Requirements for a visa (for family members of EU citizen)

freedom of movement in the EU

For a visa to be issued on the basis of Directive 2004/38/EC, only the following requirements need to be satisfied:

  1. The visa applicant is a direct “family member” of an EU citizen and has proof  (marriage or birth certificate or some combination) of the relationship)
  2. The visa applicant will be travelling with, or joining, the EU citizen for a visit or permanent move to an EU member state.  (If they are going to the “home” country of the EU citizen, then there can be a requirement that the EU citizen had previously lived/worked in a different member state)
  3. All travellers require a passport (or a national ID card for the EU citizen)

These are the legal requirements for all of the EU/EEA member states, including all Schengen members, the UK, Ireland, Romania and Bulgaria.  They also apply for Switzerland

If the family member has a “Residence Card for…

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What’s It Like To Be an Introverted Teacher

After our professional development training last Wednesday, one local teacher (Indonesian) asked me why I don’t hang out with my Filipino colleagues. Told her the truth: “I don’t want to, it’s draining sometimes.” It’s not exclusive to Filipinos by the way. I regularly turned down party invites back in Thailand, because, well. I like spending time with my boy and clean the house (I kid you not).

It’s not their fault, nor mine. It’s just I do get drained when I hang out with people, especially those who don’t get it. Sometimes it can even be like “go away”. I’m an introvert and possibly the most boring woman you’ll ever know.

Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I am not shy too. I can razzle dazzle people in presentations. I can host a party. I can party! I hold an interesting, long conversation. My colleagues think I’m funny and bubbly. Hell, I am a teacher, which gives me an opportunity to be in front of the crowd for seven solid hours everyday. However, I have to say, it can tiring. I don’t hang around after school most of the time, by home time, I pack my bag and leave the room to head home because nothing beats the freedom of being able to lounge around in your undies while lying on the couch, eating chocolate coated digestives. Do yoga. Meditate. Work out.

What’s the difference between introversion and shyness? According to Susan Cain, “Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it’s just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best. Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that’s really a misperception. Because actually it’s just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers. Now, shyness, on the other hand, is about a fear of negative social judgment. So you can be introverted without having that particular fear at all, and you can be shy but also be an extrovert”

My brother and I talked recently and he was moaning about how people get to waste his time by “doing them a favor by saying yes when they ask you to hang out with them and end up sacrificing some beliefs or protocol when it comes to social situations” or basically saying “I don’t like what you’re doing, I’ll just go home now to surf the net”. He claims people think that going out with friends and family is a great fun thing but no, not for him (for us). We’d rather be at home with our books, internet and laptop.

I am grateful that my boyfriend is the same. We get each other (I think we are meant to be together because of this!) and we have the same needs. I don’t mind when the house gets quiet too as we need the peace, some alone time, but because a strange twist of fate called love, my alone time has to be punctuated with his presence, or at least, his voice filling up the room when we call each other. He is the extension of myself, my thoughts – he is the icing on the cake of my alone time.

BONUS!

Quiet Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
Excerpted from: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

To find out where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, answer each question True or False, choosing the one that applies to you more often than not.

1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.

2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing.

3. ______ I enjoy solitude.

4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.

5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.

6. ______ People tell me that I’m a good listener.

7. ______ I’m not a big risk-taker.

8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to “dive in” with few interruptions.

9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.

10. ______ People describe me as “soft-spoken” or “mellow.”

11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s finished.

12. ______ I dislike conflict.

13. ______ I do my best work on my own.

14. ______I tend to think before I speak.

15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.

16. ______I often let calls go through to voice mail.

17. ______If you had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.

18. ______ I don’t enjoy multitasking.

19. ______ I can concentrate easily

20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.

The more often you answered True, the more introverted you are. This is an informal quiz, not a scientifically validated personality test. The questions were formulated based on characteristics of introversion often accepted by contemporary researchers.

From Quiet by Susan Cain. Copyright 2012 by Susan Cain.

Temp Work: Pros and Cons

Article originally appeared in: Cassidy Education by Ashley Andrews

This article nails it. I started off as a temp worker for Brent International School in Subic when I was a fresh grad (or shall we say, fresh out of med school), and that’s the time I decided when I can actually work as a teacher. That environment was enabling and nice that I actually fell in love with teaching. However, getting a job in that workplace is tough because it takes care of its employees very well that the teachers don’t want to leave. I knew I wanted to be in, and so I worked as a temp as it provided me one step inside the house! Obviously that door led me to other places but I know for sure that if it had not be for temping, I know I won’t be in this place now!

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So, you have just finished your university degree!  You have celebrated with friends and family, it is only now you are realising you’ve spent the last seventeen years or more in a formal educational setting.  Now, you are given the most daunting task in your young life – getting your first job!

Many feel the pressure within a few hours of graduating. I know I did, so I went ahead and interviewed for a few companies, made use of the career centre on campus, but all my efforts were essentially fruitless in my search for the ‘dream job’ — one that would satisfy my passions and set me on the right path.

After several applications and interviews I finally found a job as a temporary employee. One year later, it turned out to be a great way to gain an insight on work environments and it allowed me the time needed to reevaluate career goals. I look back on those times with fondness and no regrets.

In case you find yourself in a similar situation, we at Cassidy Education have put together a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages in taking temporary work.

Advantages

Gain Experience

Temping is a great opportunity to see experience different company cultures and discover what you prefer as an employee. It may be that you work best in a fast-paced environment, hate sitting at a desk or like working with children.Temping is a fantastic way to discover the things you are good at and what you really enjoy doing. You are often exposed to career fields you might otherwise never have known, allowing you to make more informed career choices going forward.

Exposure

Temping can help you gain visibility in a crowded and uncertain job market. Plus, if you are just entering the job market, a temporary job could be one of the best ways to get your foot in the door to a permanent position.

As a temp worker, you’ll be represented and will benefit from our vast contact list and our inside knowledge on who’s hiring and what they’re really looking for.

Permanent Employment Potential

If a permanent role is what you ultimately want, the best thing you can do is be a pleasure to work with.  Once you’re on the job as a temp, the employer gets a chance to see you shine. Don’t be surprised if what started out as a week’s assignment turns into a permanent job offer. When that time comes, you’ll know if this is a company that you want to stay with long-term. You don’t have to accept the offer but if you do, be sure to let your recruitment consultant/agency know.

Take Advantage of the Flexibility

Many temp jobs will be 40 hours a week until your assignment is over, when the assignment ends you have the flexibility and can take some time-off if you want. You can also use this flexibility to continue searching for jobs that fall more in line with your career desires, while building on your experiences, skill sets and of course your all important CV.

Make sure to maintain some contact with your consultant and take the occasional placement to ensure they will want to continue working with and representing you.

Be Qualified

Make sure your job knowledge and technical skills are current and up to date. Now that you are entering the job market, agencies and employers are looking for people with first-rate skills.  You must stay sharp to find employment, including temping, make your best efforts at all times.

Seek ways to increase your knowledge and become a ‘mini-expert’ in your field you’ll want to present yourself as uniquely well-informed. Obtain certifications when available.

A combination of classwork and on-the-job experience is the ideal way to prepare yourself for a new line of work. If you can prove that you have some basic skills, it may be that we place you in jobs where you can work under supervision and further enhance your skill set.

Disadvantages

There’s always a downside:

  • You may feel isolated
  • There is a lack of certainty about income
  • You may not have health insurance, a pension plan, or paid vacations
  • There aren’t many disadvantages to temping – but if you like the security of a regular job and being around a consistent circle of peers, you may find temping unfulfilling.
  • Although temping can be great for building skills and knowledge, there is a  high turnover rate.
  • Full-time employment is NOT a guarantee.

In the end, being a temp worker has both advantages and disadvantages. Soak it all up and we hope this helps you make a decision when you are faced with the opportunity to apply for, accept, or deny a temporary position. Good luck and make the most out of temping and all the advantages it offers!

That Expat Title

According to my handy dictionary, expat is an adjective that means living in a foreign land.

The previous article I posted doesn’t ring true for me. I am a Filipino expat because I’m living in a country other than the Philippines. People around me here call me an expat. My classification in school is an “expat”. I’m no immigrant. I get expat treatment like my American colleagues. If we enjoy the same privileges, I won’t know but I’d like to think so. Although according to my experience, I am wary now.

At which point that article rings true for me now. The title “expat” isn’t the issue here. It’s the indirect racism. The word “expat” is used sparingly with coloured people because it has superiority attached to it, and whether we like it or not, especially in places where it was colonized by Westerners, which are, bluntly speaking, the Third World countries (they colonize us and they won’t let us in their countries via visa restrictions – funny).

The word denotes privilege. When I was a child, I grew up in a place where expats outnumber the locals, so being an expat wasn’t different. I grew up with a consciousness that foreigners are locals though: my neighbors were Germans, Japanese, Canadians, etc. My parents were sort of local expats though, and they were in a tough spot: they were not from the same island as the locals. They didn’t know anyone, and since they came from the capital Manila, they spoke Tagalog which is deemed more superior than the dialect. They do not have the same values as the locals and that made them stand out, and standing out in a sea of similar-looking people sharing the same kind of ethnicity is a breeding ground for jealousy and backbiting. My parents did not want to retire there.

See when you are uprooted from your hometown or home country, the leaders (or at least the smart people) understand that you have no support being an import. No family, no house, no friends. You have to adjust to new cultures, new places, new food; maybe even time zones. It’s not easy. So managers/leaders give out “perks” like housing, settlement allowances, earlier home time and holiday allowances to compensate the lack. You are treated to first class facilities and treated to the best parties because your host is showing off his country. You are most probably in the company of leaders and movers in the industry themselves because, well, leaders have to move places to move people and companies. And locals only see the “perks” because they want it, too.

And in Asia, whether we like to admit it or not, the culture of caste system is very much alive, thanks to having centuries of colonial rule. Colonial rule meant having the white people (colonizers) being superior, and more powerful. The natives don’t have ANYTHING. Now you know why Asians have the penchant for skin whitening products. All if it, even the concept of beauty, boils down to power.

So if an Asian comes over to work on a white country, I would understand the discrepancy of the white-coloured labeling of expat: do you want your slave to have that power? What’s worse is that the Westerners don’t label the Asians like that. It’s the Asians who label their fellow Asians. The Asians, with our very strange non-confrontational, everything-is-okay-but-you’re-treated-like-shit culture, can be very difficult to deal with because of this ingrained racism.

I am lucky because I can speak Engish better than most people here, if not, my dark skin and curly hair would have proved to be a disadvantage, because, hey, I look like a real Asian – not worthy to have “perks”.

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

This article originally appeared in The Guardian

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In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”.

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal, the leading financial information magazine in the world, has a blog dedicated to the life of expats and recently they featured a story ‘Who is an expat, anyway?’. Here are the main conclusions: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”

The reality is the same in Africa and Europe. Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats. They are immigrants. Period. “I work for multinational organisations both in the private and public sectors. And being black or coloured doesn’t gain me the term “expat”. I’m a highly qualified immigrant, as they call me, to be politically correct,” says an African migrant worker.

Most white people deny that they enjoy the privileges of a racist system. And why not? But our responsibility is to point out and to deny them these privileges, directly related to an outdated supremacist ideology. If you see those “expats” in Africa, call them immigrants like everyone else. If that hurts their white superiority, they can jump in the air and stay there. The political deconstruction of this outdated worldview must continue.

Mawuna Remarque Koutonin is the editor of SiliconAfrica.com, where this blog was first published. Follow @siliconafrica on Twitter.

Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow@GuardianGDP on Twitter.

Why Choose Progressive Schools?

As mentioned in the previous post I have been back from traveling – and I know it’s not supposed to be an excuse, but I have to admit I neglected this blog for a week! Eeps! Exactly a week  ago I was eating brownies at the airport!

Anyway, the recent Philippine trip was short. Too short that I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do, like hangout with family, do some volunteer work in Raya (previous school I worked at which is just a happy place, full stop), chill at hot springs and do some wakeboarding. Everything was rush rush. Lesson now is, book a longer trip, so that I can do everything!

I mentioned Raya School and it being a happy place. It is.  It is a remarkable school in Naga City, offering a very modern take on educating children. It is a progressive school and as a fan of all things innovative and helpful – I really like it.

Now what is a progressive school? Buzzfeed helps us understand it in a hilarious way, but it’s true. The article implies that progressive education is a movement made by hippie parents teaching their children to rebel and love nature and be weird but it’s not entirely true. It’s a reaction towards the standard, mainstream, traditional education where the teacher is the authority and exams are the end all and be all of the child’s ability.

I love that idea where education is practical and not tests-based. Don’t get me wrong, as a kid I aced exams easily but I knew I wasn’t good enough, that my perfect scores don’t mean I’m perfect (I didn’t have any friends so maybe that’s why I thought I was far from perfect lol). One of the key moments in my early childhood education was when I got a perfect score in my science finals test in grade five (taxonomic classification – ha!) but I knew my teacher didn’t know what a blue green algae is. That’s the time when I started distrusting teachers, and school for that matter. Is it really worth it? What’s the point? I mean, my parents aren’t telling me that corals are animals and they belong in phylum coelenterata, you know?

Add to the fact that I was really poor in rote learning. I was one of those rare children who’d rather have essay tests because I can fully express my thoughts given a free rein of thinking. I was a confident speaker and one of my teachers said I didn’t give a fuck in my essays – and I think that gave me the confidence to speak my thoughts and my ideas as a person. I knew I passed scholarships because I can communicate well, like in instances when I’m a mayor of a city and the problem was overpopulation – this was my make or break question at the entrance interview for the Science High School – I answered arcologies because I played with Sim City 2000 then. Gaming helps, I tell you that. I owe Sim City my life, come to think of it.

Progressive schools are student-centered, creative and open. They teach children critical thinking skills, emphasize self-direction and teamwork but also collaboration and communication – not to mention using digital technology. As a teacher, I consider myself not an authority but a guide. I mean, I know I don’t know everything but I also know I know more than them because I have life experiences. My point is, I want to equip my children with life skills and the love for life-long learning. I know I sound like a brochure for your school but tell you what, if I have a child of my own, I can’t care less if she knows about Schrodinger’s cat at age 11 if all she wants is to make a perfect apple pie!

I can go on and on about how making a perfect apple pie is more advantageous in life skills and is cross-curricular across the board compared to learning about Schrodinger’s cat but I will spare you the torture. In order for you to understand it more, here is a table (Source: Robert G. Peters, with thanks to the books Schools of Quality, by John Jay Bonstigl, and In Search of Understanding, by Martin C. Brooks and Jaqueline Grennon, Independent Schools.)

Traditional Progressive
School is a preparation for life. School is a part of life.
Learners are passive absorbers of information and authority. Learners are active participants, problem solvers, and planners.
Teachers are sources of information and authority. Teachers are facilitators, guides who foster thinking.
Parents are outsiders and uninvolved. Parents are the primary teachers, goal setters, and planners, and serve as resources.
Community is separate from school, except for funding. Community is an extension of the classroom.
Decision-making is centrally based and administratively delivered. Decision-making is shared by all constituent groups.
Program is determined by external criteria, particularly test results. Program is determined by mission, philosophy, and goals for graduates.
Learning is linear, with factual accumulation and skill mastery. Learning is spiral, with depth and breadth as goals.
Knowledge is absorbed through lectures, worksheets, and texts. Knowledge is constructed through play, direct experience, and social interaction.
Instruction is linear and largely based on correct answers. Instruction is related to central questions and inquiry, often generated by the children.
Disciplines, particularly language and math, are separated. Disciplines are integrated as children make connections.
Skills are taught discretely and are viewed as goals. Skills are related to content and are viewed as tools.
Assessment is norm-referenced, external, and graded. Assessment is benchmarked, has many forms, and is progress-oriented.
Success is competitively based, derived from recall and memory, and specific to a time/place. Success is determined through application over time, through collaboration.
Products are the end point. Products are subsumed by process considerations.
Intelligence is a measure of linguistic and logical/mathematical abilities. Intelligence is recognized as varied, includes the arts, and is measured in real-life problem-solving.
School is a task to be endured. School is a challenging and fun part of life.

I suppose you can say it is the Montessori-style but geared for older children. Some people call it Holistic Learning. It is curiosity-driven, but I love to think that this will be the future of education. It does not stop at elementary, nor high school. When you instill the love for learning (or reading) in a person, you improve a society. They will be better, responsible and kind adults that will improve and enhance our world as we know it.

PGCE Do’s and Don’ts

This article originally appeared on Cassidy Education Blog

Hey guys, I am back. Sorry I missed out on you, but I have gone to the Philippines to fix some banking papers I need for summer as I cannot open a bank account here. It was a strange sensation going back home but I’ll explain it in another post. It got too busy and my mother got attacked by a dog :-/

As i am back and it’s school day tomorrow, let’s go back to the academe. Cassidy Education did another fantastic post and I bookmarked it for future speeches and as a daily pick-me-up when work gets too boring or difficult. PGCE is your ticket to becoming a teacher under UK law. It’s not easy but many people do it! Here are some pointers for you to consider when undertaking such a role.

PGCE: Cassidy Education Do’s and Don’ts!

So, you have decided to complete your PGCE, first thing you need to consider – it won’t be easy.  In fact it is a hard and intensive course, especially when you consider the academic requirements alongside working on the job, it can be quite a daunting prospect. Of course, it is likely to be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. You will experience newfound skills firsthand, whilst making life-long friends as well as finding out your new passion for work – in a job you actually love doing.

How you tackle the PGCE year is ultimately your choice but we’ve laid down some of our recommendations – here are our do’s and don’ts:

Teaching Practice:

As the heading suggests, the PGCE placement is for you to ‘practice’ your ability as a teacher.  You are not expected to be the ‘finished article’ and perfect at everything, no one expects that. What they will expect is for you to be:

  • responsive to constructive criticism
  • well prepared
  • a hard worker
  • improving
  • a team member
  • able to learn from mistakes

Understand that you will improve and gain confidence quickly, make sure you give yourself the time you need to learn and practice your craft. Remember, this is your chance to guage yourself as a teacher and how you want to progress.

Top tips: Observe your peers, inside and beyond your subject. Get involved in the after school activities, leave your comfort zone from time to time – you’ll be surprised what you may learn.

Academics:

Even if you found your university degree a breeze, be assured you will find your PGCE assignments demanding. This will be more so for graduates from an engineering / technical background, as they may be less used to writing reports or long, drawn-out essays.  If this is you do not worry, help is at hand!  Universities usually have great support for helping with reading and writing skills – make sure you use it!

The Standards:

These are the Teachers’ Standards for use in schools in England since September 2012. The standards define the minimum level of practice expected of trainees and teachers from the point of being awarded qualified teacher status (QTS).

The Teachers’ Standards are used to assess all trainees working towards QTS, and all those completing their statutory induction period.

We are confident the last thing you want to do is spend your weekends digging through your work trying to catalogue everything for a check on Monday morning. You will be well advised to collate your work for each of the sections as you progress through the year. Your mentor will check on your work from time to time, and you will want to demonstrate a well-organised and presentable system. We recommend that you file your work weekly; this will surely save you many lost weekends.

Professionalism:

It can take time to adjust to an expectation of ‘professionalism’ especially if you are fresh out of university. You will have to quickly become accustomed to it however, as students, teachers and parents will all expect you to be professional in everything you do, and it’s essential for a successful and rewarding PGCE year.

You will demonstrate your professionalism through your knowledge and understanding of your subject(s), the learning process, your values and the development of you and your students.

Top tip: If in doubt, ask your peers, tutors and mentors for guidance, they will only be too happy to help.

Life Study Balance:

Make sure you find a balance between your PGCE and other things you enjoy doing, don’t give up your life; you’ll gain a lot more from the course that way!

Remember to:

  • find time for family and friends.
  • invest in lots of stationery (especially lever-arch files)
  • manage your time and stay organised
  • be creative, patient and flexible

In Transit: Jakarta to Manila

I am writing this at Soekarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta waiting for Cebu Pacific counters to open. My flight is in four hours bound for Manila. For the first time in my not so young life, an airline counter is closed for check-in for an international flight (THAT’S IN FOUR HOURS).

Keeping my composure – or at least trying to by writing my thoughts down – I decided to look for a place where I can sit down and chill. I walked around looking for McDonald’s (what else) because they have cheap and good coffee. It does not exist in this airport so I settled for the next best thing: Starbucks Old Town White Coffee A&W. Another mystery to me: How can A&W exist in this place and not McDonald’s?

I went in anyway. I saw power outlets by their tables so that’s definitely a place to go. It had wifi too (but at this time of writing it’s not working). Like any A&W, it came in stark brown and orange theme, with the rootbeer float on display. Unlike any other A&W outlets (in MNL anyway), the bear mascot is still there! Flashback to 1994 when I was seven and I popped my root beer float cherry – that bear was a witness to it.

What I’m saying is, this joint is a freaking time warp. The place feels like it’s stuck in the late 90’s or mid 00’s the latest. It’s ancient and worn but it’s clean and, well, friendly. Too friendly in fact that it doesn’t care almost. I like that. I like places that give customers independence and that is rare in Asia.

Too many a commercial establishment have that badger of a staff constantly staring at you and asking if you’re all right. I don’t like that, although I know the management means well, like trying to force a slave on you, but man I see it as invasion of privacy.

So I’m back here, charging my phone, writing this down and just… watching.

The default hairstyle of flight attendants are French Twists. They don’t give out spoons and forks here, which is weird for me. On my part I ordered myself root beer (in honor of the memory that is A&W), brownies and perkedel – which turned out to be the Indonesian version of bubble and squeak/potato croquette, which doesn’t really need cutlery for me – but I got served spoons, or plastic hooks which resemble spoons. Innovative product design perhaps, but it kinda reminds me of the stool collection sampling tool you get at the lab.

The rest of the population in the midst is ordering fried chicken and rice. Everyone is eating by hand. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not by any means squeamish but I am a bit culture shocked. It’s so different. Back at home – you can only eat by hand at home. I get two spoons for scooping out my float and brownies (the bigger spoon on the picture is for the drink – I’m spooning a drink and I can’t fork the cake) but… no spoon and fork for… a proper meal. It’s cool though. Again, product design. Their rice is packed in a paper pocket, like a sandwich so that you won’t have any problems with grains sticking on your fingers. The rice is shaped like a burger bun so you actually bite into it like a burger. The chicken, well, is still a chicken and will forever be finger food. I’ll only comment if they will give out sticks to pick french fries with (which I saw in the school I’m working for – WTF).

I see promotional posters that say “True Love Comes In Pair” for the brownies. Shame how one letter can change the whole feel of an international brand, but oh well, remember remember – it’s not their first language so don’t judge.

Okay let’s go to set meals. The Good Friends Meal is for 4 people with 4 pieces of rice, 4 glasses of drinks and 8 pieces of chicken with 2 desserts. 2 desserts and 8 pieces of chicken. Hm. The Good Family Meal, arguably for the family, comes with “9 Chicken”. No rice, no dessert, no drinks, just 9 Chicken. I don’t know about you but their promotion guy is a bit funky in my opinion.

But after that’s all said and done, I have to say: it’s nice here. It’s not the perfect place that’s for sure but it’s real and that’s what matters. It gives great food (tell you what: root beer and fresh brownies – what can go wrong?), snappy and smiley service, and clean surroundings. For a place that serves people who are tired, anxious, jetlagged and fucked over by plane companies, this place gives out the comfort that travelers need.

McDonald’s Is Home

There is nothing more ubiquitous in the world like McDonald’s. It’s everywhere, it’s everyone’s favourite, and it’s amazing. It may be scoffed upon by “foodists” but I don’t care. McDonald’s is a refuge from all things strange and unwelcome.

Why the sudden love for McDonald’s today, you ask?

Well, I was supposed to post an article about my assessment style but it didn’t feel right. I was preparing to leave this house tonight, cleaning the fridge and whatnot when my boyfriend woke up and I took advantage of it by spending some quality time with him before he got back to sleep. I missed him yesterday. I have this thing where I just have to speak with him daily or else I feel bad, like I didn’t do my duty; I missed out on fun kinda thing. I genuinely miss him, and it’s hard with time zones, especially if you’re both tired from a grueling work week. You may say that it’s too much, the daily dose of him, but it works for us, and that’s how it is.

Anyway, I was lying in bed waking up from a nap and thought how lucky I was to have been served breakfast in bed two years ago, by him. Or how we would have breakfast in the Malaysian border when we went for visa runs. All of them having Egg McMuffins. Or how we would have lunch at the mall over Fillet-O-Fish.  I keep imagining how it would be like when we are together, how we have so many memories together.

There is a McDonald’s here in this neighborhood and if Ash were here I’m pretty sure where we will go during our midnight cravings. I never went once. It kinda feels sacrilegious to go there without him.

But that’s it. I think. You never really go to McDonald’s because you want food, especially delicious food. You go there because it’s convenient and it is home, meaning, it’s familiar and you have had lots of memories in it. It is actually a place where you make memories – from your high school saving up your allowance to buy a CD dinner stops, to medschool McDonald’s midnight cramming, to romantic breakfasts with the love of your life, that fastfood is always there.

It’s always close to you, it’s always fresh, it’s always clean, and it’s always cheap; You go from Naga, Manila, Bangkok to Hatyai, Malaysia to Indonesia, it’s all the same. Like an airport, McDonald’s is a neutral ground. You almost have your own McDonald’s decorum that is different from the rest of the shops (if you’re traveling abroad, you might catch yourself letting your guard down in McD’s). I know it doesn’t, but I can almost say it looks after you.

I like how globalisation works like this: in a way that the world gets really tiny, that my McD’s can be your McD’s. We all have that middle ground and it’s not pretentious at all: just solid, usual, fastfood grub.

I am going back home to the Philippines in a few hours, and trust me, I think I’ll find myself in a McDonald’s later. I am not excited about it, to be honest. I want my man to be with me more than ever but hey, what I’m doing is for us anyway. However, someday, I wish that we will continue our McD’s ritual. It’s fun, down-to-earth and yeah, feels like home.

YouTube Kids App

I use technology in the classroom a lot. It makes my work easier and makes my class engaging, especially to little children who are generally visual in nature. May it be a projector or whiteboard, I need a screen and internet to make sure I deliver my learning objectives well. Also, it’s fun.

There is nothing worse than using YouTube in class only to be cut by an advert from L’Oreal or Krung Sri Bank. Like most teachers, I use YouTube a lot to teach, especially with my 2-3 year olds before when we used to sing a lot! Having adverts, trolls (on the comments – but I’m lucky my kids can’t read yet) and suggestions are some pitfalls that you can have as a teacher when using YouTube.

There’s great news though! YouTube has a new app called YouTubeKids. This is useful for parents and teachers alike as it will sift through inappropriate comments, and will only show posts that are child-friendly. This is a big step for YouTube, and I hope Google will develop a YouTube app that is geared toward teaching. The app with its kid-friendly design will work on tablets and smartphones and it’s free. It also has a built-in parent timer so that you can control how much your child gets to watch online.