Nevertheless, whatever regrets you have in life whether it’s about not having pursued that romantic crush or one involving a squabble, I think the biggest lesson one must keep in mind is to learn from them. Know what they are, analyse them, get them out of your system and move on with life. Use the lessons you learn to make the most of what life has left for you. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Don’t spend your life wallowing away at past mistakes that can’t be altered. Your future depends on you now. There is no one else to blame. Go and DO IT!

Earth Hour : Love the Planet

At 8.30pm today we had Earth Hour. An hour when everyone worldwide together turned off unecessary lights and gave the world a much needed rest. I think it’s a wonderful initiative and one that I hope continues on every year. Perhaps it will gather momentum and move to be twice a year. Who knows.. it’s such a simple gesture but one that is a great reminder to us all to take care of this earth we live in.

It always amazes me how simple gestures can be so powerful. This Earth Hour was initally started in Sydney in 2007 and it has since expanded across the globe. Wonderful, thank you for having started this.

One hour we say might seem little, but in reality its effects are much more than we realize. Millions of households simultaneously turning off lights will of course result in energy being saved and thereby having less environmental damage on the earth. The important thing about this Earth Hour though is that it serves as a reminder to us all that energy is precious and that the Earth we live on is precious. It places a spot on our conscience the next time we leave lights on when we don’t need it. Turn off lights you don’t need, help the Earth, help your fellow Earth citizens and save your electricity bill.

In the end we all win 🙂 Thank you Earth Hour for reminding me to turn off my lights. Life is not only about us, it is also about the people we live with on this Earth. Sweet dreams my readers.

Restaurant Trip: Baan Nam Kieng Din

A few weeks ago I went for the first time to a restaurant not far from Bangkok that made me feel like a child again. It’s called Baan Nam Kieng Din (บ้านน้ำเคียงดิน), around 45 minutes drive and located on the beautiful Utayan road which is between Nakorn Chaisi and Phuttamonton. It is very near to the Buddhist Park at Phuttamonton which has the highest standing buddha image in the world. Yes, it’s incredibly big. If you combine the dinner with the buddha image it makes a wonderful afternoon out.

Anyways, this restaurant is wonderful in that it caters to people of all ages and when you go there, you feel like you escape the world a little and go on a little holiday. The drive out under the big wide sky relaxes you and the spacious garden greets you upon arrival makes it feel fun and exciting. The garden isn’t just any garden, there are small ponds with a pair of black swans, enclosures with bunny rabbits running around and ducks of all sizes that just make you want to stop and feed them. On one side, they even have about half a dozen pink flamingoes. I love animals, so this is a great place for me. I spent a good deal of time just standing there watching the rabbits and the flamingoes. I suppose the little child inside of me came out that day.

As you walk through the garden, and across bridges in the backgroud are two American styled houses that makes you wonder if you are in the US. I want to go back again. However, you start feeling like you are in an amusement park when you see the waiters and waitresses dressed in German traditional costumes. It’s fun and it adds colour to the place. I immediately like this place. There are half a dozen flags flying on poles to show the international side of this place and kids were all over the place happily feeding ducks and rabbits. Some tables even brought along their dogs. This is an animal friendly restaurant.

Most of the seating is outdoors so you sit by the garden next to ducks and rabbits or next to flamingoes. It’s a big area and I wouldn’t be suprised if on one evening they served a thousand guests. They have tables of all sizes, for couples, for medium families or even larger groups. They also have indoor seating, but I have yet to see what it’s like inside. What amazes me though is the quality of service. At such a large restaurant like this, usually service is slow and you can’t get anything you want. Here, the service was just great. They took care to open up umbrellas to ensure you weren’t sitting in the sun and put them away when it started growing dark. The food all came in quick sucessions and service was never too far for you to grab their attention. Wonderful.

Don’t ask me what nationality the food here is. They have everything from german food, italian food to thai food. I had sausages and crispy pork leg german style. It was served with sauerkraut and all the furnishes. It was just about the right size and not too large though I wished they did give me more sauerkraut. It was good nevertheless. Other tables I noticed ordered Thai food which they also have in abundance, ranging from curries to plates of fish in thai sauce.

What amazes me though is how fast the restaurant fills up. I arrived at around 4.30pm and I thought to myself that I must be one of the first few tables. Who eats dinner at 4.30pm? To my surprise, most of the tables were filled and if you didn’t have reservations you had to sit by the flagpoles (which we did) instead of next to the garden. By 5pm most of the seats were taken and a long queue had started forming by the entrance. Amazing.

Customers ranged from families with young kids to groups of friends who were there for the beer. I suppose in the evenings, this is a good place to go enjoy some cool drinks. They supposedly have some good beer here if you are a beef lover.

Pricewise, it’s very reasonable. The sausages were around 200 thb, the pork leg 350 thb. If you want value for money though, the spaghetti was a bit expensive. It was about three bites worth and was 180thb, though I have to admit it did taste quite good.

Hmm…If you go, I suggest you make reservations in advance so that you’d get a lovely seat by the pond or the ducks. I did notice a couple all dressed up out on a date too as well as large family groups. Whoever you go with, I think its a great place if you want to escape the usual shopping malls and city life of Bangkok. Here, you are less than an hour’s drive yet you are out of Bangkok. Enjoy!

Their number is 02-441-3837 The restaurant opens from 17.00 hours on Mondays to Thursdays and from 16.00 hours. on Fridays to Sundays. The last order is at 22.00 hours.

Running Tip: Breathe from da Belly

This morning I went running and still even though its been over a year since I started running, I still can’t quite get the breathing right. I take short breaths in and long breaths out. I gasp for air and my legs start to go all wobbly. All I can think is when do I next get to stop. Oxygen isn’t getting to me fast enough. I feel like I’m suffocating a little. I can feel my lungs heave against my chest. I reach the end of my minutes and I heave for air.

This is not how my breathing should be and it makes me tire more easily than I should. There has to be a better way to breathe. I can’t quite get over my neighbour who is running along as if he were out on the countryside smiling, looking left and right. His breathing is calm and relaxed. His running looks so easy. His feet are quiet. I take a peak at his speed and he’s running at 10.5 km/hour! Wow. That’s very fit..I’m doing 9km/hour and I’m huffing and puffing like I was a big bad wolf about to blow down houses. My face has turned all red and sweat trickles down my face.

This huffing and puffing has just got to stop. On runner’s world website today I found a great article on “Lung Power.” It mentions how good runners must also train their diaphragms which is a muscle that helps you breathe.

I discover that what I do wrong is breathe from the chest. We are supposed to breathe from the belly. A good way to test according to the article is to have one hand on your chest, and another on your belly. When you take in a deep breath from your belly your belly should expand like a balloon with your chest remaining still. I do the exact opposite when I run. When I inhale, my stomach goes in when its supposed to go out! No wonder…

The best way they say is to practice even when you aren’t running. Pilates is supposed to help. I suppose I’d better start going back to those Pilates lessons I’ve only managed to do a few times. They’re great, but incredibly tiring! I think Yoga should help too. That’s something I keep doing on and off also.

So next time you run, remember to take deep breaths with your belly! 🙂 Happy running!

P.S. The article has some great vdos on Pilates exercises you can do to help your breathing… 🙂

Cherish this Planet Earth: Stop Global Warming

Earlier this morning rain poured down in Bangkok as if the Gods were angry at us. Sounds of thunder roared all over Bangkok alternating with flashes of lightning. Wind gushed against the window, flowing through trees and reorganizing the branches; making them look as if they had just got out of bed. It rained so hard that it could literally be raining cats and dogs. Temperatures dropped from the mid 30’s (celsius) to the mid 20’s.

Last week, temperatures in Bangkok dropped down to 18 degrees celsius and lasted for roughly two days. It was the coldest two days I’ve ever experienced in Bangkok (since I’ve been here on a regular basis since the year 2000). It was strange. I could sleep in my room without opening windows nor turning on the air conditioning and snuggle under my blankets. Even then I was slightly cold. I had gotten used to Bangkok’s sizzling temperatures. Others wore jackets and thick coats to work. It was a chance to use all that winter wear we usually save for trips abroad.

Now, you may wonder what is so strange about all this? So we have intense high pressure from China that is making temperatures drop and the “summer thunderstorm” is a result of the confluence or convection of two air streams. This is what happens when “cold” and “warm” fronts collide. (Doesn’t this remind you of highschool science? ) In addition, from April to October thunderstorms are normal in Thailand. That is when we consider ourselves in the rainy or monsoon season.

We’ve had these thunderstorms before but according to the Thai Metereological Department which has statistics on extreme minimum temperature (only available during the “winter months” the last time temperatures in Bangkok were around 14 celsius was over 30 years ago.

Anyhow, from observing events, I believe that the world as we know it is now experiencing more “extreme” weather conditions. This past winter the western hemisphere experienced one of it’s coldest winters. Belgium, which hardly snowed when I lived there, was hit with so much snowfall flights out of the country had to be delayed. Airports ran out of their anti-ice equipment. Roads were closed and people couldn’t get to work. Now here in Bangkok, temperatures are swinging from high 30’s to mid 20’s within the span of a week. This is not talking about the earthquakes that are happening on a more frequent basis.

What is causing all this extreme weather? I believe the culprit is GLOBAL WARMING! Okay so you say what does global warming have to do with COLD weather? The name has “warming” on it. It means a general rise in the average temperature of the Earth doesn’t it?

Yes, it does, but if you read more details on global warming, it also mentions one side effect as being “more frequent and intense extreme weather events.” Now doesn’t that sound familiar?

We have the Kyoto Protocol which has countries aiming to cut emissions, but is it really enough? It’s better than nothing, but if we don’t all start cherishing this Earth a little more who knows what our lives will be like in ten, twenty years from now. I used to think that the effects of Global Warming would take so long to surface that I’d be off this world by then, but helas I am wrong. I am only mid way through life and already I am seeing drastic changes in climate. How will our children live?

Let’s all try to help this Earth a little. You don’t have to become a full fledged earth lover, but when you take a plastic bag, just think about it a little more. Do you really need it? Use a canvas bag instead or combine bags. Turn off the lights if you don’t need it. Separate your garbage and recycle. If you’re a big business, please don’t pollute even if it lowers costs.

We have but one Earth and we all live on it together. I don’t want to go live elsewhere just yet. Let’s keep the Gods happy. You and Me.

“‘Good” Fats versus “Bad” Fats

We’ve all heard of “Good” fats and “Bad” fats but do we really know how to look out for them? I always get a little loss looking at the label. Sometimes there is the polyunsaturated fat or transfat? Monounsaturated and Saturated. Anything that has the word “fat” in it sounds scary, when in reality some of those “fats” are actually good for you!

Below is a great video explaining how to watch out for “bad” fats on food labels 🙂 Let’s all take care of our health. A little here and there helps a lot. Remember, each little step that brings you closer to good health is a step in the right direction! Remember, eat everything in moderation!

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary! Yes, it’s Having ‘Me’ Time’s first Anniversary! A little over a year ago (on March 16th, 2010 to be exact) I turned on my computer, logged into a very old blogger account that had been inactive for years, and wrote my first post. I thank you Alex for encouraging me as you always have. I had no clue how it would evolve and until this day I am still wondering where all this writing will take me. The only thing I am sure of though is that I’m enjoying every minute on it and that I truly appreciate everyone who has continued to follow my posts as well as your comments. They make my day. Thank you for reading 🙂

A lot has happened in the past year, not only with me but with the world in which we live. Imagine, a year ago who would have thought an earthquake and tsunami of such magnitude would occur in Japan? Haiti and New Zealand? The middle east was still calm. There were no unrests in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Nuclear power was still on the agenda. Summer was just starting in Thailand before we had the political unrest that resulted in fires, deaths and my evacuation from the condo. I pray no such thing ever happens again. It was stressful. Too stressful.

As for me, I’m still the same girl with the funny accent and the “chubby” me deep inside though of course I am now a year older and (hopefully) wiser. A year is quite a long time if you think about all that has happened…and not so long if you think about all that you wished you had done. I still have some unfinished projects like knitting that bag I’ve half started.

This past year, one important lesson I’ve learnt is that sometimes it’s okay to just be the person you are, even if it isn’t always the person you think you’d like to be. Oftentimes we have images of the person we think we should be: a little more organized, less forgetful, more disciplined, more caring or more patient.

Sometimes we even fall into the trap of thinking we are a certain way even though we aren’t in reality. What is important though is that we recognize these “traps” and not fall into them. Are we really the person we think we are? Am I really a person who likes to spend every evening outside the house partying? I realize I do enjoy staying home so much more that now I you’d need to have a good reason to make me leave the comfort of my home. Or maybe it’s just age hitting me. Whatever it is, I realize I like it this way.

So now a year has past, a year where I have spent almost everyday on this blog and one that I must say has been one of my happiest years. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, about those around me and about the world in which we live. There is still, however, a world still of unkowns for me to explore and discover. There is much I want to do in this lifetime. How has your past year been? How have you changed? What are your thoughts on life? Feel free to share. 🙂

Happy Anniversary!

Little Things That Matter

Last night I opened up my email and read a lovely forward from an old childhood friend I’ve known since my age was still a single digit. We haven’t lived in the same country for decades, but we always keep touch and she always sends such good forwards. This particular one though I could not let it past without sharing it with everyone. Thank you for sharing it with me. You know who you are 🙂

The story is a bit long but please read it all the way through the end. It’s a great reminder to us all of what is important in life, in relationships and how we view the world. Sometimes we go through life, trying to do everything that’s expected of us, until we lose sight of the person we really are and the people who surround us. We are too busy performing our “tasks.”

Take a “pause” every now and then, look at the person next to you, and really see them. Are you spending “quality” time together? Are you taking care of each other and really understanding how they feel? It doesn’t have to involve money or expensive gifts. All that matters is that you look up from your busy day-to-day life, smell the roses, and remind yourself of why you are with the person next to you.

It’s the little things that matter. Don’t take anything for granted, especially those who are closest to you. Value them and cherish them with all your heart before it’s too late.
Enjoy the story!


When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce.. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man!

That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Dew. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Dew so dearly.

Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Dew.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did notcare so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce.

She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal alife as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that everyday for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning.. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Dew about my wife’s divorce conditions.. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully..

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention wasexplicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mummy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her inmy arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time.. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realised that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Dew about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out.To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad.

On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Dew opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Dew, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead.. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Dew, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other any more. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

Dew seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead.

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage.

By: Joey Gabinete Acebron

A Changed World

Yesterday morning as I headed out to run amidst the rain, I felt like I wanted to snuggle back into bed and just enjoy sleeping through the rain. Then I turned on the news to watch while I run and saw the devastation in Japan. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time it is also a humbling experience. It reminds us how fragile our lives are.

Lives could change in matter of minutes. No matter how much you anticipate it, prepare for it, you can never be sufficiently prepared.
Who would imagine that this seemingly harmless “water” could suddenly rise up so high that it would topple buildings, pass the barriers and tumble down upon houses, obliviating all in its path and leaving nothing but a pile of debris and mud. A newspaper today showed a cruise ship balanced ontop of a two or three storey building. It’s not architecturally constructed, yet it happens in real life like it were showing off the force of nature.

And so with this giant of an earthquake in Japan, many lives have been changed forever. Families have been lost, children orphaned, and the elderly separated. Hundreds of thousands are now suddenly homeless and many more are trapped beneath the rubble. News of survivors continues to give us hope.

The world is forever changed after this earthquake. The newspaper today said the earth moved 10cm in its axis, but that’s not what I’m really talking about.

I think the world now will be one that is much more understanding and helpful to each other. Japan has been recieving help from countries near and far and everyone is putting in a helping hand. Afterall, it’s not a matter of what country you are from, what nationality you are, but the fact that we are all human beings on this earth. If we don’t help each other who will? So in the bigger scheme of things, lets all put aside differences. In the end, it won’t really matter at all. We might just all be carried off in one monstrous wave that wipes out the entire mankind. We are that fragile. Yes we are.