10.02.2014

Tokyo Express - Japanese Dining, Fast and Fresh

Thinking Japanese

A few Saturdays ago, Bea and I were at the house waiting for Berto to come home. I was actually cooking dinner while trying to fix up the house's mess the best I can. I've never been known for my cleanliness. Hehe.. Anyway, I was just about finished with my cooking when I received a call from the hubby. He said he had a particularly rough day at work. Too many difficult customers he said, and that he just wanted to eat out to relax and take a break. I eagerly agreed, anyway we can just eat the dinner I cooked the next day.

After a few minutes, Berto was downstairs to pick up his ladies. We were craving for some Japanese food so we decided to go to Tokyo Express near the Millwoods Town Center (5220 23 Ave NW Edmonton, AB phone number: 780 468-1668).  This restaurant offers Japanese cuisine fast food style. Their menu offered noodles, rice bowls, bento boxes as well as several options from the sushi bar.

Bea and I shared a Shrimp Bento Box ($10.99) while hubby ordered a Teriyaki Beef Bento ($9.99). We also ordered a Mini Roll Combo ($7.99) which was composed of 16 pieces of mini California rolls and mini Dynamite rolls.

As we were eating, I noticed that the restaurant was quite popular judging by the number of customers that went in to dine or to just order to go. Serving were huge, food was yummy. It was a bit difficult to communicate with the lady at the counter because of her heavy Japanese accent but she was patient with us. 

We definitely enjoyed the food and dining experience at the Tokyo Express. We'll have to come back again and try other items from the menu. 


10.01.2014

Southgate Center Mall, Fido Solutions and Family Reunions - Our First Weekend in Canada

We arrived in Edmonton on a Friday night. We spent the next day mostly sleeping and catching up with family. My brother-in-law and his lovely wife were kind enough to take us in. Bea had a wonderful time with her cousins. Back home, she only got to play with some children in the neighborhood since her cousins lived far from us. On our first Sunday, we heard mass at the nearby parish, St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Parish.  My other brother-in-law drove us there while we heard mass with my mother-in-law. Thank goodness for hubby's family! If they weren't there to guide us, we would have been at a loss!

Next order of business, lunch at the Southgate Center Mall


We went and tried Koryo Korean Bbq, MIL's treat. It was delicious!!! They had big servings too. Too bad I forgot to take pictures for the blog, I was just too hungry! Haha.


While at the mall, Berto and I thought of getting our cellphones activated. We didn't avail of Globe's roaming services since we found it too limited and expensive to maintain. Anyway, we had viber and facebook to communicate with family back home. If we were to apply for work here in Edmonton, we need an affordable and reliable mobile service. All hubby's family had Bell for their mobile services while my cousin in BC had FIDO. We weren't sure which to get. I didn't really have a particular brand in mind, as long as the mobile packages they offer is good. We shopped around the mall for a while, looking into Chatr, Bell, Rogers, Virgin and Wind but we still ended up geting FIDO. They offered the best affordable mobile services, plus data. They also gave us a 10% discount off our bills since we brought our own cellphones. Great deal! I got the $34 plan which included 200 minutes of call from 7am to 5pm, unlimited calls at night and weekends, 50 MB data, unlimited calls within canada, unlimited texts both local and international, voicemail and caller ID. Some of these services you'd have to pay extra to avail but FIDO had it all bundled up in one package!  Hubby got the higher $44 plan with more minutes and data. So far so good. We got a great deal, reception is wonderful, customer service is great. We made the right decision going with FIDO!


Anyway, after buying the sim cards, we went on our rounds, dropping by other family's homes, bringing over our pasalubongs. We bought Eng Bee Tin hopias and tikoy along with other knick-knacks. Every stop entailed some chitchat and a lot of eating! Haha.

By the time we went on our way home, Bea was so tired she fell asleep in the car! Too much excitement for one day I guess. =)



Image from calforex.com and fido.com

9.30.2014

Western Union, Convenient Way To Send Money



I never thought of myself as an OFW. I knew I couldn't bear to be away from my family for long periods of time. I admire friends who either are OFWs themselves or have family who are. Unlike them, I didn't expect monthly remittances so I was not really aware of Western Union and the services they offered. When I was still in the Philippines, I get my adsense income through Western Union, but other than that, I never tried receiving or sending money through them.

Now that we're in Edmonton, I wanted/needed to send some money back home. The amount is not much, so I wanted the most affordable way to send money to the Philippines. I decided to try Western Union. I just dropped by a nearby Money Mart branch. The lady in the branch was kind enough to help me set up an account with them. That way, the next time I want to send money, I'd just give them my mobile phone number and they'd have access to my account details instantly. Fees are pretty ok too.. If you're sending money less than $500 the fee is just 9.50 and the beneficiary will get the money within minutes! If you're sending $500 to $1,000 fees are only $10. I didn't ask the fees for higher amounts hehe...

I've been sending money safely to family back home. The experience has been a pretty convenient one. There are many Money Mart branches near our house, There are also other Western Union agents nearby, I just prefer Money Mart for the longer store hours they have. Highly recommended!

9.24.2014

First Day of Fall in Edmonton 2014


Yesterday, September 23, it was officially the first day of fall or autumn for the year 2014. It was extra special for me and my family since this is our first fall ever.  Coming from the Philippines,  a tropical country,  we never had fall or winter.  

We have actually noticed the leaves of trees slowly turning yellow for weeks now.  And then they started falling from the boughs.

I find it amazing,  how nature just knows it's thats time of the year already.  Everywhere I look there is yellow,  red and orange.  Lovely,  lovely colors..  A bit depressing though,  but still lovely. 

Cherishing these moments.  Grateful for the blessing of sharing this experience with my family.  :) 


9.20.2014

Travelling to Canada part 1

Last March, we finally got our visa to Canada. The first step we did (after jumping up and down for a couple of seconds) was to decide on a date and book tickets. We are not really big on travelling by plane so we don’t have travel agents. Good thing my cousin knew one and we contacted Ms. Mau of Global Link Travel and Tours ASAP. We asked for the best deal possible. She was very helpful, letting us know our options and answering our questions patiently.  We found out that it was cheaper to fly on a Thursday instead of Friday. So we booked that date. We intended to stay with another cousin in Delta, BC so I made sure to tell our agent about this. Otherwise, if we book our flight to Edmonton while we're already in BC, that would've been considered a domestic flight and we would've been limited to check in baggage each. We would've been charged with excess baggage for the other one. 

We were able to book tickets for the 3rd week of June. It cost us around 90,000++ for 3 persons.  Next concern, baggage. We were allowed 2 baggages weighing 23kg each per passenger. So that’s 6 luggage /boxes for our little party. We were also allowed 1 hand carry bag of not more than 7kg each. We had such a hard time trying to fit our whole lives in bags. We sold almost everything of value. We held a garage sale and posted our stuff online.



From our garage sale income, we bought a special bag for our photography gear. We got a Think-tank Photo Airport International for our Canon DSLRs. Thanks to Mr. Leo Castillo for the recommendation. We got it from the EchoPhoto in Manila and got a very good deal. The bag able to contain 3 camera bodies, several lenses and all our chargers and batteries. It went way past the 7kg hand carry limit but Cathay Pacific was very understanding. We couldn’t risk checking our camera bag in. We know how checked in bags are thrown around while being transported. 



We had our photo booth and other accessories shipped thru the International Express Mail Serviceof Phlpost. We just went to the Marikina Post Office beside the City Hall and sent the boxes through them. We received them here in Canada within 2 weeks, in good condition.



A few days before we left, we converted our pesos to Canadian dollar. We still had some money in HSBC Commonwealth Ave QC. Ms. Loudette was kind enough to assist us. You have to call ahead to make sure they have enough Canadian Dollars for your transaction, otherwise they’d have to ask you to come back in a few days.

I’m very grateful to our family and friends. They gave us despedidas/send offs we’d never forget. We met with family, good friends and old co-workers who became good friends.


The day before we left, we had lunch with my family and then visited the memorial park to say goodbye to my mom and to Berto’s dad.



Months before our departure date, we were too busy with so many things. We were so preoccupied. So many things to buy, to sell, to settle.  I had a countdown posted in our bedroom just to make it more real. Then all too suddenly, it was time to leave. Leave the place I’ve known all my life, the place where all my family and friends were. Suddenly it all became too real. We were leaving behind our old lives to start a new one in a new country.




To be continued… 

9.16.2014

Hello... Still Alive, Just In Case You're Wondering

Hello there from the cold country that is Canada! Wee! I just wanted to check in and say that yes, we are still walking this earth, although the other side of it! Last June, we packed 6 bags and crammed the rest to our "hand carry". From the Philippines, we flew to Hongkong then to Vancouver. Yep, the move that we've been planning for YEARS finally happened! We took loads of photos while in the airport and inside the plane itself however the files are trapped in different devices (cameras and phones) I haven't had the time to organize everything yet. Tsk tsk tsk!

I've been wanting to update this blog with our new adventures here but how can I do that without writing about our trip first? But then, I feel too pressured to finish that post. So I'm posting this first, just to break the ice, and to say that we're here! Berto, Kwala and Bea are now in Canada!




5.15.2014

Happy Fiesta To Us : San Isidro Labrador Feast Day

Today is May 15, the feast day of San Isidro Labrador for many places. Nangka, Marikina included. We don't really celebrate fiesta like others do, with lots of guests and food. We did eat something special earlier. Excellente Scrap Chinese Ham, yummy Kikiam and steamed veggies. Scrap Chinese Ham is actually meat scraped off the sides of the chinese ham to form its shape. It looks like shredded meat but it tastes really good! 1 kilo costs P840, we bought 1/2 kilo of yummy goodness!

Excellente Scrap Ham
A big roll of chinese-style kikiam is sold for P90. It doesn't taste like the usual kikiam we can buy from the street vendors. This one is more tasty.

Kikiam
Berto and I have been trying to cut back on our carbohydrates consumption. We try to stay away from rice and we munch on steamed veggies instead. We've gotten used to the taste, they are now staples on our table.
Steamed Broccoli and Carrots


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