Monday, February 6, 2012

I Love Pasta!

Mi Amore La Pasta!

If there is one food in this world that I can eat for eternity, that would be any kind of pasta dish, in particular, spaghetti which I love ever since I was kid. Even if it was not cooked Italian style, as long as it is pasta in red sauce, I binge on it. I could care less if the red sauce was cooked in atchuete (a cooking seed ingredient used to give more color to food) which gives the pasta dish a more reddish look.

In my two years here in the UAE, I have cooked pasta dishes in red or white sauce more often than any other dish. However, this time I have tried something different with my pasta recipe. I just sauteed it in garlic, onions, red bell pepper, turkey bacon, and broccoli. Then flavored it with spices I have in the kitchen - basil, rosemary, oregano and chili flakes.  And it was good enough for my palate (it would have been nice to have white wine, a great combination I guess, probably next time). 

After cooking, I realized that cooking, like any other forms of art, is a skill that you need to practice, to enhance your creativity and be able to master your sense of taste. Like Photography, it is also a trial and error process to create the perfect picture or dish you desire at your heart's content.
Now I have two things that I need to focus on enhancing, my photography and my cooking skills.

- Josh

Thursday, January 5, 2012

7 Goals in the next 7 Years of MY Life

under the sunset sky
During the time I turned 30 years old. I have written down my plans that I would like to see myself accomplished in ten years time. I even indicated the age which I'm supposed to achieve or reach those goals. One of which is working overseas and learning how to drive. I was still trying to learn driving when I had the opportunity to work abroad. So my driving skills was put on hold for a while. I have achieved at least three of my plans, although not in the specified age I wanted it to be achieved, still it was within my 10 year life plan. 

But now it seems I need to recheck my 10 year plan and schedule. I will need to revise certain goals to make it in line with my present situation. As they say, the only permanent thing in this world is change. My environment changed, so as some of my views and plans.

Since I started working here in UAE, my eyes were opened to other possibilities, to greater opportunities which changed my perspective in life.  So here are my revised remaining plans to be achieved within the 7 years of my life, (I have noted down  the 3 life goals I have accomplished then the rest are revised plans) -

1) Work Overseas - This was one of my original life plans I have written on my 30th year of life. So I am very much glad that on my 31st year during the end of 2009, I was given the opportunity to work overseas, which is the country I am presently staying - UAE. 

2) Full Payment of my Parent's House - One thing I have promised myself that I will do before I settle down with a partner is to return the blessings my parents have given me all these years. I have always wanted to ensure that my parents are settled before I get married and have my own family. My parents have their own retirement plans, but it is my personal belief to include them in my plans whilst I am still single. I have accomplished this with paying the full amount of our house mortgage during the first quarter of 2011 and it is up to them now to plan on their retirement. I have peace in my heart that when I get married and settle down, my parents have a house they can call their own. 

3) Pursue a Hobby / Skill - On the 3rd quarter of 2011 I have decided to buy myself a DSLR camera - Nikon D90. My very first investment in pursuing my dream of becoming a photographer. I own a Canon D90 underwater point and shoot camera, but I have this itching desire in my heart to pursue buying a  DSLR, and it was a right decision. Then last December 2011, I have attended the basic photography workshop and have started the lucrative hobby of photography. Honestly, it is an expensive hobby so I am inclined to work on my skills and become a professional photographer rather than just a hobbyist. There are already workshops in the first quarter of 2012 which I intend to attend. 

Now, I have the remaining goals and plans which I hope I can accomplish by the time I reach 40, 7 plans in the next 7 years of my life -- 

4) Increase my Financial Income and Savings - Since I may have a growing family in the next few years of my life, I will definitely need to have my present income increase drastically. I am trying to find ways to increase my financial savings up to 30%, trying to learn the trades in stock market or bond investments. I am also looking for opportunity to increase my monthly earnings. If I may not be able to get it from my present company then I may need to find it someplace else. This is in progress now. 

5)  Learn to Drive - I have started learning to drive on manual before but I left the country.  I will definitely try to achieve it by the 2nd quarter of 2012 and get a driver's license in the UAE. Most cars here are automatic so I am hoping it will be an easy goal to complete.

6) Get a Diploma Course - I need to update my professional skills to help me improve in my present career. I guess I need to get extra training in computer or management courses. I am a wide reader and reading articles from Harvard Business Blog is very much helpful but I just need something more. Hope I can find a school in the UAE which offer basic management or diploma course. Something that I need to look into at the 2nd half of 2012.

7) Get Married - I want to have a baby and I never mind getting pregnant without the blessing of marriage. But recently, my philosophy in marriage have changed slightly. I want to get married before having children. I want my children to be conceived under the blessing of marriage. I don't want to experience getting married just because I am pregnant or become an unwed mother. I have no issues with it, in fact, if it happens then that is very fine with me.  But I just want it done differently and if given the opportunity to be married first then have children, then I would prefer it in that manner. This 2012, I have plans to achieved it later this year or may be by 2013, we'll have to wait and see.

8) Have MY TWINS - I have always wanted to have twins, one boy and one girl. Since I am not getting any younger, I may want to have 2 children right away in one pregnancy. Hoping I will be able to bear children right after I get married, so looking forward to seeing my twins in 2013 or by 2014.

9) Be an Entrepreneur or Investor - They said everyone can learn and become an entrepreneur. I have always wanted to put up my own business and this is actually in progress. I just needed to save for my capital in a few months, then I will invest in my parents business plan. But I see myself in 2015 putting up a business on my own.  I am giving myself 3 years to figure out what business I want to put up while saving up on a capital then decide. Most likely it will in the line of photography.

10) Buy A Farm Land - I wanted to have my own farm and since my partner is very much interested in the same, hoping I will be lucky enough to find a plot in Mindanao, Laguna or Batangas to buy at least 5 hectares of land for farming. I may need to save up for this until 2018 on my 40th year. Who knows it may be the greatest gift I will be giving myself on my 40th birthday or someone will be giving it to me as a gift (prayer is a such a powerful tool to make your dreams come true hehehe). 

In my 2 years in the UAE, it has been tough but 2010 and 2011 had been kind to me and helped me achieve most of my plans.  I try as much as I can not to complain too much as I have been very much blessed as well. But there are moments due to extreme stress and pressure, I break down and forget all the blessings that I have received. 

The start of my work year had not been great, but I will make sure to be more positive and be patient enough to wait for the right moment.  I will try my best to achieve my goals, stay focused and aim for the prize with God's grace and guidance. 

I have created these goals to help me focus on what I need to do with my life and give me direction. The road sometimes offer so many different routes to take and if you do not have a map or a proper GPRS, we may end up getting lost. There are still times, it is best to just drive where the road leads you, and I do that when my plans are not working the way I want it to be. I am flexible, I can adjust.

My plans are not carved on stone, I have created them to see a clear picture of my life's direction. It may change as life changes in time and change is inevitable. 

I look forward to a great 2012 and I have raised again to God all my remaining plans hoping it is the same plans He has for me. I believe in the power of positive thoughts and your thoughts shape the reality of your life. 

So I must be positive and think of great things to come in 2012! 

-- Josh