Updated: Oct 24
Hey, you! 😊
Last Saturday (Oct. 21, 2023), we celebrated our 12th and 11th anniversary since we moved to France. Twelve years for me and eleven years for my husband and our daughter. We didn't mean for it to happen, but we arrived in France on the same date, just one year apart. That year was the worst year of my life, but it has also helped me tremendously. ❤️
Anyways, at the time, I had another blog and I remember writing my thoughts about it then. I thought I would take this week to share some of those here. No matter how tough it might have been, I never want to forget those memories. And along the way, there were sweet surprises.
Taken from: www.dinneratsixthirty.com
❇️ October 2, 2011 - Ssshhh I've got a secret to tell you
Hi Everyone! 😊
There's something I've been secretly keeping from you for a couple of months now. Something I am finally ready to share with you. Here it goes.
I am leaving my beautiful home of Cebu, Philippines. Sometime this month, I will be traveling and will be moving to France.
This has been a dream/plan my husband and I have had for a while now. But obstacles have been in the way and prevented us to push through our plans. Finally, we are at a place where we can finally move on forward. And I am finally ready to take this big step for change. It is very hard for me because we have decided that I would go first. My husband, daughter, and dad will stay here, while I find a place to stay and work in France and save enough money. It is a big risk and I hope I will be able to succeed for the sake of my family. It has caused me huge pressure, but I feel like I can finally take it. Everything I do, I do it for my family. I do it for my daughter. Who knows what the future will hold for us, maybe I will be back in a couple of months. But I can't help but remember how happy my childhood was when I was in France. I know this is a different situation, but again who knows? I want her to be exposed to her French roots as I was too. It has left me a big imprint and I wish to do that for her. Even if it's just a little while.
I don't have my airplane ticket yet, but I hope to make up my mind soon. All I know is I'm leaving this month.
So the coming days will be very hard for me, but I imagine it will be even harder when I will be miles away from my comfort and loved ones. But I know what I gotta have to do. I only pray it will take less time than what I estimated.
❇️ October 4, 2011 - Chicken Adobo with Eggs
The pressure is on! I finally made the events page for the Garage Sale we're having in Facebook and I've already been getting personal and text messages. It's not as much as I'd hoped for but I remain positive. But most of all, I just really want to bond with my family and friends. As I'm typing this right here, MR is in the process of gathering everything we're gonna sell and take photos so I can post them online as a preview/teaser. Tomorrow we will start setting up the tables in the yard! aahhhhhhh 2 more days to go! Can you spell E-X-C-I-T-E-D?!
I started thinking that if I'm gonna leave soon for France, maybe I should start cooking more Filipino dishes at home. Dishes I would really miss when I am out of here. I started making my list and amongst these dishes was the Adobo.
Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines and there are a lot of variations. I personally like it with chicken rather than pork. I decided to add boiled egg to stretch it more, perhaps to have some for lunch the next day.
Like I said there are many variations of the Adobo. I've experimented quite a lot until I found the recipe I liked best to go with chicken. I find that the ratio differs with the type of protein used. I also usually don't fry the chicken after it has cooked in the marinate, but I did with this. In fairness, it does give a plus factor but I usually can't be bothered to do the extra step.
❇️ October 5, 2011 - Garage Sale - Day 1
Today marks the FIRST DAY of our garage sale. We have a lot of used and new things for sale. Stuff you might be interested in. 😊
So if you're in Cebu and want to come over to check out our stuff, leave me a message here. Happy shopping, everyone! 😊
❇️ October 7, 2011 - Garage Sale - Day 2 & 3
The garage sale has been doing quite good. I had no idea that so many people would find our stuff that interesting. Even things I put up for the sake of putting up got picked up right away. I've also invited two of my friends to sell their stuff too and it's been fun bonding with them. 😊
We set up our garage sale right outside our front door. Initially, we didn't think we'd be selling that many things, but I guess out of the boxes it really was a lot! We've used several tables of ours and even furniture that we're selling to display the items.
MR did the arrangement and organizing of the things. He tried to make a separate area for separate themes.
So most of our items have been sold already, but the weird thing is there seems to be as many items on displayed. I finally realized that every time we sold an item, we brought out a new one for sale. LOL. Go, go, go! 😊
❇️ October 9, 2011 - Yellow Cab Pizza, BTC Cebu
When LA and her fiance, WI, offered to buy us pizza for dinner tonight, we all agreed it was a good idea. LOL. I would NEVER pass on free food. hehehe. 😊 Although I am in BTC on a weekly basis, we rarely ever eat at Yellow Cab Pizza so it was a nice change. And it was a nice way to end the day which included cooking, eating, gossiping, making sales at the garage sale, bringing SM to school, waiting for her, having plain fun, and playing cards with friends. It honestly doesn't get much better than that for me. 😊
LA and WI ordered the 18 inches New York's Finest Pizza. One of the finest indeed. It's just a shame that it wasn't the 10th of October today as we would have had a free 10 inches pizza with our 18 inches pizza order as part of their anniversary promo. LA and WI also got an order of Chicken Alfredo Pasta, which is one of my favorite pasta. Yumyum! Thanks for dinner guys! 😊
❇️ October 10, 2011 - I'm leaving soon ....
It's final. I bought my plane ticket. I am leaving on the 20th of this month. A lot of people have objected on this move, especially since I am going alone first, but I can do it. I CAN DO IT!!!
So the countdown beings.....10 days!!!
By the way, I will try my best to continue to write here on a regular basis, so please drop by from time to time. Thanks and wish me luck! 😊
❇️ October 11, 2011 - Yellow Cab's Early Breads - Ciabatta: Ham, Salami, Cheese, and Scrambled Egg @ BTC, Cebu
Because I'm leaving in a couple of days, I am taking great pleasure bringing and picking up SM to school every day. Since she started school, it's always been me, my husband, or the both of us who brought her to school. But these days, there's a deeper feeling. I don't know how it's going to feel breaking my routine of bringing and picking her from school, but I don't want to think about that. For now, I just want to think about the lunch we had today.
The first part of lunch was trying out one of Yellow Cab's Early Breads, which is available all day long. There are several interesting choices.
SM and I chose the Ciabatta: Ham, Salami, Cheese, and Scrambled Egg. Before paying I was told that they run out of Salami and if it was okay to have it replaced with ham. That's no problem, I told her. 😊
❇️ October 18, 2011 - Surprise Dinner @ Kaona Grill, Cebu
I thought I was having dinner with my friend KR tonight. She sent me a text message the other day asking me if we could meet up at Kaona Grill (she manages it) and have dinner together before I leave Cebu. So imagine my surprise when I walked in the restaurant looking for KR and saw my 2 close friends (RY and LA), their husband/fiance (DI and WI), my husband (MR), and the kids (SM and EA). I realized that this was a set-up for a surprise goodbye dinner care of my husband. 😊
Apparently, my husband MR has been talking to my friends behind my back and I had no idea what was going on! He asked help from KR - he was in charge of bringing the group together, she was in charge of the food. I felt so bad though because KR was sick today, but she still managed to put together this wonderful meal. I was so lucky because she picked some of my favorites - starting with this Pochero Soup!
One can easily go wrong with shrimps, especially grilled. Grill them too long and they become overcooked - mushy and hard to peel. These shrimps were perfect! We also had Pork Barbecue. Again, perfectly grilled. I asked for plain rice to go with my meal. But we were served platters of Pineapple Fried Rice and Chorizo Fried Rice and I had a spoonful of each. MR loved the Pineapple Fried Rice! The highlight of the meal was definitely the Crispy Kare-Kare, which is what Kaona Grill is known for and what people come back for time after time. I was told by KR that the recipe is a family secret and nobody in the staff knows what goes in this. MR doesn't particularly like Kare-Kare, but he loved this because the sauce was separate so he could control how much sauce he wanted. I loved this with a hint of their Bagoong. We also had Pancit, which was also really good.
We had much much more, unfortunately I seemed to have forgotten to take photos. In the meantime, I've asked my LA to send me her photos if she has any (she hasn't yet) because I really want to share with you the rest of the food we had - Adobong Kangkong, Sinuglaw.
As I said my goodbyes to my friends, I have to admit I had to fight back the tears. But I know no matter what we'll always be there for each other. Because I don't have a lot of family around, my friends mean a lot to me. ♥
❇️ October 19, 2011 - Oyster Bay @ Bridges Town Square, Mandaue Cebu
So tonight did not exactly go as planned. But that's okay - as long as MR and I are together, we are bound to have a good time. So the first part was a bust, but we went ahead with the second part and I was in for another surprise. A wonderfully delicious surprise to the eyes and stomach.
I instantly fell in love with this restaurant. Why didn't I know about this place earlier?, I thought to myself. Despite being located in Bridges Town Square in Mandaue, dining here made me feel like I was having dinner on the beach, like how we had dinner when we were in Boracay last August.
We took a look around and took our eats at a comfortable couch and low table to have dinner: Our view was of the lagoon they had with fish and sharks!
It was only when I went to wash my hands that I noticed they had several aquariums with live fish and seafood. Apparently, you can have live seafood and fish to have cooked and a lot of the seafood and fish wasn't available in the menu. I wished I knew this before I had ordered our food! I would have gotten the Angel Wings / Diwal clams! Darn! Those are rare to find in restaurants in Cebu.
The list of the live seafood and fish was long. I didn't see the Angel Wings, but the Saang I did so we got several boiled Saang pieces! We ordered a lot of seafood and started our meal with the Halaan Soup / Soup with Clams. The soup was so good, I felt like we started with a bang! Then the Steamed Oysters arrived next with spiced vinegar and calamansi. This was buy one take one, so we had 6 pieces each. I have to say that the Baked Scallops with Garlic and Cheese were the best. Whoever discovered that seafood and cheese goes great together is a genius! These particular scallops were plump and juicy! So so good! Before coming here, I looked at Oyster Bay's website and their menu. Amongst the dishes, I really wanted to try this one - Shrimps with a Duck Egg Gravy. The shrimps still had their heads and tails on, but the rest was peeled. I loved the flavor from the duck egg, but I thought that the sauce was grainy-like. This was our least favorite dish of the meal. The Crispy Laing was our only vegetable dish of the night and it was good. A lot better than the last Laing we had somewhere else. This was smooth and topped with Chicharon bits. I couldn't resist ordering four pieces of Saang (P40/each). I usually have this when we go boating or are at the beach. It's nice to know that it is also available here. I'm not sure if this is the only restaurant that has Saang and that's not at the beach. Correct me if I'm wrong. The Saangs were boiled perfectly and so delicious with a hint of their spiced vinegar.
We were done eating dinner at around 7:30PM - 8:00PM and it was time for the feeding of the sharks. I casually asked our server and he said they would do it asap. Little did I know, we would be given a bowl of fish for us to feed the sharks ourselves! Cool!
Oyster Bay is divided in different areas. The area outside is right beside the sharks and fish. This outdoor area has sand, which caught our attention immediately, then there's another outdoor area that's slightly covered with a trellis-type and has ceiling fans to cool the customers down, there is another area that's covered by a concrete ceiling, and then lastly, an airconditioned room. Oyster Bay is perfect for function types and parties because it can accommodate a lot of people and it's quite spacious! Not to forget that it has great food! 😊
❇️ October 20, 2011 - Ichiriki Chaya, Cebu
When Dad said that I could pick any restaurant I wanted for my last night in Cebu (as long as the place accepts American Express), all I could think of was "Ichiriki Chaya". A few months ago, my friends and I were supposed to eat dinner there but as we were going to sit down comfortably, I was called to go home because of a family emergency. My friends ate dinner and raved about it - particularly this one dish - and I've been wanting to go back and try it myself.
The wait was well worth it. I loved the ambiance of the place (simple and calm) and from what I've heard regularly frequented and loved by Japananese nationals. We were seated on the first floor because they have regular chairs. There is also a second floor, but the chairs are Japanese-style - the floor mats type of chairs. I could see a lot of people going to dine at the second floor.
I made reservations for 7:30PM, but we got there at around 7:00PM because the traffic wasn't bad. Our table was already prepared for us and had these complimentary eggplant appetizers waiting to be eaten.
I took charge of ordering for me, MR, and SM. Dad took care of himself. I got a plate of Edamame, still so warm. So good and creamy-like. This was MR's first time to try these and he loved them. It's no wonder many rave about this! Dad started his meal with a Kani Salad. We had the Uni Sashimi. This is the best Uni I've had in Cebu. I'm always iffy about ordering Uni Sashimi because I've had bad Uni at a Japanese restaurant in Cebu once, but from the looks of Ichiriki Chaya itself it looks like a reliable place to eat good sashimi at. We like to eat Uni straight from the sea too but it can be very salty. The Uni we had here was creamy and had a hint of natural sweetness. As you can see, this is very well-served too. I had the Unagi Ju, which was cooked eel on top of Japanese rice. Very good and not too many fish bones.
My meal came with a bowl of warm Miso Soup. We also got a Tempura Maki, which was made of crabstick, ebi tempura, cucumber, and fish roe. These were huge and hard to take in one piece - but good! MR had the Katsu Ju, which is a Pork Slice fried and on top of Japanese rice. It also came with a bowl of Miso Soup. Dad had the Chasyu Ramen. He shared some with SM. Now, this is the dish I came for specifically! This dish is Mixed Seafood with a Crab Roe Sauce cooked in a clam shell. It looks good, but tastes even better. It's not part of the menu so if you want to try it, don't forget to ask, the waitress will know. If you're not afraid of the calories and cholesterol from the crab roe, then I suggest you try this.
Unfortunately, the meal had to come to an end. While waiting for our bill, we were given a little cup of complimentary Orange Jelly. A little sour, a little sweet - perfect for me. Overall the meal cost a little over P2,000 for all that and I thought it was reasonable considering that that's usually the price we pay for at Japanese restaurants of lower quality.
I had a great last night in Cebu and am looking forward for what's next for me :)
It feels strange to read these words above. I will be forever thankful for the support of my friends and family. Friends that I still talk to (click here for the post) and family that has always had my back. Unfortunately, my dad has passed away since (click here for the post), but I was very much loved by him and that never leaves.
Twelve years ago isn't just a date, it's also an age. I was 25 years old then. True I was an adult but I was also vulnerable and still very much in the process of maturation. I can feel how excited I was to leave, but I never mentioned how scared I was too. At the time, I was really struggling to breathe and I was even fearing for my own life. Perhaps I'll talk about this more someday, but I never want to feel that way again. 😢
Moreover, my mother-in-law was living her final days and with my own family history, I was triggered. I couldn't see her before leaving, which is why I called to say goodbye to them and once I arrived in France. One might say I was acting selfishly, but I was physically incapable of saying goodbye to her knowing what the situation was. In my mind, I wanted to keep a memory of her healthy and strong. I didn't want to go through what I did with my mom. Call it being selfish, but I now see it as self-preservation.
Moving to France saved my life in more ways than one. ✨
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