personal, places

Moving to Canada? This Filipina Wants To Say Something

Today I am in the mood to give unsolicited advice. It’s the kind of advice I needed when I first moved to Canada.

Although moving is an exciting adventure, it is a highly stressful situation that will affect your well-being. When you start navigating new cultural norms and get stripped off your social capital (your friends, relatives, social connections), you will be humbled and you will get depressed. Culture shock doesn’t always come as one big shock but in mini jolts that add up to anxiety and depression. These tips won’t solve all that but they will help and hopefully, bring some ease.


Waterfront Station

This entry is based on my experience as a first-generation millennial immigrant in BC, Canada. Lets get to it shall we?

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Like Pixie Dust


For 2019, I want to focus on changing the stories I tell myself. The goal is to minimise (if not fully eliminate) thoughts that are:

  1. Self defeating
  2. Untrue
  3. Recycled garbage
  4. Society-approved but not self-approved
  5. All of the above

And  I want to hone my skill in replacing those thoughts with ones that are:

  1. Kind
  2. Helpful
  3. Neutral
  4. Both a and b

So it’s sort of like positive thinking but not really. I mean I don’t want to be Quixotic about things. All I want is that I catch myself when I get unpleasant thoughts before it spirals out of control. That’s why I don’t mind neutral, and not necessarily uber positive and improbable, thoughts.

I keep thinking how difficult this “challenge” or theme is for 2019 but then again I’ve done it before. For what seems like trivial things. You know like wanting to get my armpits lasered because sophisticated working women should have flawless and white kili-kili (that’s not a bad thing if you went for it by the way). I mean I might still do in the future but then my thought flipped and I didn’t care. Also, sophisticated working woman is totally not me. Hahaha! Maybe my mind will change if I ever live in a tropical country again. That’s a pretty minor example but it just shows how one idea can consume you for a moment when it doesn’t really have to.

I have so many other story loops that I want to get rid of (am i a ditz with no ambition, i ought to be a development worker, i feel guilty about not going to that event, i can’t raise kids, etc etc) Most of them are products of my upbringing, gender, society’s standards (and standards based on my gender!), educational background, socio-economic status, my culture and cultures I’m exposed to. Many things are wrong and should change in society but as a personal goal, I want to focus on those that I have more control of. Even if some thoughts are true, are they kind? I want this year to be filled with useful, helpful and nice thoughts. I guess this entire blog post in one line simply means:

I want to be kinder to myself so I can be kind to others.


I Tried Confident Creativity in 2018

Sooo last year, I was already a viewer of MuchelleB and other self-helpy people on Youtube. And themes instead of resolutions were (or still are?) a thing. Instead of making resolutions and feeling bad for not following through, deciding on some kind of theme was the recommended action.

For 2018 I decided to work on Confident Creativity because I wanted to do something apart from work. My work isn’t glam but on the happy side, it doesn’t require a lot of mental power, doesn’t drain me at the end of the day and my co-workers are productive, nice, fun people. So there was minimal stress (only if we had volume). I had time and energy for a hobby!

The main creative thing I did for the past year was to write. Haha the irony of losing the entries but I think it was more the exercise than the outcome itself that mattered. I blogged about dealing with envy, how I streamlined my wardrobe, the drawing class I took. I went on a break from writing when I went on vacation but also blogged an update about what happened in between. Then I wrote some advice for my past self.

Aside from blogging, I also did my 30 Days of Calligraphy project. I posted them on Instagram. I enjoyed it but only got as far as writing with watercolor brushes and a Faber Castell pen. Buuuut here’s the thing, I also just enrolled in a Calligraphy workshop that’s happening this January! It’s going to be taught by Maurelle of Maurelle Calligraphy and Design. I’m so excited! I would never have discovered her if I didn’t do this project because my friend G mentioned Maurelle’s workshops when she found out I liked calligraphy.

I also took a drawing class which made me realize that if I practiced, I could draw things I didn’t know I could. And that I should always make the attempt instead of giving up and thinking I can’t draw that!

At one point I felt that I was creative but not confident. I was writing, drawing even cooking but I was also aware of my self doubt. I knew I needed work on the confidence part. I noticed though that the more I tried to do something creative, the surer I felt. Not always but many times. I felt proud of myself when I finished a drawing or a blog post. It also happened after I cooked something, like when I made roast chicken for Thanksgiving or banana bread one weekend.

Confidence seemed to appear after the act of trying or making an effort. Confidence followed creativity.

Okay I’ve thought that for a while but putting words to it is another level. I haven’t paused for some time and it’s when I sit down and sort out my thoughts that these epiphanies appear.

I am keeping this kind of “tradition” of setting themes for every year. Maybe even for short periods of time like vacations or projects. If you can have themed weddings to make it come together then all the more reason to do it for my year. I’ll be sharing my theme for 2019 soon. Til the next post!


A Very Long Blog Update

Hi! I’m happy to be back writing even if this post is kind of saying i-couldn’t-afford-the-surprise-renewal-fees-of-my-hosting-site-so-i-lost-my-domain-name. Hehe.

I’m still making decisions as to hosting and domain names. All that good stuff I don’t really care about too much. I realized from this experience that while I “lost” my entries for the entire year of 2018, I don’t feel any sort of regret or loss. Ok sayang because I put effort into them but I also have drafts in my drive (mostly first drafts and not a lot of the edited and final versions. This is my half-assed way of backing up files). I guess I was not so attached to the articles.

What ACTUALLY threw me off was the part where I can’t write anywhere. I had no blog to post from. Which is not that true because I’ve always had this free site, that’s why Im hanging out here for now. But anyway before I decided to go on (back) here, i thought oh I’ll be on Instagram for the meantime and focus on that platform. I thought I’d come up with gorgeous photos and microblog in some way. Instead I didn’t bother and just missed writing long form. Or long form nonesense. I mean come on. I post words and borrow stock photos. That’s definitely a signal that I’m more inclined to write vs post great images. I still love pretty things and I’m very visual. I will still try to clean, design and prettify this place while I’m on here. And having great photos is still an area I want to improve on for the blog.

I have many things I want to write about and I’m happy that I have this free place where I can shout Notice me! Notice me! Even if it has horrible ads popping randomly. Lol.

So that’s what’s going on for Kaharuhay.

As for me I had a very relaxing Christmas. My family isn’t super celebratory by Filipino standards. In terms of food, I wasn’t pressured because I knew that a Chinese dimsum place was open just incase. We ended up eating at a family friend’s place for Christmas dinner and didn’t have to cook at all.

Then my sister dragged her mattress to the living room and we all (except for hubby who watched The Office on his own) watched Eternal Love: Ten Miles of Peach Blossom on Netflix through Christmas Eve.

I went to work today but the fam was still hooked and when I got back they were on episode 38. Tonight, I got on Youtube and read a bunch of blogposts which made me happy and pushed me to write this one.

I think New Year’s Eve will be the same.

If you have any suggestions, comments, thoughts about blogging, domains, writing, the holidays and long winded epic Chinese dramas then feel free to post a comment. I hope you are enjoying the holidays whether you celebrate Christmas or not!



January Challenge Update: Doing My Make-up Daily



It’s surprising to me how I’m doing well in this challenge. I only had two days crossed off as not having done my make-up so far and it’s already past the third week of January! Maybe it’s because I welcomed this challenge in my routine and kept it simple. It also feels nice knowing that even if I make the wrong clothing choice, at least my face looks put together. Maybe I’ve finally come out with my hidden desire to take care of my looks and how I present myself. *insert sheepish smile here*

I don’t have major skin problems right now. There is the occasional pimple. I have sun spots on my cheeks. I’ve had these discolorations since college. They don’t bother me that much so my make-up is minimal. Drugstore products work fine for me and they compose my kikay kit except for the Bare Minerals tinted moisturizer. It glides on the skin smoothly and provides light luminous coverage. It doesn’t completely cover dark spots but gives the face a sheer glow. When it runs out, I will try the Loreal Lumi True Match foundation because it’s been recommended for dry skin types and is more affordable.

The cheapest product I have is a Daiso brow powder I bought on a whim! No skin irritations at all – I like it! Other eye products are a neutral palette of shadows, a Maybelline mascara and a drugstore lash curler. My favorite lipstick is Revlon’s Toast of New York, not pictured here. On the photo is a darker shade called Black Cherry and the red one bought on sale from The Face Shop. It’s one of their Collagen Ampoul Lipsticks in the shade Blood Red. These are not long wearing but I relish reapplying them. It makes me feel like a grown up! These are affordable lip products that don’t dry out my lips. I’ve used and loved Burt’s Bees lip balm for almost a decade.

I love trying out samples of luxury make-up and skin care products when I can. I’m just not prepared to spend a big amount on them if there are cheaper alternatives that work fine. I think this month’s challenge will be a successful one for being simple and unfussy.

adventure, places, travel

Tofino Stormwatching

This took me forever to write but here’s some info that may be useful for someone who wants to experience Tofino off-season.


Through the “Woods” and the Sea

Last year in November, Mr. Leading Man and I had this idea to see Tofino. Tofino is a town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. To get to it by car is convenient but commuting there is also simple. The trip can be divided into three legs though one can think of it as only two legs- a bus trip with a ferry ride in between. Here’s how we did it:

From Vancouver, we took the 7:15 a.m. Tofino Island Express from Pacific Central Station. We got our tickets in advance online (ferry tickets are not included). A minibus shuttled us from the station to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. The BC Ferries ticket from there to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island cost $17. This part takes two hours which we used to have a proper breakfast. An Island Express bus was already waiting at the Nanaimo arrival area for passengers. We handed the driver the bus tickets we’d kept and continued on. I personally like long bus rides and welcomed the next five hours staring outside as we weaved through trees and lakes.

The bus made a few stops along the way. The longest stop was in Port Alberni for a 20 minute break. Passengers have to decide whether they want to be inside or outside during this break because the bus will be locked. There is an old post office with red doors repurposed into a small grocery. The driver recommended their sandwiches. We decided to just get coffee in the café/bakery nearby.

tofino pacific central

Pacific Central Station – Vancouver, BC


Cabins by the Beach

Finally we arrived at around 3 p.m. at the bus depot in downtown Tofino. It was drizzling. Most surf and bicycle rental shops were closed. We rented our bicycles at a sweets store aptly named Candy Jar and cycled for a good twenty minutes along the highway to get to Ocean Village.

I found out about Ocean Village through a blogger who also found out from another blog. See! Those things work. Thanks to them because we loved the place. Our temporary home was in one of the well-equipped cabins facing Mackenzie Beach.  Towels and toiletries were provided except toothpaste. The washroom was supplied with Sea Wench body wash, shampoo and conditioner – all locally made. We were happy to find an efficient kitchen complete with a big fridge, microwave, stove, cookware, dishes and wine glasses.

tofino cabins

Grey skies

tofino 1

It looked better during sunrise.

tofino beach

BYOF or shop at the COOP

Hubby and I planned to cook some of our food. Due to our Pinoy gastronomic needs, we made sure to bring tocino and pre-marinated bangus (milk fish) for our breakfasts. For the rest of our meals, we bought the ingredients at the local Coop where the prices are understandably higher than in Vancouver.

tofino food

Budget food but make it fashion. That weird bit is tocino just in case you’re wondering.

We ate out sparingly. We had coffee and pastries at the Common Loaf café/bakery. Our only full meal out was at a restaurant called Sobo. Hubby ordered their Thai Chicken and I ordered the Fish Taco. My hubby’s order was a generous serving of flavorful chicken thighs marinated in soy sauce on top of vegetable citrus slaw with a side of peanut sauce. He ended up sharing it with me.

tofino common loaf


Freezing Water and Dogs

My husband rented surf gear from Live to Surf, a surf shop located along the Pacific Rim Hwy in a nook where there’s a bunch of other food places like Chocolate Tofino and Tacofino (we did not get to try these anymore). He was crazy enough to surf in uber freezing water. As for me, I began my career as surf photographer and videographer on that day. Haha kidding. I simply begged off from learning it and offered to be THE IG wife. I was  also happy to look out the ocean and watch the doggies playing on the shore.

tofino mon

tofino dog

Pet-friendly accommodations meant lots of doggies!




Going Back

On our return, we decided to take a cab to the bus station. The $10 was worth paying for the ease. We made sure we got it early because it was the only taxi in Tofino. Yes, there’s only one cab in Tofino. The driver recommended Common Loaf so we went there again and sent some postcards before getting on the bus back to Vancouver.

tofino tonquin

Tonquin Park

I enjoyed our stay in Tofino despite the weather. We only had one sunny day out of the three nights and four days we were there but we made good use of all our days. We cycled, hiked, cooked and ate. It was a nice break from the routine of work and home. Tofino might be entirely different in the summer. Perhaps livelier but we had a fine time during off-season just the same.

And that is it! As Tigger says, TTFN.