Finding Our New Home in Sydney

Finally, I had the opportunity to write something personal since we have moved here in Sydney, or more appropriately, New South Wales. I must say that I have slowly adjusted to this new life we have here. I am finally able to manage my time, learn the household chores (which I'd like to write about too, soon) and master the art of being a stay at home mom to Leon. There are a lot of new things I'd like to share, hence the birth of my facebook page, The Mommy Roves to dish out all the new things happening.


Anyways, among the new things I'd like to share, let me start with our house hunting story. I have already posted a video about it a couple of weeks back on The Mommy Roves but there are still a lot of things I'd like to write about - the hunt, the emotions, the confusion, the decision making in finding and getting our house.
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We were fortunate to have a couple of good friends, Mr and Mrs Williams to be exact who helped us on our first few weeks here in Sydney. They welcomed us in their house while we looked for our own. It was not easy finding a place to live here in Sydney and having a family who welcomed us and let us stay in their house for free was a big help. More than that, they also helped us in house inspections, furniture and appliance purchases, groceries, among many others. We basically owe them our life here in Australia. (They were also the ones who influenced us to move here.)
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So back to our house hinting story. Two things - Expensive and difficult. It may be true that the you may earn a bit higher here in Australia but the cost of living is extremely high. So let me share with you some of the learning we gained as we found our new home.
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BUDGET 
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For start-ups like us, renting our leasing is the best option. Mind you, rentals here in NSW could really hurt the pocket. Prior to moving here, Paolo and I have been lurking on www.domain.com.au and realestate.com.au to scout on the possible locations we have moved in. From those websites, we already gauged the rental amount of a property in a given suburb. As expected, properties near Sydney, the Central Business District are way expensive. As you go far from the city, rent becomes cheaper. A 2-Bedroom apartment in the city ranges from 800-1000 AUD per week, while a 1-bedroom ranges from 600-800 AUD per week. Moreover, the newer the apartment, the more expensive the rent is. In suburbs 30-40 minutes from the CBD (like in our suburb, Parramatta) a 1-bedroom apartment can range to 300-450 per week, depending on how old or new the building is. A 2-bedroom apartment ranges from 420-600 per week. 

HOUSE TYPE
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From a studio apartment, to a furnished 2BR apartment, a townhouse or a huge house, you can basically rent any of those here in NSW. Initially, Paolo and I were considering to rent a house for 450AUD/week in a Suburb an hour away from the city (via train). However, we came to realize that we might not be ready to maintain a big house, now that we are still adjusting to this new life. Having to experience to live in our friend's house in Seven Hills, made us realize the challenge of living in a huge house. It was hard for me to look after Leon while I do chores due to the house's huge size. We also got intimidated on the fact that we have to mow the lawn, clean the roof and all other responsibilities we feel we're not ready for - yet. Hence, we came to our decision to just look for an apartment.

PROXIMITY TO THE CITY / ACCESSIBILITY
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With our limited budget, Paolo and I decided to settle for a budget of 350-450 AUD weekly rent. Hence, we can only choose apartments on suburbs a bit far from Sydney. The suburbs that topped our choices were Parramatta, Macquarie Park and West Ryde -- where the average rent was within our budget. More than the budget, those suburbs have a direct train line to the city, which usually takes 40-50 minutes. The good thing here in NSW is that they have a very efficient transportartion system that when youo live close to a train tation and a bus stop, you are assured that you can get to work on time. More than the buses and trains, it was also an important consideration for us if there are nearby supermarkets, malls, schools or parks that are accessible, especially that we have a son that stays at home. 

APARTMENT FACILITIES
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What I find amazing on properties here in NSW is the fact that most of them have a built in dishwasher, dryer, stovetop, oven and aircon. The more facilities a unit has, the more expensive the cost of rent is. Likewise, the newer the apartment, the more facilities it has. The older, the lesser but more affordable.  When Paolo and I were doing our inspection (which was really quick and on time), we have noticed that the 2-BR units within our budget were mostly old. They have no lifts (elevators), no air-conditioning and even no dishwasher. However, when we looked on 1-BR units, we started seeing units that have facilities that were kid friendly, like a lift, for example.
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FINDING THE RIGHT ONE
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Inspecting units was really hard. We are grateful that our friend, Pen helped us in each step of the way. I remember Paolo and I getting really depressed after inspecting multiple units in a different suburbs. Because we have a very limited budget, we saw old (and smelly) 2-BR apartment units without elevators. Fortunately for me, Paolo wanted to provide us a fine looking house, hence he looked for better options.
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Fortunately, we are referred by a friend directly to an owner of a 1-BR apartment in Parramatta. The apartment building was less than a year old and looked really new. It has a dishwasher, dryer, oven, stove, aircon, a balcony and most importantly, a lift (yey!). It was a very spacious, open plan one-bedroom unit perfect for a starting family like us. The bus stopa and the train station is just a minute walk away, a playground is just around the corner, and the supermarket and restaurants is a 5-minute walk from the apartment. We were also blessed cause we were talking direct to our landlords -- no agents, no additional requirements before getting approved to rent. In NSW, most of the real estate agents require lessors to provide with a lot of financial documents to prove capacity to rent. Hence, a payslip, a bank statement, and certificate of employment are just some of the documents required.
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Now, we're just happy and relaxed that we have finally secured our home here in NSW. We live a bit far from CBD but I don't mind at all. Currentlu, we are very pleased to stay in a house that is in a peaceful area. Leon and I enjoy going to the playground next block, or even walk to the nearby woolies to buy our apple juice. We also don't mind walking to the bus stop, riding for 8minutes to the big mall or the library. My husband enjoys his 50-minute, stress free travel to the city. 

There are still a lot of stories to share but let me end it for now. I hope my entry was helpful, especially for those who plan to migrate here in Australia. Til my next post1
xx,
THE MOMMY ROVES

My Experience at Polarity Physiotherapy Center

It has been a month since my family and I moved here in Australia and I have a lot of stories to share. I honestly do not know where to begin but let me work on some things that I have failed to write up moments before our flight.
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Just posting this cute photo of Paolo and my son the moment we landed in Sydney.

A month ago, I had the opportunity to try the one of the manual physiotherapy sessions at POLARITY PHYSIOTHERAPY CENTER located Examiner, West Triangle, Quezon City. Initially, I thought, is Polarity a rehabilitation center? Is it a gym? Is it a spa? I also had those questions in mind when I was setting my appointment to the center.
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Turns out, Polarity is more than just a spa or a gym. Polarity is an advanced manual physiotherapy and myosfacial release center. They specialize in assessing, treating and prescribing programs to help clients prevent or recover from injuries. Or if you are a regular person like me, they can alleviate a muscle pain that you constantly complain or even correct your posture. It was a whole new experience that opened my eyes to a whole new level of wellness.
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First things first. Polarity is an impressive facility. It has a feel that relaxing feel of a spa with a twist of a fitness center. While I was on my way to Polarity, I was expecting to see a usual rehabilitation center with all those equipments, bars and beds. However, Polarity shifted the feel and made rehabilitation therapy more welcoming and soothing. Their rooms are decorated in a way that would make you feel relaxed and comforted. They have VIP rooms, couple rooms and standard rooms fit for any person. It almost felt like a spa.
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However, Polarity does not just end on giving therapy sessions, they also give specialized training programs, body conditioning based on your health goals or fitness level. They have equipment and facilities suitable to anyone.
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So when I finally had the chance to try our their service, I was totally impressed. First, I was interviewed and screened by my assigned therapist, Nigel to asses what part of my body needs the therapy. I was given a tour and an orientatioin of what Polarity is all about. Afterwards, I had a 45-minute session where Nigel released the tensions in my back muscle. I must admit, the release was really painful but it was a good kind of painful. Right after the release, you will feel all the tensions and pain loosing up. In Filipino, natanggal ang lamig. I loved the whole process for I felt that my back pain was definitely addressed. I was even convinicng my husband to try it cause he had been complaining shoulder pain for the longest time. However, due to the shortage of time, he was not able to try their services.
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I am beyond grateful to Patrick, the marketing officer and Nigel, my licensed therapist for the experience. I definitely reccommend this to all my friends who are needing that treatment for that back or shoulder pain that don't seem to go away. Or even to those who are in dire need of rehab treatment. Polarity offers not just massages or therapies, but they have expert, licensed physical therapists that will address to your bodies' needs.

In case you want to know more, here's an overview of what Polarity has to offer:

Polarity is an advanced manual physiotherapy and myosfacial release center located in #47 Examiner St. Quezon City. It is a premiere Pre-Habilitation Center that supplements, Functional training & Strength and Conditioning to help you achieve your goals. We cater to all clients who need relief from pain, prevention or recovery from injury and improvement of physical condition or beginning a new and healthy lifestyle.

They offer: Manual Physiotherapy where their Physiotherapist practices purely Manual Techniques such as: - Myofascial Release, Active Release Techniques, Instrumenet Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, Joint Mobilization, Spinal Alignment and other manual techniques available.

For AR and Jill

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I met Jill through our sorority, The UP Sigma Alpha Nu Sorority Manila, an organization whose main goal is to uplift and empower  women. Indeed, Jill has done that not just for myself, not just for the members of the sorority nor for her friends but most importantly, for herself. Amidst her frame (her very cute frame), Jill has been the rock, the shoulder to cry on, to all her friends.I don't know how she does it, but Jill has this contagious energy, an energy that is full of life, and full of optimism. She will never stop believing in you, pushing you until you emerge better and stronger.
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Looking back on our college days, Jill has been my person, my friend, my sister who has been there for me. We were each others backbone. I was Vice Lady Chancellor (for Internals) when she was Lady Chancellor, a term she served with righteousness and grace. Her leadership was unwavering. Her spirit is filled with so much passion that she was able to lead and empower an organization while empowering herself. Along with her, all through the activities we had to implement, as she helped each sorority sisters get through their personal struggles, as she tried to be excellent with her acads, her orgs, her soro and personal life, there was a man who was with her in every step of the way. And that is AR.
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Even up to this day, Jill still remains to be one of my pillar of strength -- a thing she has been doing for me ever since we've met. She is one of those who I can randomly call in the middle of the night and cry whenever I have problems, one of those who I can consult on life changing decision, and basically keep me in place whenever I am all over. Jill's energy is full of love and acceptance. Honestly, she is one of the most genuine persons I know. She would love you, and help you -- in your highs and in your lows, without questions, without judgement. That is why, Jill, I know for a fact that with this heart of yours, that heart that knows no judgement, could love a husband so unconditionally, and could care for a family selflessly and whole heartedly.
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I have seen how your relationship with AR grew, how you managed to put God in the center of your love. I saw how your faith managed to keep the both of you strong despite of everything. AR and Jill, despite all the challenges that happened on the lead up to your wedding day, I am very happy to see that your bond has emerged stronger than ever.
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AR, i know you know how blessed you are to have Jill as your wife. And Jill is very blessed to have you too. Ar, please value your wife. Love her more than anything else in the world and please strive to make her happy. The wife is the light that will shine on the dark, the rock that will serve as the foundation of the house. As a married woman myself, I can say that the key to a happy life is a happy wife. And there is no joke about that, right, ladies? Be strong for her, guide her, trust her, love her, respect her and protect her. But more than Jill, please love her family more, the Cube-Avenas, for they will also, draw their strength from you. AR and Jill, please never stop to be Mr. And Mrs. Meraki. As you do things together, do it with soul, with creativity, with love. As you put yourselves into your work, into your future family, you are making your little Armans and Jillians, your little but better version of yourselves. I am beyond excited to see you build your dreams together and achieve bigger and greater things together. 

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Understanding, communication, respect, and trust. There are numerous advises to make your marriage work but only the two of you can only define, how to make yours work. Marriage will always be a work in progress and there will be times that things will be tough and messy. And when things become hard (which we hope not), you can always turn to The One who brought you two together -- and that is the Lord. May God Bless your marriage.


Photos by Paolo Peralta

10 Things I Learned From 2016

It has been five days since 2017 came and honestly, I still can't move on from the things that transpired the past year. 2016 was probably one of my toughest year that it gave me experiences that tested me as a person. 2016 was an emotional year -- it brought me to beautiful places, it showed me other opportunities but at the same time, it broke my heart, hurt my ego and heightened my anxiety. Those experiences changed me -- it changed my mindset, my attitude, my life in ways I never imagined. Hence, I am pouring my heart out and writing this blog post to share with you things that the year 2016 has taught me.
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1. SOME GOOD THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Especially when you worked hard for it
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I had an amazing start of the year when I was included among the employees who flew to Switzerland and Italy for our company's incentive trip. It was my first time to fly to Europe and I will forever be grateful to Medichem - the CNS division of Unilab, for giving me an opportunity visit those two places for free. For someone who has been working in sales all her life, out of the country trips are a good motivator to work hard(er). Since then, I have always been inspired to deliver better results 

2. NEVER GIVE UP. 
No matter how many times you fall
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2016 may have started with a memorable European incentive tour but it honestly did not start off as easy as it seemed. The trip to Milan and Zurich was good distraction from the loneliness I was feeling for being rejected (for the 3rd time) for a promotion I have been applying for at work. Yes you read it right, I was rejected not once, not twice but thrice. The experience was highly demotivating. I remember days and nights of crying, of having troubled insecurities and self-doubt. My pride and ego were deeply hurt. Fortnuately, during those times, I was surrounded with good friends, colleagues - my manager, my workmates and of course my husband who stood by my side and told me to never give up. It was a long, hard and tiring process but slowly I was able to move on and accept those rejections. I even tried to apply again to another position at the middle part of the year and yes, again, for the fourth time, unfortunately, I did not get the position. 

3. ACCEPTANCE
is the first step to become HAPPY
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It took me several months to accept and move on from my first major heartbreak at work. I have been with the company for eight years and the past couple of years pushed me to aim for a higher position at work. Truthfully, it was very painful to experience a number of rejections despite all the hardwork, dedication and loyalty I have given to the company. Truthfully, that's life and life is harsh. I have no choice but to accept it. It was a very difficult process but I realized that in order for me to move on, the first thing I need to do was to accept the truth. In accepting my defeat, I was able to win back my self respect. I was able to see all my weaknesses and strengths. I was able to re-evaluate myself. One step at a time, I was beginning to regain my self worth.

4. TIME EFFICIENCY IS KEY
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Keeping a full time job while trying to be a hands on mom and a wife is not a piece of cake. Everyday, I am overwhelmed with the tons of things I need to accomplish both for work, for family and even for personal needs. I must say that in 2016, I sort of mastered the art of time efficiency or in other words, I learned to make the most out of every minute of time. Every hour I am away from my family, I make sure that I am being productive at work. Every time there's a free hour at work, I try to read, to blog or do something else for my personal pleasure. Most especially, when I am with my family, I make sure that I devote myself to them. 

5. LOVE IS TIME
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There is no other way to best express your love for your family than giving them the gift of time. There are times that my husband and I would feel guilty for staying out of the house so late, but we make sure that when we are at home, we give Leon our 100% attention. Also, with the recent events that happened to my side of the family, with my Nanay and Tatay being hospitalized during the holiday season, I made sure that both my parents felt my presence physically (and even financially).

6. MARRIAGE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
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Three years married, nine years together. Paolo and I have been inseprable since I was 17. You all know the story of how I managed to marry my dream guy -- the guwapong chinitong may kotse then lived happily ever after. But no. 2016 was also a challenge year for us -- we had misunderstandings, fights - common to any marriage. There were moments when we hated each other, yet there were times when we feel so in love. Indeed, marriage is a work in progress. Despite the number of years we have shared together, we still encounter difficulties, surprise each other with habits and attitudes we never knew existed. Those things though, are the things we learn and discover about each other, things that we accept and things that we love about each other.  

7. MAKE TIME FOR THE THINGS YOU LOVE
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2016 was also the year when I decided to do more things for myself. Last year, I went back to blogging and revived my blog. I even re-branded the then fashion blog The Bargain Doll to a more personal blog named Hello Rovie Dear! I even got into fitness again and started spending more time at the gym. I may not devote the same time and energy into blogging and working out like I used to three to four years ago, I am still pleased that last year, I started to take care and love myself more through my hobbies.

8. PRAY
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"Prayer is the most powerful weapon against trials, The most effective medicine against sickness and The most valuable gift to someone you love."
The last two weeks of 2016 have been one of our toughest months. My nanay and tatay were both admitted to the hospital that made our family skip our usual Christmas celebration. During those moments, I prayed harder - harder than I ever did i my entire life. It was also one of my most exhausting two weeks for I was also hands on in taking care of both of them. Gratefully, The Lord showed me how powerful my prayer - our prayers were that He put Nanay and Tatay out of danger just before the year ended. It was the moment I realized how much The Lord loves me and our whole family. He granted my wish to extend the lives of the people who stood as my parents, of the people who have been making me strong, whole and intact. The Lord knew that my parents, my grandparents are the ones who are keeping me inspired and motivated. It was in 2016 I further realized that when all else fails, there is a big God who listens and takes care.

9. DREAM BIG
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When Paolo, Leon and I went to Australia last April, we fell so in love with the place so much that did not want to go home. Thus, when we went back to Manila, all Paolo and I did was to dream to go back to Australia, specifically to Sydney and live there. Paolo and I were so impressed with Sydney's cleanliness, its safety, its transporation system, its VERY child friendly facilities and parks. All we did was dream to raise Leon in that kind of environment -- and luckily, that dream became a reality.

Paolo was given an opportunity to be assigned in their head office in Sydney. We could not believe how lucky we are to be given that once-in-a -lifetime opportunity. Both of us are looking forward into building our lives, and Leon's future in Sydney. Up until this point, I feel like I am dreaming and I cannot grasp the reality that next month, my family and I will start our lives in a different place.

10. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

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All those months of heartbreak, all those years worth of career rejections, those challenges that come the past year all happened for a reason. I now realized why those doors I want to enter never opened. It was because the Lord was giving me a bigger door - a larger door that can occupy me and the huge dreams I have for my whole family. As I have been telling Nanay the past days to never get lonely when we leave, cause we are given this unique opportunity to start anew, to earn more and to provide not just for Leon but for the extended members of our family. Paolo and I were being honed to be strong, to be tough and at the same time be caring and loving to our family. That is how The Lord works. Sometimes He wont give you the things that you want because He will give you better and bigger things - things that would add value to you and to the people around you.


Hence, 2016 was definitely my most colorful year, yet. It was a year of discoveries and travels, a year filled of love and family time. It was also a year where I experienced countless rejections, failures, frustrations and self-doubt. Then, just when the insecurities were piling up, the blessings unfolded itself one by one. I was slowly learning that indeed, the Lord has been preparing me for His plan - a plan bigger than mine.

2016 was the year that made me believe that indeed, I have a big God - bigger than I ever imagined.

Til my next post!
Xx,
Rovie Dear