Sunday, July 22, 2007

Welcome Back to the Philippines

Today we went to the park for a Couples for Christ fellowship. Weather reports said that it would be 38 C (feels like 44 - due to humidity maybe?). It sure did feel like the Philippines. The sun was out and, since we played a little badminton, I was sweating just like back home. The park seemed like a very nice place to walk around but I wasn't tempted to leave the shade. Weather reports also say that there are going to be more days like this coming up. So in case people wonder why I'm getting darker while I'm in North America, there you go.

On another note, here's a little pic of a view from our apartment

Yup, someone wants Flor.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm a driver!!!

I took my road test today. Before that though, I had a 1 hour practice session with my driving instructor (I also get to use the training car in the road test). It's a good thing we had that practice session since most of my mistakes come out at the beginning. It's better to be in driving mode by the time of the test rather than adjust while doing it. Finally, it was time for the test. I had a little trouble starting the car. I was never taught to do that. :) The examiner gave a short briefing and off we went. Basically, he just tells you where to go and hopefully you don't screw up somewhere. We went through the usual stop signs, intersections and left turns. The grand finale was the dreaded parallel parking. Here, you have to get in 1 go. It feels like cheating though since the I already had the necessary markings memorized. (ex. honda symbol on steering wheel should be on the lane divider) After parallel parking, we were done. The examiner instructed me to enter the parking lot and park anywhere. I was taught that you should pick a spot where there aren't any other cars to maneuver around to prevent last-minute screw-ups. And that was that. The examiner informed me that I had passed and advised on me on my mistakes. After that they updated my license and records and I was good to go. I was also happy that my driving instructor went straight for the driver's side. I was kinda sick of driving for this day. The next time I'm in the driver's seat, there'll be no more pressure.

That there was a huge relief. I had been worrying about this day ever since I knew my scheduled date. That's one big thorn off my side. Actually buying a car is now a real possibility.

Of course I recommend Ed Batalla as a driving instructor. Just don't be sensitive about being corrected a lot for all the bad driving habits acquired in the Philippines.

Ed Batalla Driving School:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Go back to your own country

A few days ago, we were waiting for a bus downtown. As is usual, someone approached us asking for change to ride the bus. I rarely have change with me thanks to Interac so I said my usual "Sorry, no change" and so did Mean. Usually, people just walk away and sometimes even say stuff like "Ok, have a nice day". But this guy stared at us for 5-10 seconds, then said something to the effect of "I just need to ask you something. Why is it that I don't believe you?", then while walking away said: "Go back to your own country". I've gotten used to people begging in the streets since we have a lot of that back in the Philippines. I'm annoyed at those who do it while drunk since you know where the money would go. I'm even amused at others who ask for exact amounts like, for example, 57 cents. But the worst are those who get angry when you don't give them anything. Do these people actually think they're entitled to other people's hard earned money? Maybe I would've given him change if I had some. I mean, for all we know, he had valid reasons for not having money for the bus. Unfortunately, it's a tough sell since a lot of people use riding the bus as a reason for begging. In any case, I'm glad he acted out since he sure doesn't deserve any help. I'd rather help someone get drunk.

Wow, my first rant in a while. Hope I don't have too many of those.


... we have internet. I'd like to thank the friendly MTS guy for setting us up. No thanks though to the folks who told us we would have our kit in 2-3 business days 10 days ago. Anyway, we have MTS internet now, and it seems fast enough.

Anyway, we moved on July 7 (Saturday, 07-07-07 - cool). I was really surprised that we were able to collect so much stuff in 6 months. I think we had 9 big boxes and a bunch of smaller boxes and bags. Then I had to disassemble the computer table. It's a good thing we brought the couch and dining table straight to the apartment.

Mean had to go ahead to the apartment since the bed was being delivered in the morning. I carried as many boxes as I could upstairs but was soon pretty spent. *insert have to go to gym comment here* Thankfully, Tito Bilog soon arrived, and lifted a lot of the boxes like nothing. Later on, Mean's friends ("kinakapatid" to be more specific), Rupert and JR arrived to help. Thankfully the mini-van and SUV was enough for everything, so we needed just 1 trip. After another slightly less tiring bout of carrying boxes, everything was finally in the apartment. Tito Bilog, Rupert and JR felt like assembling the dining table, chairs and bathroom shelf. I just helped out. I might have even slowed them down.

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It's been several days since we moved, so we've added some stuff here and there.
New Apartment Stuff

We've also shampooed the carpet. Unfortunately(or not), no pictures of that. There's still a lot of stuff to buy. We don't have tools yet, so our window in the living room has no curtains. We also haven't attached the legs of our sofa. I have to embrace the DIY culture.

One good thing about living downtown is that we're pretty much in the center of Winnipeg. Most buses pass through Portage and Graham so we can easily go anywhere. A car is no longer so necessary (but I feel it is when we go grocery shopping). We'll get one before winter though.

It's nice to be on our own. But I'm still grateful to everyone, especially Mean's relatives, who made our transition here in Winnipeg easy in comparison to others. I know I didn't really get to know them too well, but I hope one day, we can repay them for everything.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Not So Bare Apartment

Yesterday we picked up a sofa and dining table we bought the other day. Our friends from CFC graciously helped us out since we didn't have a van or pickup (the delivery fee was high). First we picked up the sofa from United Furniture Warehouse. With my limited knowledge on furniture shopping, it seems they have relatively low prices. We had some problems getting the table from JYSK. To make a long story short, we got the table from one branch, and the chairs at another.

Bringing the sofa to the unit was a bit of a problem. I now wonder how people get anything big at all into their homes. Doors seem pretty small in Winnipeg. Anyway, eventually our apartment isn't so empty anymore.

Not So Bare Apartment
Seeing the place for the first time, I'm pretty happy with it. It has everything a young (walang tututol) couple needs. Of course, the price/rent is also a big selling point too. Anyway, tomorrow's moving day so I probably have to get off the PC. I'll probably won't have net access for a bit too since we haven't taken care of getting a net subscription yet. And I'll probably be dead tired.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Canada Day - The Forks

After Lower Fort Garry, we headed to Mike & Elaine's place to rest since the fireworks show was at 11pm. It also started to rain hard (poor folks at the Forks). At around 8:30 we headed out. There was a lot of people and quite a bit going on. There were music shows, magic shows. Rogers booths scattered about with varied promos. There was a bigger stage with bands playing. Stores and restaurants were very busy as well.

But what most of the people were waiting for were the fireworks. We picked a spot around 30 minutes before 11. I was pretty tired at this point and the crowd was growing as the show got closer. Finally it started.

Not bad at all. Ending could have been better though. In other fireworks shows I've seen, they unleash a barrage at the end. This one just stopped.

You may notice the pictures with all the Canadian flags and Maple leafs. I'm feeling a little guilty since I never really did stuff like that in the Philippines. I guess I was always tired back then and didn't really like big crowds and hated difficult parking. Then there's the traffic of course. Well at least I wouldn't cheer as hard for Canadian boxers when watching fights on TV. That's the new immigrant's situation I guess.

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Canada Day - Lower Fort Garry

Yesterday was Canada Day. For this day, we joined Elaine & Mike again and Eugene (who coincidentally, I met at Success Skills) and went for a picnic and tour at Lower Fort Garry. This would be my first time out of Winnipeg (I think we were outside Winnipeg during the Great West Life boat ride, but I didn't actually step on non-Winnipeg land :) ).

When we got there, we set up for the picnic. There actually is an entrance fee but it was waived for today. There was a square dance group/club there providing entertainment for Picnickers.

Lower Fort Garry is the oldest stone fur trading post still intact in North America. Attractions here include preserved 19th century buildings, costumed "tour guides" reenacting life back then. The guides mostly stay in character and wait in their own buildings/areas telling the guests things about the building and the people who occupied it.

It as a nice place. It gives you an idea of the way of life back then. The tour guides might have been better able to tell their stories if there weren't that much people there. They seemed to have a bit of a hard time coping with the higher than usual visitor volume. We'll consider coming back in the near future.

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Parks Canada - Lower Fort Garry
Wikipedia- Lower Fort Garry