Z and Flint Lockwood

Z’s facial expressions while watching “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2.”

Cool! A giant strawberry!
Super Z
Super Z
Hahahaha! The giant spider cheeseburger!
Super Z
Huh? The mad scientist! He is evil!
Super Z
Eeeeeeee! The enemies got the machine!
Super Z
Naaaaaaah! Flint!!!!!!!!!!
Super Z

“Got ‘ya Mama! Happy Ending. x”

Super Z


Remembering Marjo Sibels

Last week, we (my husband’s family) lost a dear, dear friend.
An Aunt to my husband, the “other” grandmother for my Z, my mother-in-law’s best friend.
Marjo Sibels.

Her passing away was expected, and not so expected. Well, at least not one year back.
She was healthy, at least – physically, and should she have not committed herself to the operation –
she would still be alive. And living.

Hers was a life so complicated that even my own twisted one is lucky enough to not be living hers. And so I think.
She is a sweet, sweet lady. I knew her for the less than 3 years that I have been in The Netherlands.

She is almost family.
I remember the first time my husband introduced me to her. She just sat there, staring at me – not sure if she will give me a smile or not.
I just stood there, staring back at her, not sure if I should return her undecided smile or not. I did.

I was already pregnant that time, I believe, and she reached out and touched my belly. That was on 2011.
She told me that I am going to have a beautiful baby girl. A happy baby girl.
She said the voices told her that.

She can hear voices in her head – for as long as everybody around her can remember.

I went home with a new pair of Boots – from her. She liked me like that the first time we met.

She was always there – for us. From the moment I gave birth, to all the special events in our lives.
(She was basically my mother-in-law’s personal assistant. In all of our live’s event where she was present, she claimed the responsibility of washing the dirty dishes. Just working silently in the background and silently enjoying the occasion and being happy for us.)

This was during our first Christmas Eve together in The Netherlands, December 24, 2011.

With Marjo, Dec. 24, 2011

With Marjo, Dec. 24, 2011

Z’s Baptism on November 2012.

With Marjo, Z's Baptism - Nov. 2012

With Marjo, Z’s Baptism – Nov. 2012

Our 2nd Christmas together, my Z’s first, December 25, 2012.

With Marjo and Mam, December 25, 2012

With Marjo and Mam, December 25, 2012

During my mother-in-law’s birthday on February 2013.

With Marjo on Mam's Birthday, February 2013

With Marjo on Mam’s Birthday, February 2013

Z’s First Birthday on May 2013.

Marjo on Z's First Birthday, May 2012

Marjo on Z’s First Birthday, May 2012

On our Wedding Day, September 5, 2013.

With Marjo on our Wedding Day, September 2013

With Marjo on our Wedding Day, September 2013

She was the person who cried more than my anyone else when I sang my vows to my husband –

With Marjo on our Wedding Day, September 2013

With Marjo on our Wedding Day, September 2013

With Marjo on our Wedding Day, September 2013

With Marjo on our Wedding Day, September 2013

That was the last time we saw her smiling like that. Approximately 2 weeks after, she had her operation – with the intention of making herself feel good. But it became otherwise.

She found herself in and out of the hospital the months following, and in and out of coma.

On Tuesday, April 1, last week, my father-in-law told me that she was declared 95% brain dead by the doctors. She went back to the hospital Thursday or Friday the week prior where she was found by her husband – comatose.

On Thursday, April 3, at 7PM, I went with Mam and her other close friend to the ICU in the hospital in Heerlen to bid our last farewell. There was a plan to switch off her machine the following day, Friday, at 2PM.

It was indeed the last time. She died at 12.30 midnight on April 04.

While looking at her lying there in her death bed on April 3, I thought I saw her trying to open her eyes. The machine connected to her body signaled that she had no pulse, or that it was really low. I knew I saw her differently: she was more at peace. She looked good, ok. She did not look scary at all – unlike the idea that her husband was trying to draw in my mind before we went to visit her. (He asked me not to scream as I will not be finding the same chubby Marjo that I knew. What LOL to him).

I thought I will only watch scenes like that in the movies: a husband asking her wife to let go, to rest, to go meet her Papa; or a best friend kissing a dying best friend’s forehead and caressing her face like that of a baby’s; another best friend collapsing because she can’t bear the thought that she is going away – for a long time.

They were heart-wrenching.

I waited until everybody else was outside the room. I stepped beside her, kissed her in the forehead, and silently told her “Thank you for taking care of me and my family. Thank you for everything.”

Rest in peace our sweet Marjo.
(You are finally free from the voices in your head.)
We are going to miss you – always…

Today I Conquered Nederland

One of the main reasons why I have changed my personal blog’s name to “Conquering The Netherlands” is my will to get integrated before my deadline on August 2015.

Today I finally have it. I got certified for Nederlands als tweede taal (Dutch as Second Language) – Staatsexamen (State Exams) – Niveau B1 (Level B1).

This is also not really true as English is already my second language (though most of the time I believe English was my first.  I speak Tagalog (or Filipino) – our national language – but I think I have better fluency in English).

Before you cast the first stone for admitting that my Filipino is not so good, I grew up in a city where everybody speaks in a dialect, which is a Spanish creole, known as “Chavacano.” 

But of course, Tagalog (or Filipino) is my first.

That makes Spanish as my third language – with a little tweaking and with some conjugations, a respect for femininity and masculinity, and proper grammar.

Maybe a year from now, I would really (finally) give dignity to the passed level B1 in Dutch.  Dutch, then, would be my fourth language.

Question:  To which ranking do Chavacano, Visaya, (an understanding of) Ilonggo, Kapampangan, Tausug, and Yakan fall?

I just wanted to post this once in a lifetime moment.

I cannot write a long post about this success for now. (I celebrated this by smiling the whole time at work today. Also bought pies for my colleagues to share).

I will be elaborating more, and perhaps post ideas, links, suggestions, etc. on how others, who have to take the same exam, pass it.

Now, back to the real world….


Note:  Chavacano, Ilonggo, Kapampangan, Tausug, Visaya and Yakan are some of the dialects in the Philippines.

Ginger – The Stray, Wild Cat

Every night, for almost a year now, we have a constant female visitor in cat form.



She has the color of complication. We tried to pat her, to keep her inside the house – but to no avail.
She was so skinny and had rashes all over her when she first dropped by.

Simba would also never leave her alone. She is, after all, what he had always dreamt of.
We would always know that she is around since Simba starts playing crazy and transforms himself into a dragon!

Night Fury

Night Fury

A cat-girl! (Our Simba is male, just in case you don’t know).

So there. She would never go away unless we give her something to eat. The poor thing.
Am really wondering where she stays. My husband said that maybe she has an owner, and she just comes to us if she wanted more food to eat.

I say she lives by the bushes infront of our garden. I think I saw her come out of there once.

Here she is asking to be left alone.



One hungry, stray cat.



Stoned Turtle keeping an eye on her.
Simba shooooooooo!