An Angel in Heaven

Earlier, my husband and I were watching the movie ‘God’s Not Dead.’ The movie is about faith, about believing or not believing in God.

There is one character in the movie that I can totally relate. The professor, Jeffrey. The character lost his mom when he was young, he prayed to God to spare her mom’s life. To let her mom live, but God did not hear his prayers. His mom died, and after that, he hated God.

The reason why I can totally relate with him is because last year, I prayed to God to spare someone as well. I prayed day and night. I prayed fervently and even said I am willing to do everything just for an answered prayer. Yes, I was that desperate. I was that desperate to spare that someone’s life. Someone really close to me. Someone I would do everything for. Someone I know I can’t afford to lose. My daughter.

Just like Professor Jeffrey’s story though, God did not hear my prayers as well.

Have you ever had a dream that was shattered? If you haven’t, then allow me to describe it for you. It is like looking at a perfect, flawless creation, that all of a sudden shatters and breaks into pieces. Tiny, minute particles, that you know you can’t put back together. No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you pursue, there is no way of putting it back together as it is already shattered beyond repair. That is exactly how I felt June last year when they said my baby is sick. I can’t accept it. I can’t understand. My brain just failed to recognize that my dream, even if it is so close, still can’t be mine.

May 3, 2017. My husband and I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. We were so happy. We were actually beyond happy. We were ecstatic. We immediately called our doctor for a check-up. Everything seemed fine, she said. No chances of our baby getting sick. My husband and I are young and healthy so it is almost sure our baby will be okay. As per procedure though, she still told us to go for an ultrasound so they can check if there is a fluid in the back of my baby’s neck, which would tell if the baby has chromosome defect or none.

On the day of the ultrasound, my husband and I were very excited. We will hear our baby’s heartbeat, we will see her! When my name was called, I almost leaped out of excitement. We first listened to the heartbeat, it was perfect! It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. Then time to see her. I swear I could see my baby’s face. I could see how perfect she was. She was waving at us! She was dancing! Like she was telling us she is happy to see us.  But it all faded. My world started spinning… I felt sick… I couldn’t breathe… the last thing I remember hearing was…’Your baby is sick…’

I didn’t know what to say to the nurse. I couldn’t understand anything that she was saying. Luckily my husband was there with me. Apparently, the doctors wanted to do another test to be sure whether my baby is indeed sick or not. I need another blood test and CVS. They said CVS will hurt and they can’t use anesthesia. I said yes instantly. I will do everything for my baby. Anything, everything.

The moment my husband and I got home, I broke down to tears. I could feel my heart breaking a million times over and over again. I have never felt this pain before. I have never felt this hopeless. Then, I prayed. I prayed like I have never prayed my entire life. I asked God one thing, to spare my baby’s life. I asked God, to heal my baby. I asked God to let me hold my baby.

Every day, every moment after that day, I just had that one prayer.

Then came the day for my CVS. The doctors started the orientation and told me to prepare for the pain. They will insert a long needle on my tummy without anesthesia and practically stab me a hundred time to get a sample of my placenta so they can check it. I needed strength before the pain so I prayed and then asked them if I can listen to my baby’s heartbeat again. There is it goes again, that beautiful melody. And just like that, I was ready to have the CVS.

The doctor said I should be still, even if it hurts, I can’t move because one move might hurt the baby. She told me to look away, but I didn’t want to. I watched her insert what seemed like a 12 inches long needle and stab me over and over again. It was no doubt painful, but my attention was focused on the monitor. I have to make sure she doesn’t hurt my baby. My baby should never be hurt. After minutes more of continuous stabbing, she said it’s done. My doctor said, I did really well. She had never had a patient like me who did not even flinch. In my mind, I wanted to tell her to just continue stabbing me if it’ll heal my baby, even if she skin me alive, I will not cry. Yes, I was that desperate to save my baby.

I was at the office when I got a call 2 weeks after the tests. It was from the hospital. I couldn’t remember much but the call ended with the nurse saying, ‘It’s trisomy 18, which means she is not compatible with life. I’m sorry.’

I went outside the office. I walked a few meters away from the building until I reached the pathway. I sat on the grass, under the tree and cried hard, so hard that I could feel my chest bursting. How can this happen to me? Why is this happening to me? Why my baby? WHY?

I talked to my little one, all attention focused on my tummy. I told her, ‘I love you. I love you. I love you. You know I did everything I could baby, You know how much I love you. You know I would do everything for you. I fought as hard as I can, but I lost baby. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’

 

I felt like a wreck. I do not know what to do. I am so lost. And so I prayed, I asked God why didn’t He listen to me. Why didn’t He answer my prayers? I have always been faithful, I always go to the church, I serve in the church, I always share my blessings. One favor, one prayer. That is all I asked of Him but He did not listen. I felt like He abandoned me.

I would be a hypocrite if I say I have accepted what God planned for my baby and I. But that is not true, not at all. That night I talked to my husband, I asked him if God hates me. Why didn’t he listen to my prayer? Why is he punishing me? My husband told me he has no answers as well. He just know that this is just a trial. So we prayed together, we prayed our longest and most painful prayer. We asked for a miracle. But in the end, we just said we will surrender to him and let His will be done.

We know that there is another test we have to overcome together. We have to make a choice for our little one, and we did. I know that choice is something I will never forgive myself for. But I have to do it. I have to do it for my little one. And I did. You have no idea how many times I asked God to remove the cup from me. For Him to just do it, instead of I giving the consent. Even up to the very last minute, I still prayed, but the answer was no.

August 3, 2017, my angel went to heaven.

My baby is gone. And as I held her tiny body in my arms, my husband and I offered a prayer to God. Up until now, we still pray the same. Send our love to heaven.

I kissed my baby gently and whispered I love you, and then she took her last breath.

Silence. Numbing silence.

You see, I never had the courage to tell this to a lot of people. Only selected few knew about my pregnancy. I couldn’t bear to tell this story, not because it is horrible. But because it was beautiful, it’s just that it ended all too soon.

Yes, it easy to hate God if something didn’t happen as we planned, but I know my baby would like us to keep the faith. And despite it ending too soon, we are still thankful we saw our baby, our angel, Samantha Nicole.

After reading this, please don’t say condolence. Instead, say congratulations. Congratulations because my husband and I now have an angel in heaven.

PS

Sorry for all of the typos. I am really emotional right now. Please continue praying for us. 🙂

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Inviting family and friends in Denmark

Life in Denmark is good. I am not saying living here means we are wealthy. What I am saying is, we have enough of what we need here, provided of course you have the job to support it.

Having been born and raised in the Philippines, I can see a huge difference on the situation of living here compared to where I grew up in. Given that, I have an innate longing to let my friends and family experience what I experience here.

So every time I have the chance, I invite them for a visit here. I do not pay for my friends application, rather, I act as their host while they are here in Denmark.

With the recent changes in rules and regulations here in Denmark, it can be tricky to invite people. But it is very do-able. As a matter of fact, my husband and I have invited quite a few number of people already.

Here are the things that you have to know first.

  1. Be familiar with the VFS Denmark- Manila website. This site will tell you everything that you need so make sure you go through this site thoroughly.
  2. Since you are inviting friends/ family members, it is given that they will stay with you so they should choose FRIEND/FAMILY VISIT. If in case they will not stay with you, then they must choose TOURISM WITH HOTEL.

NOTE:

*Application is applicable in case you are travelling for visit boyfriend, girlfriend, partner and        fiance.

A visa grants you the right to spend a maximum of 90 days per 6 months (180 days) from the entry date in the Schengen region and should you choose, you can also apply for a multiple entry visa.

  1. They have to fill-up the VISA application form and make sure that all fields are properly filled.
  2. You have to fill out the invitation form. Make sure as well that you have filled out all of the fields.
  3. Visa Fee. There is a difference between applying in Cebu and Manila in terms of the visa fee. See below.
    2017-10-18 18_56_50-Denmark Visa Information - The Philippines - Visa Types - Short Stay - Friend_ P
  4. Checklist. In order to check if they have everything, make sure that they print our this checklist and verify if they have everything.

    checklist

Now that you know those things, here is the application process (for applicant):

  1. Go to the VFS Denmark- Manila website and download the VISA APPLICATION FORM and CHECKLIST.
  2. Fill out the application form.
  3. Prepare all the needed documents for the application including the invitation form.
  4. Schedule an appointment to pass the application. You can also opt for walk-in. But do note that walk-in applicants are accepted only until 9:00am.
  5. Go the VFS Demark office to submit your application. Remember to bring cash for the visa fee.

Note: Here are the documents/things you need to bring to VFS.

  • Visa application form
  • Checklist
  • Visa application fee
  • Invitation letter
  • Photo copy of invitee’s passport and residence permit
  • Itinerary
  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Ticket reservation

You can also bring other documents that you think might help in your application

  • Birth certificate
  • Letter of employment
  • Business registration
  • Property titles

The processing time for the visa is around 2 weeks so just be patient. Once available, they will send you a message to pick up the visa.

For the inviting party:

  1. Fill out the invitation form properly. Do not forget to sign it.
  2. Send a copy of your passport and residence permit to the applicant because they need to submit that as well to the embassy.

Here are the links that you need to remember: 

VFS DENMARK- http://www.vfsglobal.com/Denmark/Philippines/index.html

Invitation form:  http://www.vfsglobal.com/Denmark/Philippines/pdf/VU2_form_141217.pdf

Checklist: http://www.vfsglobal.com/Denmark/Philippines/pdf/Visit-Other-Relatives-And-Friends.pdf

Visa application form: http://www.vfsglobal.com/Denmark/Philippines/pdf/Schengen_Visa_Application_Form.pdf

 

Goodluck! I hope your application gets approved! 🙂 ❤

 

 

How to Prevent Theft

“Pas på lommertyver.”

When you take the public transport here in Copenhagen, you must be very familiar of that line.

Translated, it means, “Beware of pickpockets”!

Pickpockets in Copenhagen. Yup, there are thieves in Copenhagen, just like there is in any other cities around the world! Unfortunately though,  the number of pick-pocketing cases have risen the past years. As a matter of fact, organized group thieves are already working here in the city.

So, what can you do to avoid losing your valuables? Let me give you these tips.

Oh wait, you might be thinking, who is this woman? How dare she give me an advice on how to avoid pickpockets? Well, for one, I was born and raised in the Philippines and have lived in Manila for a long time. If you don’t get the point, let me be more clear. If you walk on the streets of Manila looking all rich and fancy, you’ll go home a pauper. No wallet, no phone, no nothing. Nada! I am not proud to say this but I lost my iPhone two times in a row in Manila and my wallet was taken out of my very own hands right in front of our condominium gates. So, it is safe for me to say, I learned my lessons. And I became more vigilant everywhere I go.

Back to the tips.

  1. Make sure your bag is properly closed. Don’t ever think that since you are in Copenhagen you can just go around the city with a widely open bag! Copenhagen Isn’t as safe as it used to be so better zip that bag properly or risk losing your valuables.
  2. When biking, make sure to tie your bag to the bike handle. Biking is very popular in this country. People bike going to the office or to school. Of course bikes are better when they have baskets, but do remember though to tie your bag on the handle so that it’ll not be snatched while you are biking. Yes, it happens. Bags do get snatched here, so be warned. Or buy one of those luggage ties to make sure your bag is safe.
  3. Don’t just leave your bag anywhere. Make sure you are holding your bag all the time or keeping it close. If you are in a public place never ever keep it out of your site. Avoiding theft
  4. When wearing a sling bag, put the bag in front of you. I mean, need I say more? The greatest opportunities for thieves is when you bag is behind you. You sure don’t have an eye on the back of your head so you will never see if they are already working their magic.
  5. When wearing a backpack, use a small padlock. 
  6. Don’t put your wallet or phone on your back pocket. If you do, make sure to have a chain. Regardless whether your wallet is as thick as this or not, be ready to say goodbye to your wallet once you put it in the back pocket.wallet-cash-credit-card-pocket

For group of organized thieves:

  1. If they are locking you in the middle, break free. I do not care if you have to push them (lightly), break free. Do not let them corner you. Just say ‘unskyld’ after. 🙂 ❤
  2. Call 114. If you really feel threatened, put your phone into good use before they actually try to steal it.
  3. Scream! I actually did this before. A group of girls were trying to corner me and felt so unsafe. So I screamed at the other girl who didn’t look so tough and they all ran off. I don’t care if your mom told you not to curse, but this is your time to say words your mom will not be proud of!

Truth is, some of these tips might help (or not). But what I am very certain with one thing that will work, VIGILANCE. Your valuables are your responsibility. If you do not want them stolen, make sure you are taking precautions to avoid it.

If, this will not work for you, nothing ever will. Time to take that insurance for all of your items.

PS

If you are really paranoid already, try getting yourself one of those anti- theft bag. I’m sure they are a big help, not unless of course you forget them on the train. ❤ 🙂

Day Trip to Helsingborg from Copenhagen

My husband and I are a fan of traveling. But this Easter, we failed to plan our trip because of many different reasons. But this did not stop us from planning a quick getaway trip. Our destination, Helsingborg, Sweden.

Okay, so truth be told, we did not plan this trip. It is a very spontaneous trip, a thing that my husband and I are very good at.

The moment we woke up, we decided to go to Helsingborg. I called a friend and asked and he wants to go with us. He gladly said yes. We decided to meet up at the Central Station.

I brought another friend with me so there were four of us. We took the Regional Train going to Helsingor. We used our Rejsekort since it so much cheaper to use rather than buying per zone.

When we arrived at Helsingor, we went to the ticketing booth for Scandlines and bought our tickets there. The round trip ticket costs 57kroner. A single journey ticket is 39 kroner.

FullSizeRender 8
On the ferry on the way to Helsingor.

The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes. We arrived there around noon so we decided to have lunch first. We ate in an Indian restaurant which was surprisingly cheap but good. Before you go on judging why we did not eat meatballs, do remember we went there on  Good Friday so some shops were close. :p

After lunch, we head towards Kārnan. The place is super nice and it is overlooking the whole Helsingborg. We took a lot of pictures and sat there for a bit before we head to the Municipal Hall. Some of you might wonder why we did not go to the garden behind the Kārnan, the answer, allergies. Do not ask who has allergies to the pollen if you value your life.haha

FullSizeRender 5
Kārnan.

We strolled around the city a bit more and then we decided to go back to Denmark. BUT that is not the end of out trip to Sweden. Because we have been very busy editing and looking at the pictures we took, we failed to get out of the ferry in Helsingor. So, the conductor told us with a smile, to just enjoy the ride.

IMG_0357
A little cheesy pose in front of the City Hall.

FullSizeRender 3

He was amazing and very kind. He did not even make us pay again for the trip. SO 20 minutes later, we found ourselves yet again in Sweden, of course on the same ferry. After 10 minutes, we are still on the same ferry, en route again to Helsingor.

It is my friends visit Helsingor so we walked around the city. We first checked out the ‘Mer-man’ and then Kronborg then visited the walking street then head back to Copenhagen.

It was a short but very amazing trip. The best part, of course, the fact that we each spent just around 250 kroners only.

Here is our itinerary if you want to follow it.

Copenhagen to Helsingor TRAIN- (Rejsekort) 45 kroner
Helsingor- Helsingborg FERRY-  (Round Trip) 57 kroner

Places we visited in Helsingor

Kronborg Castle
Merman
Walking Street

I hope you’ll have fun as much as we did! 🙂

Here are more of our pcitures. 🙂 ❤

Cherry Blossoms in Copenhagen

Spring! It is that time of the year again when those beautiful pink flowers blossom.

Here in Copenhagen there are plenty of location you can visit to see these beautiful flowers and at the same time relax with your loved ones.

Hint: most of them involves the word CEMETERY.

  1. Bispebjerg Kirkergård. This is the first cemetery that you must visit when you want to check out the cherry blossoms. There is one part of the cemetery where the trees are all lined up and it is simply beyond amazing! Try to go there as early as you can though because this place is pretty popular. It can get pretty crowded from 11:00 onwards, which means taking a picture of the cherry blossoms will be a bit challenging.

    Address:
    Bispebjerg Kirkegård
    Frederiksborgvej 125
    2400 København NVblogger in denmarkRead: Cherry Blossoms in the Cemetery

  2. Langelinie. Langelinie is famous for being the home of The Little Mermaid. But, there is so much more to see in Langelinie than just that beauty. Every April, people are gathered here to see the Cherry Blossoms. As a matter of fact, the annual Sakura Festival in Copenhagen is held here. But this year will be a little more special than the rest because this year marks the 150th anniversary of Danish- Japanese Diplomatic Relations.

    the probing wife

    Address:
    Langeliniekaj 2
    2100 København

    The date for the Sakura Festival:
    April 29-30, 2017

  3. Vestre Kirkegård. This cemetery is located close to the zoo in Frederiksberg so if ever you feel like going to the zoo and check out cherry blossoms at the same time this place is perfect for you. 🙂 The cherry blossoms here are not as grand and many as those in Langelinie and Bispebjerg Kirkegaård but this cemetery is equally beautiful so give it a try. 🙂

    I am Asian so visiting cemeteries is very sacred for me. In our culture, we simply do not go to cemeteries just because we want to take pictures of trees or to have a picnic. The Asian in me is saying, ‘Ghosts will probably join me in this selfie’ but, I have to learn to live like a local too. Visiting and hygge in cemeteries are usual for Danes, so give it a try as well.

    I truly just pray that the ghosts will not hygge with me or even join my selfies.

Why I Smile Every Time I Enter the Office

 

Every morning when I arrive at the office, my officemates would wonder why I am so happy. No matter how depressing the weather is outside, (This is Denmark. Winter is really depressing here) the moment I go to the office, I am beaming.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not crazy nor am I pretending to be happy. I am really happy.

I work as a Marketing Lead for Athliit. It is a growing international start-up SaaS company and just like any other start-up company, it is filled with pressure and mountains of tasks with a lot of dependencies that needs to be delivered. BUT despite all these, I look forward every day to going to the office.

Why? Because the company provides me with the work-life balance I need. During office hours, I am faced with a lot of pressure and deadlines BUT the moment the clock strikes 16:00, I stop whatever I am doing and start to pack my bag and go home.

I was born and raised in the Philippines where the work culture is very different. Your boss expects you to work overtime and will really shout at you if they are under pressure. Luckily, the working condition here in Denmark is not like that. Everyone is treated equally and really well.

Our company’s tagline is We make it easy and fun. And we truly live with that line. We make it easy and fun to do a multitude of tasks and a crazy deadline by simply having a company culture that values everyone.

But who knows, one day my company might not need me anymore and they have to let go of me. If that time comes, however, I would be happy to say that I know what kind of company I want to work for. I know my worth as an employee because Athliit taught me that.

What about you? Do you smile as well every time you go to work? I sure hope so! If not, maybe it’s time for you to think about what makes you really happy. Ask yourself, are you surviving or are you living?

🙂

Buying an Apartment in Denmark

Tired of paying a huge amount every month for the rental of your apartment? Well, we feel you. My husband and I just moved here January last year. And since he was an off-shore consultant that time, we didn’t have to worry about the rent. But after his contract ended, we decided to stay here for good and that means we have to get our own place.

We started looking for apartments and we were dumbfounded by the cost of renting one. Those that are in the city center cost around 11-13,000 DDK for a tiny 1 bedroom apartment and the deposit fee is 5 months minimum with no guarantee of return even if you give back the apartment in an amazing condition which sadly happened to our friends.  I am sure there are prices that are cheaper but it is extremely hard to find one.

So my husband and I just decided to buy our own apartment instead. A friend of ours offered us a room to crash while we are looking for our own, and we are extremely grateful because it gave us more opportunity to save up for the downpayment.

We will move into our new place this February and we are beyond excited! If you want to buy your own place as well, here are the things that we did.

Here are the steps on how to buy your own apartment/house:

1. Check out websites and start looking for the house/apartment you want. You can’t believe the number of apartment listings we check out every day. We tried to filter our search but it didn’t help that much. We have decided to go for ejerleglidhed, minimum of 2 bedrooms and within Gladsaxe Kommune, but the options are still so many! But do not be bothered, the more options the better! Just be very patient and enjoy the experience. 🙂 Here are some things we ask the real estate agents every time we check and apartment. a. How old is the apartment b. are there schools and grocery nearby c. heating d. common fee for the building.

Here are the websites we checked out.

Home.dk

Danbolig
Mæglercomaniet.dk (this is where we got our apartment from)

boligsiden.dk

boliga.dk

edc.dk

2. Start searching for banks. This may seem like an easy process. Not. It is really not that easy to find a bank that will give you a low down payment because you are an expat. At least this is based on our experience. They have this fear that expats can just leave and they’ll be in big trouble so they will always ask for a bigger downpayment, more than what is mandated by the law which is 5%. But I have some recommendations for banks as well. Ours is Arbejdenes Landsbank in Herlev, they are beyond amazing, really! You can also try Jysk and then another expat recommended Nordea as well. Surprisingly, they gave him an amazing deal. The bank that really asked too much from us was Danske Bank. But I am not discouraging you from checking them out, although if I were you I will manage my expectations.

Here are the requirements you are required to give the bank.

  • Yellow card/CPR number
  • residence card
  • payroll slip (3 months)
  • recent bank statement
  • insurance (if applicable)

3. Get an approval from the Justice Ministry. If you have been here in Denmark for less than 5 years, you have to send an email to the Justice Ministry asking for permission to buy a property. But don’t be worried. This step is actually really simple. Once you have decided which house/apartment you would really love to buy, tell the real estate personnel about it so they can ‘reserve’ the property for you and send an email to the Justice Ministry stating what will you be using the property for and attach your yellow card and residence permit. Wait for 2 weeks and you will get the decision.

4. Meeting with the bank. You have to meet with the bank that you have chosen and discuss the terms of your loan. This will be a long and grueling meeting so come prepared. Also, ask all the questions that you can think of to you loan handler, it will really help you have more idea of what to expect in the months to come. Oh, in this meeting you will discuss whether you will go for a fix or variable loan so start learning more about these two now and decide which do you think is better for you.

5. Get a lawyer. Your lawyer will process everything for you and make sure that you get the most out of the deal. The lawyer will also make sure that you are getting your money’s worth because he/she will do a thorough background check of the property and advise you if this is a good buy or not. If you have a lawyer and then the deal will not fall through because the bank for some reason declined it or something, your lawyer will make sure that you will not be held responsible as well. I know that getting a lawyer here in Denmark but we found a really good one but cheapest price possible. The usual price for a lawyer here is 10,000 DKK. We got ours half of that price. 🙂

Here are the details of our lawyer. Kindly tell him you were referred by Hannah, so he will give you teh same rate as he gave us.

Jeppe Steen Hansen, Advokatfuldmægtig

T: +45 50 78 20 70      

M: jsh@mettehojberg.dk

And then, you will wait…Just wait for the turnover. ❤

I hope this helps. 🙂 Feel free to comment if you have any question or if you need help. 🙂

 

…because wives probe more than the FBI. :)

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