#FrenchieatPinay are officially married!


Yes, we are!!!

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And it was literally the happiest day of our lives, surrounded by our families and loved ones.

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It was actually our French civil wedding. The most intimate and the most stress-free preparation. Or so we thought.

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Getting to that day was about ten months of paper works and planning, after we decided that July 2018 was the perfect date for us. I was warned that it would be a long and difficult process. I didn’t know that it would also cause frustrations and tears (mostly from my part, of course). That we literally considered to just get married in Las Vegas. Like for real!

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Planning a wedding as an expat is tough. Seriously.

First, I have to get all my documents from the Philippines through the Philippine embassy in Brazil, since I live here. Sometimes, bureaucracy sucks! Then, I had to translate everything in French at the Philippine embassy in Paris because we were getting married at his hometown in the Vendee region. And submit everything there, while Frenchie lives in Paris.

When all of that was done, we had to arrange my family’s visa application in Manila, Philippines so that they could attend our wedding in France. Hashtag third world passport problem. For this processing alone, it also brought us stress and difficulties. And money for sure.

We almost canceled this wedding, too— because Nanay had a medical scare when they were about to board their flight to Paris from Manila. She literally passed out by their boarding gate. She was admitted to the nearest hospital from the airport for five days! As hardcore Catholics, we still considered this as a blessing, because we were thinking— things could have probably been worst if she took that flight that day. All in all, she’s a lot better now, but sadly wasn’t able to attend this wedding (that made me a mess and sleepless, days leading up to our wedding day).

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Thankfully and gratefully, the wedding details were all graciously arranged by Frenchie’s awesome parents and his friend, Seb. They were able to arrange the time & place of our wedding, find a photographer, book the reception restaurant, talk with the chef about our wedding menu, deal with our guests’ travel arrangements, arrange our dinner plans, and manage to give us a surprise presentation!

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Without Frenchie’s parents’ help, it wouldn’t have turned out to be a perfect event for all of us.


If you’re planning a small and intimate wedding abroad, details are very important. As I’ve said earlier, it took us about 10 months to plan and prepare everything.

Here are some of the helpful lists from our French wedding:

 

1. Proper documentation. Make sure you check all the documents they need from both of you. For France they have to know ahead of time who are listed as your witnesses.

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2. Look details. Although this was a small wedding, I made sure that I will look fabulous! It’s my wedding day after all!😉

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My gown was designed by my former student in the Philippines, Ram Silva. It was cheaper to have it made in the Philippines than buying something online. He also suggested that I should wear a hat, which I DIYed in Brazil, that actually worked to my advantage because I had bad acne breakouts on my forehead that time. Make up was done by moi, as inspired by Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day.😉 My travel-inspired bouquet was made by my sister & I. Hydrangeas flowers were taken from Frechie’s parents’ garden but the globe was brought from the Philippines. And I was generously gifted by my class in Brazil, with a gold necklace with our names on it. So thoughtful and sweet!


3. Wedding bands. This is of course the most important accessory and detail on any wedding day. I knew from the very start that I wanted something unique. With our same passion for traveling and exploring the world, I was able to find a world map wedding band on Etsy. Frenchie was in charge of dealing with the maker/jeweler because they were from Ukraine. Thankfully, Etsy is very convenient and trustworthy website/app to have our bands made from them.

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4. Wedding photographer. I really wanted to cherish and document our wedding day, so I convinced Frenchie so hard on this one.😉 We opted for photographs because it’s more tangible and cheaper than having a video. Of course, you can rightfully choose to video record your wedding. We were able to find our photographer through Frenchie’s parents’ research skills. Adeline Baudy is really cool and she took raw moments on our event. She talked to us a day before our wedding and explained how she works. And I believe it’s really important that you do this as well with your photographer.

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5. Wedding reception. On our wedding day, we were 16 people in total. So we knew we just need a small space or reception room. Again, Frenchie’s cool parents were able to book our reception restaurant. Since our wedding took place in the morning, our reception was a lunch setting. We have to drive to the location for another hour. And it was worth the drive! Because the place and scenery was majestic!

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6. Wedding menu. It is very important to go through your wedding menu. You have to know your guests’ allergies or if they’re vegan or not. We had two little children as guests, so we also considered their food choice. But French food is without a doubt the best, so this part was a no-brainer for us.😉

Our wedding cake was a present from the chef of the restaurant. It’s a traditional nougat cake. 

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7. Entertainment. This part was a surprise gift from Frenchie’s cool parents. Since my husband(!) and his best friends were big Medieval nerds during their youth. They booked a Medieval performer to entertain us after our reception. We all had fun and learned dances from that age. Super awesome!

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8. Dinner venue. French wedding is usually a loongggg day of celebration. So we also had a dinner set-up or continued celebration. But more casual. We just went to a crepe place and ordered whatever we liked to eat from their menu. It was another nice time of just really talking and catching up (more from our French guests) and an interesting experience for me and my family.😉 After this, we of course had our…

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9. Wedding night. First night to be husband & wife!!! We stayed at a hotel and did what newly-weds would do on their wedding night, and perhaps more! 😊

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Have you planned a wedding before? Was it also stressful?

Major Life Update!


I have a happy and exciting news of love!


This is the part when I get to do a giddy dance and a head bang at the same time!

Or not really! But I did celebrate, more or less into a happy dance! haha

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Well, well, as this blog post say...it's a major life update!!!

Because....


#Frenchieatpinay are engaged!!!


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It happened during Frenchie's recent trip to Brazil last month. (I had to take some time to keep this engagement, more or less within my inner circle first, before I am now announcing it to cyber world.) There are some things, like engagement that needed some time to just be a personal, private, special moment. And Instagram story doesn't count! haha

Also because we had a death in the family. My Tatay's (father) eldest brother died on just the same weekend as this engagement. :( So I opted to mourn him than celebrate this engagement, so to speak.

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As most of you know, #Frenchieatpinay are very much in a long-distance-relationship and if there's any way we were able to pull off our relationship this long--- almost five years now, it is really because of our travel mileage! haha

Kidding aside, it really is because we're just perfect for each other. Awww. I don't think I could find someone like him. And he couldn't resist someone like me. End of story. :D


DID I KNOW HE'S GOING TO PROPOSE?


Well, honestly I pressured him to propose.

And I'm not kidding. Here's the thing. I'm not a desperate girl who wanted so badly for an engagement ring. BUT, Frenchie and I have been long talking about of getting married and making everything proper since I came to live in Brazil. The fact is, we were already looking into the paper works of it all, because eventually I will have to move to France with him. I even wrote my dilemma about it. Because in this day and age, interracial marriages are still a loooonggggg process to do. 

Somehow my girly side told me that if we really have to do everything properly, he has to propose and give me a ring. So yeah, I did pressure him. ;)


HOW DID HE DO IT?


So I always know at the back of my head that on his visit to Brazil, he's going to propose. I just don't know when. There was even a moment when he gave me a small wooden box, and I thought it was that. But nah, he was just being cute!

For weeks, we traveled to the south of Brazil, even crossed Paraguay and Argentina, went to Salvador, spent several days in Vitoria, made a short trip to Santa Tereza--- and he didn't show any gestures of "popping the question".

It was on an unguarded moment, when in the private space of our hotel room in Rio de Janeiro, on a Saturday morning, on his last full day in Brazil before going back to France, while I was dressing up for a long day of excursion in the city--- he calmly told me he wanted to give my (late) birthday present.

At that time, all my expectations were not hinting of a proposal.

I honestly thought it was just his sweet act of giving me my birthday (in March) gift. He gave me a wrapped gift in blue--- my favorite color, and I giddily opened it. The gift was Elizabeth Gilbert's book: Big Magic. It's the book that I mentioned to him that I wanted to read (and buy).


When I opened the first few pages, I noticed the heart cutouts, and that was really the moment when it dawned on me what was happening!


Then I saw the ring in the book. My eyes started to be teary-eyed, and Frenchie said, "Wait, you need a bookmark to read it." And I was like, "How can I read this when it has cutouts?!" I kind of laughed and then he showed me the bookmark...

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So lo and behold, in his sweetest gesture and full Frenchie cuteness, he asked me if I wanted to marry him...


And I said YES!!!


I loved it!!! Because it was soo him. It was soo us. The "bookmark" had a back story to our first trip to Paris. And it has something to do with my all time favorite French movie, AmelieSo all the details are very personal and well thought. Nothing grand. Just us, two. And I love, love, love it!

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We have not set any wedding dates yet. Because again, it's going to be a loooongggg, arduous process at the time being. It will most likely depend on the accomplishments of paper works and requirements! #interracialpassports


And oh, I'm staying for another FULL year in Brazil, so that's also another thing to consider, when it comes to planning the wedding. I have a feeling this is going to be a long engagement. Haha.


For now, I'm just taking it one day at a time. Frenchie and I always have a Bob Marley mantra that has kept us sane in our LDR madness: "Baby don't worry, about a thing. Because every little thing's gonna be alright."

That really keeps me feel relieved. ;)


Side note: How does a boyfriend "know" his girlfriend's ring size, if he's trying a surprise proposal?!? In the movies or in engagement videos, the ring always seem to fit perfectly. Mine was one size bigger, so Frenchie has to give it back and have it customized to my tiny finger size.

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THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS SPECIAL,

HAPPY MOMENT WITH US!

Would I Love Living In France?


When we have to choose between love and career, what's the best answer?


This has been my dilemma for the past few months now. I honestly thought that when I get to this point, the answer would be an easy one. But I was wrong. I still don't have an answer to this.

And I literally have to give my decision to my boss at the end of this month, if I wanted to stay in Brazil for another year or not.


I'm really trying to weigh in my reasoning: if I'm just trying to make excuses, or if I'm just not ready to settle down, or if I don't want to move to Europe.


Today, Frenchie and I spent the whole day talking about ALL the possibilities of our future, specifically my move to France sometime soon. It was a tough one for the both of us. I mainly have to blame our passport differences, of course, my third-world-passport is going to make it even more complicated for us. 

I wish things are really easier said than done, but we're two individuals that continue to support each other's dreams no matter what. Aside from visa slash passport problem is our main concern, it's somehow deeper for me...

The thing is, I don't think I would really be happy living in France. That's from own point of view.

Don't get me wrong. I have dreamed of living in Europe as far as I can remember. When most people from my country dreamed of the American dream, I didn't join that bandwagon. Europe became my favorite continent because of their culture and history. That's why I dated mostly European men in my 20s because I wanted to settle down in Europe eventually. Wink. Wink. 

Then things (kind of) changed when I finally got myself into France. I saw, tasted, breathe, and experienced Europe for the very first time, and I was kind of disappointed. (I'm still actually having a hard time writing my France travel experience simply because I can't get around of what to write.)

To say the least--- I wasn't smitten, unlike most people. And that's what I'm so afraid of. Will I end up loving living in France or not?!

Coming from Asia and having lived in South America, I was so used to a culture so welcoming, so open, so warm, so happy, so relaxing, so carefree, so engaging, so friendly, so generous, so family-centered, and so spiritual.

And somehow, I feel that I will never get that in Europe. Am I wrong? Am I just overly thinking? Or am I a prejudice?

I, of course had a GREAT time when I was there. But it's really different when you're just visiting or being touristy. It'll be a completely different ball game once you start living a life there.

I'm afraid that it'll be like living in the US once again. I was borderline depressed when I lived there. I felt like I don't belong in the sense of their community. But to be fair, I really never wanted to live in the US on the first place, so that made me miserable from the very start.

This time around the problem is, Frenchie would be assigned in the outskirt of Paris, far from his family and friends. I would have to deal with finding a job which will take sometime, learning French which I really HAVE to, and hopefully be able to make new friends which I pray wouldn't be too hard. I know I've done this many times before, when I chose a nomadic life. But I've never really done a HUGE move for a guy. My nomadic choices were primarily my own decisions, so to speak.


Honestly, adjusting and adapting to a new city or environment

was never a problem to me.


Somehow though, France is giving me a different vibe that I can't seem to fathom. I don't know what it is. And I hope I'm wrong with all of my assumptions. I hope I will have the best time of my life in France just like how Julia Child has made hers. 

Maybe I will make her my spirit animal on this difficult decision making in my life. She seems to have been on the same shoes as I'll be. 

But then again, how do I get to walk away from a career I love (maybe for a year) and also be with the man I love?

Because when I walked away from teaching for a year and a half when I left China for good, I didn't feel like I was doing something noteworthy for myself, although I was traveling and discovering the world. I realized then, that as an individual, we need to be doing something that is giving us a purpose and that we are really making an impact. 

For me, teaching is what I live for, every waking day of my life! Just to make it clear, it would mean that when I move to France, I have to wait for everything to be legal (on my end) in order to apply for a job, and hopefully, it wouldn't be too difficult to find a Preschool English teaching job. And the way we look at it, it'll be at least a year to wait.


Has anyone been on this situation as me? How was your decision making?

The Art of Letting Go

 

A poem written by Consrael.

To all those who have loved and lost...


It's over. He's gone. 

Why do we have to part while
the love is still there? 
Why do we have to suffer? 
Why do we have to cry when
somebody bids goodbye? 
Why do beginnings have an end? 
Why do we have to meet
only to lose in the end? 

There are questions left unanswered, 
words left unsaid, letters left unread, 
poems left undone, songs left unsung, 
love left unexpressed, 
promises left unfulfilled. 

In a relationship, 
one of the hardest things to do
is saying goodbye and letting go. 
It is as hard as breaking a crystal
because you'll never know when you
will be able to pick up the pieces again. 
More often than not, they who go, 
feel not the pain of parting: 
it is they who stay behind that suffer, 
because they are left
with memories of a love
that was meant to be, 
a love that was. 

At the beginning and at the end
of a relationship, 
we are embarrassed to find ourselves alone. 
Unfair as it may seem, 
but that's the way love goes. 
That's the drama, the bittersweet
and the risk of falling in love. 
After all, nothing is constant but change. 
Everything will eventually come to its end
without us knowing when, 
without us knowing how, 
without us even knowing why. 
And we must forget not because we have to
but because we have to. 

In letting go, sorrows come
not as a single spy but in battalion. 
It seems that everywhere you go, 
everything you do, 
every song you hear, 
every turn of your head, 
every move of your body, 
every beat of your heart, 
every blink of your eye and every breath
you take always reminds you of him. 
It's like a stab of a knife, 
a torture in the night. 
Funny how the whole world
becomes depopulated
when only one person is missing. 
Just imagine, 
there are billions people on earth
and yet it seems you feel lonely
and empty without the other. 

I don't know if it's worth calling an art, 
but letting go entails
special skills sparkled
with a considerable space and time. 
Time heals all wounds but it takes
a little push on our part. 
Acceptance plays a part. 
Not all love stories end with
"...and they live happily ever after." 

Sometimes we have to part because of
circumstances beyond our control. 
We have to suffer if it would
mean happiness for others. 
We have to cry to
temporarily let go of the pains. 
Every beginning has its end
like every dawn has its dusk. 
It's something we can't control, 
something we had to live up. 

It's over. 
He's gone. But life has to go on. 
Goodbye doesn't always mean forever. 
There will always be a place and time
where questions will be answered, 
words will be spoken, 
letters will be read, 
poems will be recited in the night, 
songs will be sung in harmony, 
love will be expressed in solitude and
promises will be fulfilled. 
Somewhere. Somehow. Someday.


Have you mastered the art of letting go?

Moving Forward!

 

HOW TO SURVIVE A BREAK UP?


That's the MILLION DOLLAR question, really. Right???

If only there's a secret potion for this, then we will all have a better life.

It is difficult, I know, been there done that, even countless of times! It's most likely the most devastating feeling one will ever have in his/her lifetime. It's literally ripping off your heart into this very unusual pain.

It's the kind of pain that you want to run away from. If only, you can auto off all the memories in your mind. If only, you can erase every small and big details about him. Then maybe, just maybe, you don't have to go through crying yourself to sleep at night.

But as a former active member of the Broken-Hearted Club, I have only this advise, the best way to move forward is really acknowledging the pain, the hurt, the betrayal, and the agony that comes with it. Because as cliché as it may sound, this will only make you stronger and better as a person. Touche!


They say there are 5 stages (DenialAnger, BargainingDepression and Acceptance), even 7 (Shock, Denial, Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) to be able to move on from a break up.


Me?! I have a LIST...as in a looooong list..... ;)

There is no exact time when to get over someone. Especially if you're the one left behind. Geez, my longest was four years!!! So you just really have to understand that they really mean it, it takes time. And time will heal all wounds. And the best analogy of this?! Just look at the wounds in our body, the only time we don't feel the pain anymore is when it was totally healed. And it took days, sometimes even months to heal. So give yourself the time. Take as much time as you could on this healing process. 

Cry and cry and cry and cry if you must. I used to wake up to a wet pillow in the morning. There's nothing wrong with crying and just being alone. Cry until you can't cry anymore. Recognize that pain. Wallow as long as you want, as long as you can, as many times as you can! Yes, cry it out tonight, cry it out in the early hours in the morning if you must!

When you're done crying, get a pen and a paper. Write all of your anger, your frustrations, your what if's, your what not's, your what could have I done to make it different, your hatred towards that person who broke you and even about yourself. Because trust me, when you have no one who will listen to your bitterness, having to write it all down, will somehow lighten the heavy burden of your broken heart!

Call a friend and talk to that person. It may be your sister, your mother, your closest girlfriend. Just tell her that they need to listen and understand that you really feel awful...and somehow suicidal because a stupid(!) boy broke your heart. Tell them you don't need their advise, you just want someone to be your sponge. No comments and judgement needed. :)

Find comfort in songs. And take some of that message to really help you. That is if you still want to cry at night. Or if you're good as Adele you can channel that sad feeling into composing a song...or a poem. Who knows you'll be the next youtube sensation, eh?

 
Here are my go-to-break-up-songs...

I'm Moving On by Rascal Flatts

I'm moving on...
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me.
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone.


Letting Go by Sozzi


I still recall the words you said to me
It's what you did not say that sets me free


Art of Letting Go by Mikaila
 

Try to say it's over
Say the word goodbye
But each time it catches in my throat

 

Get up and do something about moving forward!


These are very basics but trust me, as normal as they seem they are...these things were VERY helpful to me...

  • Get a new haircut. Or buy new dresses. Or put on some new stilettos. Just effin' do something that when you look at yourself in the mirror, you're more than beautiful! And TELL YOURSELF, "I am beautiful."
  • Buy a bucket of ice cream or one box of chocolate and eat it while watching, The Little Rascals. Find a time to be happy. Find a time to comfort yourself with laughter. I repeat, do something to be HAPPY. 
  • But what is it that you really like doing that makes you happy?! I found comfort in the kitchen, so I cooked a lot. If you like photography, go and take some pictures and write something about that picture on your Instagram. Or paint or sew or plant or bike or whatever...basta, do something productive of your time! Period.
  • Re-arrange your closet, your room, or your whole house. Sometimes a new scenery of your surrounding helps a lot.
  • Go out with your friends and go to the beach or a hike in the hill, not in club. I repeat, not in a bar club! Quality time is the key.
  • Just really be proactive with your life. Do a new project or a new adventure. I did bunjee jumping, I did scuba diving, and I went travelling. And trust me, I was liberated and it completely changed me.

Let's jot down the circumstances...


  • If he dumped you for someone else...and was cheating with you the whole time. HE'S AN ASSHOLE. IF YOU FORGIVE HIM, YOU'RE A MORON. YES, NOT JUST STUPID...A MORON!
  • If he dumped you for someone else...because the other girl is better than you. YES, IT HURTS. SCREW HIM! BUT YOU ARE AND WILL ALWAYS BE SPECIAL TO SOMEONE ELSE, WHO TRULY DESERVES YOU.
  • If he dumped you because he doesn't love you anymore. THANK HIM, HE'S SAVING YOU BOTH FROM WASTING YOUR TIME.
  • If he dumped you because you're not giving him what he wants because you're not readyIT'S HIS LOSS, NOT YOURS. HE'S A DOUCHE-BAG. AND KUDOS TO YOU FOR NOT GIVING INTO WHAT HE WANTS.

Please, please, please for the love of God...remember these things..

 

How did you survive a break up?