just the THREE of us

For those concerned on how our flight went going back home, my boys were well-behaved (compared to the other kids on the flight-which was full of kids). People at the airport were not as helpful as I would’ve liked, but I didn’t need their help anyway, we were FINE. Would I do it again? Maybe when the boys are both in college. haha!

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not Adrian’s best picture – but it’s the only one I have where I was in it too

It’s been a week now that it’s just been the three of us here at home and I’m proud to say we’re all still in one piece.

Our first few days was just D-I-F-F-I-C-U-L-T for me. Aden’s 2 lower molar teeth chose the perfect time to come out in Arnie’s absence leaving me alone with an irritable baby that just wants mommy to carry him all day and a toddler that just wants to play with mommy too. I didn’t know how I was going to divide myself. I think there was one point wherein I was brushing Adrian’s teeth while I was lying in bed with Aden because I didn’t want to stand up and risk waking him up and start crying all over again.

But as of Sunday things are looking up, Aden’s been eating as normal and although he still prefers to stick to me and not play with Adrian he is slowly being his rambunctious self. As for Adrian, he has learned to cope with his needy brother and is being independent more and more. Like the superhero that he was on our trip he’s still my hero now (I am soooo proud!).

What keeps me sane is my OCD with schedules. I have a schedule on my head and follow it to the best of my abilities. Although with the boys, timings are always unpredictable, I’ve learned to accept the fact that my schedule are not always followed and besides I timed them 15 minutes in advance so if things go wrong I still have time to fix the problem. But I’ve somehow managed to at least get us out of the door by 7:30 AM to go to school and the boys are in bed by 7:00PM at the latest. I could not ask for more.

I guess I was so used to having Arnie around to help me out that the thought of him not being here scared me. That if he wouldn’t be here, I would fall apart. But I didn’t and I am a stronger and better parent from this experience.

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To keep my boys busy we decided to drop by Tita Carina’s house (uninvited) to meet her new babies Jessie and Daisie

Practicing to write to surprise daddy when he comes home (not so secret anymore) hehe

Practicing to write to surprise daddy when he comes home (not so secret anymore) hehe

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They grow up so fast…

 

“You never know how STRONG you are until being STRONG is the only choice you have.”

-favorite quote at the moment

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Adrian, my hero

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This trip has proven to me that my first baby is truly growing up. Never did I need him to stand up more than these past two weeks and he definitely did not disappoint. He would help me with my bags, open doors for me and even step up when Aden is acting up. He really truly is wise beyond his years. Never have I been truly proud and thankful.

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@Dubai Airport

Just today an elderly woman came up to us while we were having lunch and told me how well behave my children were. I was so proud! But I really can’t take all the credit Arnie’s genes must be kicking in! haha BTW, I love this foreign concept of complimenting strangers – it almost never happens in my culture.

I have a major challenge coming up after the weekend, we’d be traveling alone without Arnie and I’m  really dreading this but with Adrian showing so much signs of maturity, I’m sure we’d be fine. But just in case, say a little prayer for us too.

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@St. Pancras International


Romanticizing Dover

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At the Marina with a view of Dover Castle and the White Cliffs

Given the choice to pack up the family and move to England, I would definitely choose to move to Dover. It’s a small town of about 40,000 people, found at the South Eastern tip of the country and is only a ferry ride away from France. It’s home to the Dover castle, which is the largest castle in England and the White Cliffs of Dover which is a must see on any nature lover’s bucket list.

Growing up, I’ve always lived in Manila and for the past decade I’ve lived in Dubai, which is a fast paced city. Having the opportunity to stay here in Dover made me realize that maybe I can live in small town and be happy. When Arnie and I were a DINK couple (Double Income No Kids) the thought of living in a small town was unimaginable. We both like exploring new things and not being able to do that in a small town scared us. I guess we were mainly afraid we’d die of boredom. But since having the two boys and maybe some level of maturity, changed our whole perspective in life. Nowadays we are happy and content to visit a zoo or a play ground, anything to help us entertain the kids on a weekend were 5 stars on our list.

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Another reason why I’d choose to live in Dover is because of it’s sentimental meaning for me. On our last trip here, Adrian was less than one year old and we stayed here for 3 weeks during the summer. It was an unforgettable moment for me because finding myself in a new town woke up the explorer within me and having the baby only challenged me more. Adrian was my champion, he would sit on his stroller the whole time, never complaining wherever I took him. And boy oh boy did we explore. I would buy the unlimited ticket in the morning and just hop on any bus I find, explore where it would take me and just hop on another bus and another until it was time to come home. I was able to see so much during that summer that I thought to myself, if I could take a 10 month old baby all around Kent and explore new places on my own then maybe I can handle this parenting thing and whatever challenges it has for me. If you are confused about why I was doing this all by myself, it was because Arnie was here for work, we were just here for the ride.

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The view from our window

Coming back was nostalgic for me. I even thought it would never happen. Plus, it is even made more special because our hotel is right in front of the beach, which on a nice clear day you can see Calais, France from our window. Being here now with the two boys only makes it more memorable. Three days in and we’ve already spent a lot of time by the marina, been to the playground and even did the laundry at the local laundromat.

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There may be other towns better but for me Dover will always be a part of our family’s history and will always have a special place in my heart.


VFS.Global; Our gateway to the UK

Anyone wanting to go to the UK first has to get a VISA to enter. Wait, let me rephrase that, any Filipino citizen wanting to go to the UK first has to get a VISA to enter. Let’s just say it’s one of our “perks” (just to stay positive).

With our impromptu plans of visiting the queen we had to go through the process, let me educate you on how to do it. Here in Dubai there is VFS.Global which is the UK’s border agency. Their purpose is to collect applications of tourist, from countries that require their citizens a Visa to enter Great Britain, such as the Philippines. This process eliminates the part where applicants actually go to the British embassy/consulate and at the same time provides security for them too. I remember when we had to go to the US consulate here in Dubai, we had to go to 3-4 security checks before we actually were inside the room where they hold the interviews with the consuls. Don’t get me wrong there was security too at VFS but the US consulate was a more traumatic experience for me. Anyhooo…

It was very easy to apply. First you have to fill up the form online and get an appointment, I will provide all the details at the end of the post. After paying online the next step is to show up at your appointment where they will efficiently lead you to an agent who will review all your papers and fix them all up for you. After everything has been sorted out, they ask for your biometrics and collect all your papers. Viola! all done.

Our experience was only made special because of the fact that Arnie had his papers expedited (for a fee), while the three of us had to wait out almost all 15 days from their 10-15 day waiting period. We actually went in there with the intent to have all our papers expedited to give time for our Schengen visa application but remember my post on Taking care of me? well, this left a big scar on my face that was still healing during that time so the agent was hesitant on taking my biometrics because they had instructions where any non permanent mark on the face was not to be accepted. But because we were there already she suggested we just risk it, anyhow the appointment was paid for already. But because they still accept orders for VIP application we decided not to go through with ours since we were facing the possibility of a denied visa the extra cost of $163 each for them to expedite it was simply not worth it.

In the end, we got our visas and we are on our way. All’s well that ends well right?

The website is http://www.vfs-uk-ae.com

Dubai Visa Application Centre UK VFS Visa Application Centre
Wafi Mall, 2 Floor, Falcon, Phase 2
Umm Hurair 2 – Dubai – UAE
P.O Box 114100GPS Coordinates : Latitude 25.229167 & Longitude 55.318611Parking:

Wafi has more than 1,000 covered parking bays with direct access to entrances.
Valet parking is available at all main entrances to Wafi. Charges applicable.
VIP Royal parking is available at the main Atrium entrance.
Parking for guests with a disability is available at clearly designated spots in the car parks

Information for disabled visitors

Business hours: 

09:00 – 17:00 Sunday to Thursday
09:00 – 16:00 Application submission
16:00 – 17:00 Passport collection only

Application submission 

We are open to accept applications from 09:00 to 16:00. You can make an appointment through the ‘Schedule an Appointment‘ link on this website.
The time slot between 16:00 and 17:00 is dedicated for passport collection only.

Passport collection

We recommend that you check that your passport is ready before you come to the visa application for collection – either using ouronline tracking facility on this website or by calling our contact centre. You can also sign up for our SMS messaging service and receive a text on your mobile phone as soon as your passport is ready for collection. Please see the ‘Additional Services‘ page on this website for more information.

Business hours during Ramadan:

Sunday to Thursday

Application submission: 09:00 to 14:00 (by appointment only)

Passport collection: 14:00 to 15:00