Friday, May 29, 2009

I would like to acknowledge the following top droppers for the month of May. To all of you, thank you so much for regularly dropping EC. May we continue to travel together in blogosphere.

Lovely and Friendly=)

I received this two awards from Gee of The Secondrealm.

I'm thankful for the friendship Gee=)

Lovely? I really never thought to receive something like this. This is so inspiring.

I like sharing this to all of you to show my deep appreciation for the awards received.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pork with Beans

 I don't know how this dish is called. So I can never go wrong with the basic description of the pork meat  added with beans.  It's so funny how this dish came about because I was really in hurry that I forgot to cut the beans after I washed it. I only realized it when I was done throwing the beans in the pan. Nevertheless it turned out great.

Here's the recipe:

250 g. pork
beans (depends on how much you like)
1 tbsp. soysauce
1 cup water

I used non stick pan so I don't need much oil to sautee the onions and garlic, you will then add the pork until no longer pink. Season with a little salt and pepper, then add the soysauce. Pour a cup of water then simmer for 30 mins. or until the pork is tender, you should lower the heat at this time.Add the beans and let it sit for 10 mins. Then adjust seasoning to suit your taste. I think this is one of the simplest recipe but taste heavenly. We all enjoyed it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

School System in Germany

Just when I arrived in Germany I got curios how the German School System is. It reminds me of it when we discussed the system in our Language class last week. I'm encourage to write about it because few years back I really had few prejudices about the system. It is until it was deliberately explained to us by our teacher.

Education is a federal function so there might be differences from each state but generalization is possible. At the age of 3-6,children may attend kindergarten. After that they have to compulsorily attend school for 9-10 years. The (Grundschule) or elementary school comprised of 1st to 4th grade where all subjects taught are equal. After 4th grade they are separated according to their academic ability and wishes of their families. They are to choose from, Hauptschule(the least academic), Realschule(leads to higher vocational school), Gymnasium(leads to a degree) and Gesamtschule (comprehensive school, which not all states have this).


I felt that it's too early to decide which path should the pupils should take. There can be students who are late bloomers, that was my concern, but then these 3 different school mentioned have all the possibilities that will lead students to a degree if one wanted to have it. On the other hand, if they want to pursue their school of choice, at earlier age they can already land a job and enjoy life outside school. Not a bad system, I think.

One more thing that made the German school system,including universities meritorious is it's available for FREE. Yes, it's available to all children, including those children of bonafide expatriates.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One brand but differ in how they are called

I love ice cream. Any brand would fill me up. I'm just simply nuts when it comes to the word I-C-E C-R-E-A-M. Way back my childhood days, we used to buy selecta(Philippines) icecream back home.So these might be the reason why I  easily recognized its logo. It surprised me to see it, named differently, "Langnese" that's how it's called in german. I'd picked it up anyway and  filled my craving. Just before our little  angel arrived, we had few trips to nearby countries to appease ourselves from our longing to wander. It was quite easy to do five years ago because we only have to think of ourselves. These are some of the photos of the icecream's logo I've got few years ago. 

This was taken in Vienna, Austria

This was taken in Mechelen, Belgium
This was taken in Stockholm, Sweden
(According to wikipedia it's GB Glace in Sweden, so this might just be part of their selection)

This was taken in Venice, Italy

Not just ice cream, beauty product as well. I'm a fan of  Oil of Olay. I knew the product for a long time. So when my skin was complaining with the beauty regimen that I brought along with me from the Philippines, I thought, maybe buying what is local might help. So I started my quest to find a new one. And there I stumble upon Olaz. It looks like Oil of Olay. Yes, it's indeed the same product though named differently, to suit to what sounds pleasing and realistic to each country.

What about you, are you also surprise to see some products you knew but named differently?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Teddy Bears

Large number of children are highly fascinated with teddy bears or the soft toy bear,though my son began his appreciation for this cute little things only now that he know certain animals. Even me myself, I get captivated with these soft and lovely toys in the market. It's really an art. Fringe news caught my attention regarding a woman who jumped into a bear's enclosure at Berlin Zoo last April 10,and of course was attacked by the bear, who looks so lovely and cuddly,yet a supreme predator. This is not the first case that I read about someone who jumped at the bear's enclosure. Last year,24th of December, a man was reported to have jumped at the bear's enclosure to ease the bear's loneliness. The man believed that the famous bear "knut" was alone and cold, and he wanted to keep company. He's just so lucky that nothing happened to him. The Zoo keepers where quick enough to divert the bear's attention just before the police arrived and pulled him out of the pen. It made me wonder though if the hype of the stuff toys market made these people to extinguish the frontier of common sense. These creature may look so cuddly and warm loving as a soft toy but are supremely dangerous and a predator in its real nature. I'm a fan of these toys, in fact I used to collect stuff toys when I was young. I'll always be loving this lovely warm and sweet looking stuff toys. I just can't help but write about this just to keep us reminded that these animals are more likely will maul you,than give you a cuddly embrace.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Something like Afritada or Menudo

As I wake up in the morning, I always check what's left in the fridge so I can think right away of what meals to prepare for the day. I thought of having a tomato based filipino food for lunch but not all ingredients needed are available. It may be afritada or menudo. I'm not however sure of what's really the difference between the two. All I know is that both dishes have tomatoes in it. I just wish we have a bigger fridge so I can plan ahead and buy what are needed. So these are what we had and what I cooked.


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pc chicken breast
1 pc pork liver
1 tbsp.  tomato paste
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup water or/(meat broth if you have)
red bell pepper
bay leaves
frozen sweet peas
salt and pepper

Heat the oil, add the garlic and onion, then add the chicken breast and pork liver until no longer pink.  Then add the tomato paste and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the water and simmer for 15 mins. Add the vegetables and simmer until done. It's a bit bland to my taste so I added soy sauce and let the flavors infuse for a minute. And there it is, we have a delectable afritada/menudo or something like that for lunch.

I'm really no expert in cooking.I just try the best I can and I'm glad my little boy enjoy his lunch. He actually had his bowl finished. What else a mother could ask for? 

Here's the photo of it. It's taken just before my hubby arrived for lunch.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Spring flowers

It's almost been a month since Spring has sprung. As spring comes, so the flowers. The feeling is so overwhelming to see a colored picture of landscape after a long winter. I think this is the loveliest season of the year. The weather is warm but not irritatingly hot, full of colors,misty morning, cool wind and bits of sunshine. With all these beauty in sight, it made me think how beautiful it would be in the Paradise. Spring flowers could perhaps depend on where you are geographically. The famous I guess, are the tulips. Oh! it made me think of Netherlands. I really wanted to be in land full of tulips. I've never been to, so maybe that's one of my wish list this Spring or next spring time. As I browse for some news in DW  ( Deutsche Welle) I saw the article featuring the Garden Paradise in Schwerin (Northern Germany). It looks so beautiful. With all kinds of ravishing flowers on display, I feel like I wanna go there now. 

In the area where I live in the common flower in sight are the dandelions, Loewenzahn in german,meaning lion's tooth, these are the small white and the yellow ones.  The self pollinating variety,I guess. What spring flowers are common in your area? 'would love to hear=)

I wasn't able to take some nice photo of it, but I think this one below will do.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Paper works

I was so excited to see what's inside the long envelope we received from kindergarten. It's been almost a month now since we received confirmation of Johann's slot in Struwelpeter Kindergarten. Much to my surprise, it's a 30 pages document and all are in German.These are all the papers we need to read and fill up for the registration. My hubby jestingly said oh!it's like we're buying a house. I grumble because I hate so much paper work and I hardly understand the words written in it. My german is not good enough for this. Well, they say this is a typical german. German bureaucracy as they call it. I have nothing against it for this may do good to us in the future. When everything is in writing then you can never go wrong for there's always something you can read back and make things verified and cleared. I was just astounded of how long and how much paper work it is. =)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Waste Segregation

I mentioned in my previous entry of how I was encouraged by the film Planet Earth to be more responsible in preserving our planet in my little ways. It reminded me of how amaze I was (and still I am) with the waste segregation here in Germany. At first, I felt it's too much work to have 4-5 kinds of rubbish bins. Aside from being too much, I don't have an idea "where" to put "what". Well, call me ignorant but it's true. We don't really have a defined waste segregation in the Philippines. I saw a lot of different colored bins in Makati, (Philippines) before but I wasn't sure if these are really segregated until the end of its disposal phase for recycling. For almost five years stay here in Germany of course by now I could humbly say, sorting the garbage is no longer that difficult for me. Our teacher in German class also mentioned to us that the best way to help is aside from proper sorting of waste is to minimize it. We can actually do it in many ways. Let me give you a few examples.
  1. Using reusable bags in shopping.
  2. Buying products with deposits ( or they call it pfand here) so disposal/recycling of the product would be easy.
  3. If there are school celebration here, the schoolers are asked to bring their own dishes and utensils instead of using disposable so as to minimize waste.
For sure there are still many ways to do it. Now well move on to segregation. First let's talk about "Paper" which is designated with the color "blue". Almost always if you're living in an apartment you can easily find it outside just infront of the maindoor. Packaging made of paper, magazines,paper bags,envelopes,books, brochure, carton packages without plastic, and paper boxes. Tissues however do not belong here.

Now,we will talk about Glass. Aside from the returnable glass (the ones with deposits/pfand), Glasses should be thrown in designated glass bins and these are sorted according to color. Of course in these category it includes glass bottles, glass jams, and wines. The sorting would be green/blue,clear glass and brown. One can find these bins in the neighborhood.

We'll now move on to the  "yellow" bins. Cans, yogurt cups, lotion bottles, spray plastic bottles,sachet, plastic bags, detergent bottles, vacuum packaging,aluminum foil, plastic wrapper and composite materials (e.g. beverage cartons) belong to this category. Some cities have more specific sorting of this category but generally all of this items fall under the yellow bins.

We are now with "brown" bins or biological waste such as kitchen waste, fruits and vegetables peels, feather, hair, kitchen paper towels,tissues and food leftovers. It can be so smelly sometimes specially during summer time. In our case we are told by our "hausmeister" or landlord to just put the food leftover in the gray bins.

"Gray" bins here we come. In this bin includes almost all the rest that is not classified in the other categories. This includes soiled nappies, ashes, cigarette butts, vacuum cleaner bags, nails, very dirty papers, and other household waste.

I mentioned "almost the rest" because we still have a category that is not mentioned. These are "the rest" category which are the hazardous waste which inlcudes batteries, acids, paints, thinners, adhesives, corrosives, dinsinfectant, insecticides and medicines. You will be inform by the local town on where and when the trucks will be collecting this kind of waste. You can however find the bins for batteries in the local shops. The very reason why this toxic waste should not be included in the gray bins because gray bins or "restmuell" are incinerated. You would not want to inhale those toxic waste right?

Well, I know, the list is already long but what about something that you would like to throw away that is not mentioned. They call it  "Sperrmuell" where your broken hifi, sofa, computers and other stuff are properly disposed of. Each town has it, so one must have to present its valid indentification that you're a resident to the area before you'll be allowed to throw your stuff.

Amazing, right? This is really what you call extra effort and diligence. I hope someday, we can have a good waste management in the Philippines such as this.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wii TV Show King

Jerome received this beautiful gift from his colleague. We are all enjoying the game. Yes, all which means that includes our little boy. It's even so funny how he immitate the mii's during the spin the wheel part of the game. The mii's will have its funny dance move and a happy face if it's a good luck and a sad face if it loses money. My little boy wasn't over yet with this funny faces that even during dinner time, he would ask us to imitate him, doing the dance move without necessarily standing, only waving his hands like the mii's did and have a funny face after. It's so cute,really.It's a quiz game, by the way. Aside from the fact that you'll get some knowledge from the game itself it's really a lot of fun. How the mii's portrayed the loser and winner's faces is so hilarious. It can really add a smile to our faces. I'm sure of that.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Planet Earth

"Planet Earth is a multi award-winning 2006 television series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit. Four years in the making, it was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and also the first to be filmed in high definition.[1] The series was co-produced by the Discovery Channel and NHK in association with CBC, and was described by its makers as "the definitive look at the diversity of our planet".

Planet Earth was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One in March 2006, and premiered one year later in the USA on the Discovery Channel. By June 2007, it had been shown in 130 countries worldwide.[2] The original BBC version was narrated by David Attenborough and produced by Alastair Fothergill. For Discovery, the executive producer was Maureen Lemire, with Sigourney Weaver's voiceover replacing Attenborough.

The series comprises eleven episodes, each of which features a global overview of a differenthabitat on Earth. At the end of each fifty-minute episode, a ten-minute featurette takes a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of filming the series."

          (source: Wikipedia)

This film was released early 2007, not so new at all. It was however mentioned to me by sister though I never put so much weight to it until I saw this film for the first time. That was when we watched this compiled series of BBC early this year at a friends house. This film totally caught me, and I should say I'm glued at it, totally overwhelmed of this enormous film. I'm fascinated with it as well as my little boy. It also caught his attention, as every animal presented he would say the names of it out loud. It captivated him until the end of the episode. I didn't get to see the whole series yet, my hubby and I  are planning to buy one. The blue bird with smiley face was hilarious. I never thought there's such a beautiful bird as that. How he transform himself to make attractive is just so fascinating to see. The wild life and how nature works, gave me so much  feeling of awe and wonderment. The narration of Sir David Attenborough is simply astonishing,that it made the film more commendable. As we were watching the film, I thank God I am given the privilege to live in this wonderful planet whose beauty is stunning, impressive, sensational and simply beautiful. You've got the glimpse of the Earth that has never seen before, indeed. It encourages me to be more responsible in taking care of our planet even in our little ways. It's highly recommended for children as well. Spectacular documentary, it is=).