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Morning Reflections

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Good morning! I woke up at 2:00 am today. No matter how bad I want to get back to sleep, i couldn’t. I browsed Twitter and read some emails until 5:00 am, had coffee and started writing this blog. While sipping my coffee earlier, it made me reflect about what happened to me these past months. I mentioned on my previous posts that I left a 6 -year nursing career in Saudi Arabia and currently preparing for a new challenge else where. Guess what, I just got my visa yesterday and I’ll be travelling to the UK soon. Looking back, it wasn’t an easy process to get hired and get to this point where I am flying to London and be able to practice my profession there. It makes me smile remembering those days in Riyadh where I’m so bored with the routine and find my escape on hundreds of books. I will definitely continue reading once I’m settled in the UK. Right now though, I had to reduce my Goodreads reading challenge from 100 to 60 books. Anyway, I just find it amazing that things are working really well right now and I hope that this good fortune will continue. I am incredibly grateful to all the people who supported me all through out my application, specially to my family who have been patient and took care of me when I am going insane while studying for my exams. Exams aren’t really over though, going to the UK is just the beginning. I still have OSCE’s coming up, but I promise to maintain my positive outlook on any challenges ahead.

Above all, I’m grateful to the Lord for always guiding me and giving me strength when I needed it. For protecting me and loving me despite my flaws. Thank you so much.

I originally planned to blog about the entire visa application process, but I had to get this out of my head first. I’ll be posting about it shortly.

 

Novel

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Just my stuff

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What’s up guys!?! I’m sooooo bored. I should be studying, but, nahhh. I am just not in the mood. I need a distraction and here I am, blogging. Again.

I added a new tab on the blog menu entitled “New Things”, it’s all about stuff that I recently acquired. To start off, I want to show you the new notebook I got from Papemelroti. I’ve always loved Papemelroti because of their cute and unique designs. Plus, they are locally made and 100% recycled. They have all kinds of items that are perfect for giveaways and gifts. My personal favorite are their yearly planner. I got a notebook this time because I have lots of things to jot down lately. They celebrated their 50th anniversary last month, congratulations Papemelroti!

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Next, I got my new glasses the other day. It cost me an arm and a leg, just kidding. It was a lot more expensive than what I was expecting but, I like it. Honestly though, I made a mistake when I purchased the frame. I immediately started trying them on without checking the price! The sales lady was very helpful and even told me that there’s still a 20% discount, that should’ve been a warning sign. However, I forgot to ask the price until the last moment when they are asking me for a deposit. I paid it upfront though. I always get my eyeglasses from Good Vision Optical and all of my eye wear from their shop lasted for years. I just needed a new pair because I lost the last one while I was in La Union. The beach washed it away. My cousin accidentally knocked my frames out of my face while I was minding her in the beach. She had a lot of fun in the water, it’s just my luck that it happened when the waves reached us. It happened so fast, one moment everything was clear and then bam! My glasses fell off and it was gone. So sad. I’m legally blind, so, I can’t really go out without one. Luckily, I have a spare one (also from Good Vision Optical), but I decided to get an upgrade. It’s been more than a year since I had the lenses changed, the doctor advised me to get a new one before leaving the country again. So, I figured it’s time to get a new pair.

Lastly, I got a new bag pack! I will be travelling back to La Union this weekend and we might do some hiking. My cousin wants to see the falls somewhere in San Gabriel, La union. I hope it doesn’t rain so we can experience that. Well, I am dreading the hike but, I do like to see the falls. I am in no condition to hike. LOL. Anyway, I got the bag at SM Cubao for half the price. They were on sale, lucky me! It’s a Jellybeans bag. I really need it because my old bag is dilapidated, the zippers are falling off. It’s original price 499.75 PHP, I got it for 249.00 PHP. It’s a good deal.

So, there you go! I will try to post some of the free books I got from Amazon. It will be on a separate post but will be under the “New Things” category.

TBR: Midnight Labyrinth by Elizabeth Hunter

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Synopsis:

He’s one human caught in a tangled maze of theft, politics, magic, and blood.
 In other words, it’s just another night.


Benjamin Vecchio escaped a chaotic childhood and grew to adulthood under the protection and training of one of the Elemental world’s most feared vampire assassins. He’s traveled the world and battled immortal enemies.

But everyone has to go home sometime.

New York means new opportunities and allies for Ben and his vampire partner, Tenzin. It also means new politics and new threats. Their antiquities business is taking off, and their client list is growing. When Ben is challenged to find a painting lost since the second world war, he jumps at the chance. This job will keep him closer to home, but it might just land him in hot water with the insular clan of earth vampires who run Manhattan.

Tenzin knew the painting would be trouble before she laid eyes on it, but she can’t deny the challenge intrigues her. Human laws mean little to a vampire with a few millennia behind her, and Tenzin misses the rush of taking what isn’t hers.

But nothing is more dangerous than a human with half the story, and Ben and Tenzin might end up risking their reputations and their lives before they escape the Midnight Labyrinth.

MIDNIGHT LABYRINTH is the first book in an all new contemporary fantasy series by Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries and the Irin Chronicles.

Midnight-Labyrinth

Midnight Labyrinth is my most anticipated book of this year. I have always been an Elizabeth Hunter fan and I read everything she writes. The elemental series is my favorite and I can’t even remember how many times I’ve re read it. Anyway, yesterday Ms. Hunter released the first chapter of the book on her website and I am stoked. You guys, I’ve been waiting for BENZIN for years! I am grateful for the novellas Ms. Hunter fed us fans these past few years, but a full length novel… *cue tears* Wait, this is a full length novel right? Right?!? Well, It does say “An Elemental Legacy Novel” so… yeah. *happy dance*

Read Midnight Labyrinth Chapter One here.

For those who are new to the Elemental series, Ms. Hunter assures everyone that you need not to read the previous Elemental Legacy books (I highly recommend to read the entire series though). Midnight Labyrinth is a stand-alone novel.

Midnight Labyrinth is now available for pre-order, here are the links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vTuXtN

iBooks: http://apple.co/2gyESmr

B&N: http://bit.ly/2vAHyGM

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2vALPtX

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2esTdN7

The book will be available on the 7th of November. (Just two days before my birthday! It would be awesome to receive this book on my birthday, haha!)

Add Midnight Labyrinth on your goodreads TBR here.

Vacation!

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Good day!!! How was your weekend? It’s a long weekend here in the Philippines so, many people are still sleeping in or on their vacation. I just got back from a three-week holiday myself. I am excited to tell you the places I visited with my family. Before I do that though, I would just like to send a shout out to my wonderful sister. Hello Ate Melissa! Thank you so much for my new Kindle Paperwhite. I’m in love with my new reader!

My Aunt and my cousin arrived in the Philippines on August 3 from the UK, we traveled to La Union that night. La Union is our second home here in the Philippines. It is a province in Region I in which both my parents came from. They were born and raised there. My father did not join us on this trip because we have pets at home and there’s no one else who can look after them. Anyway, it was a 6-7 hour trip from Manila to La Union. We arrived in San Juan, La Union on the 4th of August. Our first week in La Union was kind of a blur. We often go to the beach and eat local food that we all missed. However, the highlight of the week was Andrea’s (my cousin) first communion at St. Joseph Church in Quirino, Bacnotan, La Union. My cousin is supposed to attend a week long seminar, but, my cousin was an over achiever, she already memorized all the prayers and learned the lectures earlier (she goes to a Catholic school), so, she didn’t have to do the seminar. She had her first Communion the following day after her Confession. This is big deal for every Catholics, so, we had a small party for Andrea after her first communion.

Me and Andrea at the beach!

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St. Joseph Church at Quirino, Bacnotan

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Andrea’s First Communion

On our second week, my Aunt Teresa decided to travel back to Manila so that we can visit some sites they’ve been planning to check out. They opted to stay in our house in Rizal, which is good because we have unlimited internet access in our house, unlike in our place in La Union when you can barely get a signal. Anyway, we had lunch at Barrio Fiesta in Ali Mall ( One of my favorite restaurants in Cubao) then we visited The Venice Grand Canal Mall in Taguig. We used Grab taxi, which made the travel more convenient and comfortable. After that, we went to the Art in Island in Cubao, we hired a Grab Taxi again. The driver was quite funny, he made our travel interesting despite the traffic.

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Our last week in La Union was all about food and swimming. My goodness, we went to the beach almost everyday. However, the only day I got sunburned was when we went swimming at the Puerto de San Juan Theme Park. We also went Grape picking at Bauang, La Union, and on the same day, we visited the Poro Point Baywalk. My cousin, Rose Ann brought us at Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa where we had dinner. The view was magnificent. On the 19th of August, my uncle celebrated his 60th birthday. It was an advance party because his actual birthday was on the 22nd. We had so much fun, and we went home with full bellies. The food was amazing.

That sums up my three-week vacation. I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Novel

Leaving KSA? End of Contract Letter, Exit Letter and a No Objection Certificate Sample.

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Yours truly at the Riyadh Gallery.

Happy Sunday everyone! How are you doing? I woke up early today, as usual. A friend of mine asked me to write a No Objection Certificate for her because she is planning to leave Saudi Arabia soon. Previously, she also asked me to help her regarding her Exit Letter. Usually, when a contract in the country (KSA) ends and the employee no longer want to continue working for the same company, an employee is required to write an End of Contract Letter. It should be given to your employer atleast two months before your contract ends. However, if you want to leave the country before your contract ends, an exit letter may be required. Depending on your contract, fees may or may not be collected when an employee ends the working relationship.

Here is an example of a End of Contract Letter:

Date: ___________

 

Address Line 1

Address Line 2

Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia

 

To whom it may concern;

I am writing this correspondence in order to inform you of my decision to not renew my contract as a (your job title) from (your employer/company name). My final working day will be on (Month/Day/Year).

Working at (your employer/company name) has been both a rewarding and satisfying experience. I wish the best of luck and success to you and my fellow employees.

Yours respectfully,

(Your Name)

 

Here is an example of an Exit Letter:

Date: ___________

 

Address Line 1

Address Line 2

Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia

 

To whom it may concern;

I am writing this correspondence in order to notify you of my decision to end my contract as a (your job title) from (your employer/company name). I will not elaborate my reason for coming up with this decision but know that it is purely due to family matters.

Working at (your employer/company name) has been both a rewarding and satisfying experience. I wish the best of luck and success to you and my fellow employees.

Yours respectfully,

(Your Name)

A No Objection Certificate is a letter that most recruitment agencies today will ask an ex-Saudi applicant. This will act as a certificate of good standing for non-professionals. It will show that the company you worked for was satisfied with your performance and that they don’t have any complaints or legal issues against you.

In some companies, you will only need to request a COE and NOC from them and they will do it for you. However, in smaller companies, it is the employee who writes them and the manager will sign it for you. For an NOC to be valid, it should also be stamped and verified at the Chamber of Commerce for 25 SAR.

Here is an example of a No Objection Certificate:

Date:

To Whom It May Concern;

This is to certify that (Your Complete Name), Filipino citizen, and bearer of Iqama No. 0000000000, Passport No. 123456789, worked for (your employer/company name) as a (your job title) from July 2016 – July 2017.

This certificate is issued upon the request of (Your Name) for whatever purpose it may serve him/her.

As per labor rules and regulations, we have NO OBJECTION for him/her to render his/her services any where in KSA.

General Manager:

_______________________________

Signed: (Name of Signatory)

(Company Name)

I hope this helps! If you have questions or suggestions, please leave a message at the comment box.

Novel

IELTS Tips: Is it possible to get a good band score if you self study?

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First of all, I will not recommend for anyone to book their IELTS too soon. If you’re not confident about your English proficiency yet, don’t book it. However, if you are on a deadline, go ahead and do it, but make sure that you give an ample time for you to study. In my opinion, two weeks should be long enough provided that you follow a strict review schedule.

To start of, you need to assess your strength and weaknesses. Do practice tests online. There are plenty of free youtube videos that provides listening practice tests. For reading and writing practices, you can check out blogs like ieltsliz.com or engvid.com, they have plenty of practice tests you can try. For speaking, try to speak for 4 minutes non-stop about a certain topic. Make sure that you record it. You can later listen to it and check for mistakes and how you can improve it.

After doing practice tests, evaluate the results. Which section did you find difficult? In my case, I find it challenging to write two essays within one hour. Also, I found out that I use a lot of fillers when I speak non-stop and my vocabulary is between average to above average. Initially, prior to doing the practice tests, I thought I wouldn’t have any problems regarding the listening and reading sections of IELTS because I am an avid reader and I watch a lot of BBC documentaries. However, It made me a little bit nervous when I stumbled upon True/False/Not Given questions in the reading section during the practice tests. I find them confusing. The matching type questions can also be tricky and time consuming. With the listening practice tests, my only problem is my lack of focus. My mind tend to drift away while listening to the recording.

After finding out my weaknesses, I planned a study calendar to help overcome them. Create a review calendar that you can use as a guide everyday. I followed the guide for two weeks, studying for 8-10 hours a day. I know it’s a little bit inconvenient specially for those who are working full time. In my case, I already resigned from my Nursing job that’s why I have the time to study.  So, it’s important to make a review guide that fits your schedule. My calendar is filled with subjects that I need to focus on such as practice writing and speaking. I also scheduled mock tests that mimics the actual test. The mock tests helped me improve my writing under time pressure.

Many people opt to go to a review center prior to taking the IELTS. That’s a pretty good way to prepare for the exam too albeit a little expensive. The advantage of going to a review center than self studying is that there are mentors who can correct your mistakes. If you self study, you have to figure out what’s the problem and fix it yourself. Again, if you are not confident doing it on your own, go ahead and sign up for review sessions at your local IELTS review center.

It is possible to get a good band score even if you self study. You just need to be well disciplined in following your review schedule and must be willing to sacrifice your time for studying.

If you have more UKVI IELTS questions and suggestions, please leave a message at the comment box.

Have a great day ahead!

Novel

IELTS, NMC CBT, UK Application

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It’s been a while… I know! I’ve been busy. I left Saudi Arabia for good on April 12 2017. Before leaving Riyadh, my last two months in the Kingdom was hectic. I never had the time to blog or read books. I’m at work for 12 hours straight, and when I’m home, I always sleep in. Anyway, I finally have time to blog today. Hello!

So, I arrived in Manila on April 13th and I’ve been busy since then. Weird right? I’m supposed to be resting after ending a 6 year nursing career overseas, but I decided to take my IELTS exam as soon as I can. At first, my plan was to take the exam two or three months later. However, I received an email from an agency I applied to that there will be an interview for a nursing position bound to UK. They also informed me that they will include me on the interview list IF I book my UKVI/IELTS. I was like, “Okay then, I don’t have anything else to do anyway.” Then I booked the earliest available schedule… Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. I only gave myself two weeks to prepare for the exam. Luckily, I got the band score I needed and immediately registered at the Nursing Midwifery Council. I received the approval to take the exam at Pearson Vue and I booked another exam. Again, I made an insane decision to take the exam two weeks later. I studied 12 hours a day for two weeks. Crazy right? Fortunately, I got the result on the same day and I passed.

To complete my registration at NMC, I need to submit some documents and forms to them and I have to wait for the assessment period which could take up to 70 days. I just completed all the forms and I’m currently waiting for them to confirm that they have received my documents. I hope they receive everything by next week.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing these past few weeks. Now that I have time, I’m trying to catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge and I’m considering writing a fan fiction.

Wishing you all a great weekend,

Novel

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