Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Gift From France!

I must admit this does not happen too often in my Saudi life let alone in my wildest dream -- receive a gift from the "city of lights". Even when I was a kid, my joy comes from the smallest of thing, from trivial surprises to unwrapping Christmas gifts even wrapped in banana leaves, mind you, as long as  there is an element of surprise in it, my level of excitement can compare to that of a lonely pug that is suddenly confronted by the face of its master who has just returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Yes, that is me being so shallow. And who will not when a dear friend, a facebook friend for that matter, goes out of her way to beat such cumbrous process to get her gift delivered to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia?

Before I lose half of my dignity (being in the same breath of a pug), yesterday certainly was not my most mundane day as I  received a gift from my French friend in Bordeaux via fedex . It did arrive finally without hassle after so much praying it did not contain something that is frowned upon in Saudi Arabia -- though I was assured by my friend 'Shiny' that I wouldn't be incarcerated for it :) Truth be told, the box got traumatized courtesy of an intrusive laceration and obviously a lot of frisking inside that I only hoped not one of the thousand parts had fallen out - otherwise I wouldn't be able to solve the puzzle. Oops, did I give a clue just yet? 

My curiosity got the better of me so I kept bugging her and instead she asked me to watch the French film 'Amelie' and probably I'll get a clue from it, so I took time to watch it. It's a really beautiful story of a girl named Amelie Poulain and the story revolves around the virtue of giving. Hmm, after two hours of controlled blinking still I am clueless :)

Viola, the gift is now in my hand! I wouldn't open it just yet to prolong the excitement. After I got home, prepared and had lunch, I decided to give it a ceremonial cutting worthy of its long haul flight. I had my flatmate video record the entire saga :) Lo and behold, it's a jigsaw puzzle that would probably be completed in half a decade! It's a picture of the 'Starry Night' by Vincent Van Gogh, my favorite painting of all. It happens to be her all-time favorite painting as well.  I remember we always talked about Van Gogh in our facebook chats. And that is where this gift had its origin. Thank you Shiny, you don't know how much I appreciate this gift. God bless you for that! Now, my dilemma starts when my excitement ends -- forgoing long facebooking in favor of getting the puzzle completed in less than five years haha!

By the way, this was not the first time that Shiny surprised me. In May 2011 during my birthday, Shiny, Moona (my other friend from Spain) and their friend with the guitar,  greeted me happy birthday in a song. They sang 'Happy Birthday' in Filipino, 'Maligayang Bati' (love their accent!). You can see and read about it from my blog entry called 'Thank You'. That blog entry is the most popular to date of all my posts. 

Thank You Shiny. 
God bless you (and Moona too)!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Cats' New Ramp & Perch

I've always wanted to do away with wooden planks and broken furnitures that litter in the street for good use. This is a common sight in Jeddah streets and choosing to ignore them is not just my instinct - or I could nudge some brains into functioning.  My lack of enterprising skills surely would not qualify me to even start some brainstorming if not for a necessity.

My apartment for over the past 6 years has been turned into a rescue center for countless feline beauties that initially found their homes in the streets or under dilapidated cars. In fact, I've lost count as to how many of them have already availed of my humble facility. Some others already died of natural causes while the surviving ones continue to enjoy their royal lifestyles - and have gotten used to seeing strange smells and faces when we decided to take in new members once in a while.

Fast forward: I've just finished constructing  a ramp and perches for them using woods I picked up from the trash bin across our street and an unwanted entertainment center I found outside our apartment complemented by old tires that have got no room in our small apartment for added variety. I do not have any background in carpentry, but I do know how to hammer and saw, so I just bought the right tools to use, and voila!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

#PHthankyou Campaign

The (DOT) Department of Tourism of The Philippines has just launched #PHthankyou campaign.

Three months after Typhoon Haiyan, 
 a whole nation wants to show its gratitude to the whole world. 
This is the Philippines. 

And this is our way of saying thank you to everyone 
who is helping us rebuild after the storm. 
#PHthankyou ~ DOT