Monday, March 23, 2009


I received the goodnews last Saturday at noon. After going to the grocery for some knick knacks me and my husband decided to go home. I wasn't expecting any letters so I let my husband check out the mailbox. I was a bit down that day because it was supposed to be the first day of Spring (and yes, I was expecting a bit milder weather, and sun, and chirping of the birds, and you know, the ohh so welcome happy spring day - but I was disappointed because it was a cold day and flurry in the morning! ) I think I've had enough of coldness.

And there comes spring! On the elevator my husband was holding two envelopes, he told me with smile that one comes from Social Security Administration. I was skeptical and I didn't believe because common sense told me that SSA only works at weekdays and it was Saturday! Plus I just reapplied last Monday can't be that fast right?

At home I was busily stacking all our groceries and he slip MY LETTER in front of me. And there it was from SSA my SSN! After three months waiting for it it was already in my hands unexpectedly! Bliss! Total Bliss! Finally my dreams is starting to be a reality!

Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry"


Monday, March 16, 2009

Finding HOPE

To update you on my SSN (social security number) dilemma here goes...

Finally I am slowly seeing light. Small as it is alas it is still light!

All is well with my Department of Homeland and Security documents, I mean I have corrected all the needed possible corrections. I have it all iron out for the last month or so.I called up the Social Security Administration Office in Maryland where I applied and ask them if they could correct my i-94 number (because I need to use the number that has been MISTAKENLY put out by the competent favorite officer of mine) Mind you,it was not easy to get through to their line. I mean after four trials of dialling their number I was greeted by their "welcome to social security..." machine, so I waited for a couple of minutes "all reperesentatives are busy answering other calls,please hold" so I patiently waited... "hi social security,there is one caller ahead of you could you please hold?" So okey HOLD. Another couple of minutes went by, "social security here,there is one caller ahead of you,could you hold?" Another one? "could you hold or not?" Of course I need to hold. After some tiring minutes long beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! I was drop off! Could you believe that? Rudeness! Total rudeness!

But that would not easily stop me from calling them again! So I patiently dialled and dialled and waited and waited for my turn. Well I was able to patch up and I nicely ask them to kindly correct my i-94 number with my SSN application,and what I got as a response? "how long have you been applying?" three months. "you see we never really process your application because you have the wrong i-94 number" but you keep on telling me that my application is still pending for further investigation. "Our system works that it automatically ERASES application that still pending after three months" dumbfounded on my part here.

I was confused,I mean all along I was waiting for it and then they told me that my application was already ERASED? My ever logical husband suggested that MAYBE the person I talked with was just making things up,she didn't even asked for my name and check things out on their computer (the way ALL the representatives do) So we went to the local office here in New York.

And that was were I saw the light...

The friendly person said on friday 2:30pm that I was still on Marylands' system. She cannot do something NOT unless I CANCEL out my application there and reapply here in NY. Now I need to call the Marylands' office again,and it was almost 4pm (when they usually closes) And heaven might be giving me a pity. I did push thru that day and was able to cancel out my application after few minutes of explanation.

Saturday and Sunday passed by.

Monday came and ohh so sunny blessed day!

I was able to reapply and with GOD's will I am hopeful that I would get my SSN after 5-10 days!

keep you posted then! cross your fingers still!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The BEE-bug!

Ive heard the BEE-bug when my friend called me up one night gushing "hey have you heard?" heard what? "that he is already in New York!" who is? another batchmate? a friend? "no,silly JOLLIBEE!" are you serious? "yup!" and excited screams followed.

After just four months absence of the leading fastfood chain in the Philippines from my tastebuds i did developed this sane cravings (yes still controllable). But time to time, in this cold weather, I wistfully remember these comfort foods. Palabok fiesta, Macaroni Soup, Spaghetti, Amazing Aloha, Peach Mango pie and yes the chicken that leveled up with Aga Muhlachs' stardom The Chickenjoy!

I was thankful for that news, that finally New York already have a Jollibee franchise! It was located at Woodside in between 62nd and 63rd street. And no Filipino would miss it (because outside you could easily spot a 4ft tall jolly BEE mascot in vivid red,yellow and white colors.

After waiting for my aunts' dayoff (with splashes of Jollibee dreams in between *winks*)
Alas! I came to finally reunite with my old friend! I've been expecting full lines based on the articles from news papers previously saying 1-2 hours of waiting for a chickenjoy is worth the wait. Got lucky this time, although it is still full, it was not the jam-packed placed they describe (maybe because it was an ordinary weekday and past lunch time) We got our order easily and found a seat with ease. Glancing around it was indeed the same place that I got used to in times of too lazy to cook moments of my mom. I enjoyed the chikenjoy (crispy in the outside, juicy in the inside) a lot. Along with it is the sweet filipino style spaghetti (though I think it still needs a bit of filipino flavor kick in it). And the gravy... yes the gravy! same superb taste!

A little bit of trivia here, who would know that Jollibee actually was an ice cream parlor before, it was opened by Mr. Tony tan on 1975 at Cubao. And now, Jollibee Food Corporation now hold atleast 1,655 stores nationwide and was considered to be one of the biggest fast food chains in the world.

I do think Jollibee does not stop at food per se, it has become a part of Filipino culture. Cultivating family values such as nurturing close ties within the family, its annual gift giving for unfortunate kids and developing sense of pride on being a Filipino.

I noticed too that most of the crew are Filipinos. Of course who would dare try this foreign fast food but Filipino customers who welcomes the familiar taste. Smiles. All are in smiles knowing that we are experiencing the same surreal moment of being close to home.

I enjoy being on Jollibee!

BTW, I happily take out peach mango pie and as soon as we arrive home I noddingly munched on it! yummy!
Jolly eating folks! ;p

- lzl

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Experiencing Serendipity

After watching travel channel and seeing the most expensive ice cream set by the guinness world records at Serendipity I said I'd like to come and visit the place (not to eat the $1000 ice cream on golden goblet and with golden spoon but to actually feel the place)

Serendipity was defined as the art of making happy discoveries or finding the unexpectedly pleasant by chance. It was said to be the first coffee house botique in New York. It was an ice cream parlor slash coffee house slash general store and botique. And yes the chandeliers are said to be made up of charms of tiffany glass.

Along with my Aunt and my husband we went there awhile ago, after waiting for twenty minutes outside plus another fifteen minutes we were finally escorted to our table. The place was cozy and I was really mesmerized by all these tifanny hanging over our heads. I was dressed up with only two layers because I assumed that it was going to be a mild day as predicted and I do planning of ordering ice cream because after all it was known as the best ice cream parlor. Funny because after waiting too long outside I felt cold and I know I need to order a hot drink. And so there was the mochaccino. I am a coffee addict and yes I did enjoy there mochaccino with their own brew of rich chocolate, and aromatic espresso, with a topsy turvey whipped cream pear.

Over all, it was okey. I enjoy the place and my coffee but not so much the food. The menu was reasonably priced from hamburgers, pastas, soups, sandwhiches, cakes and ice creams. The line was worth the wait, after all it is Serendipity!
It was located at:
225 East 60th Streetbetween 2nd and 3rd AvenuesNew York, NY 10022
BTW I do adviced you make reservations first to avoid the waiting time.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Feeling Times Square!

So, upon waiting up for the much coveted number my husband and I decided to enjoy New York, and here we found the infinitely famous timesquare.
Times square lies at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh avenue, starts from west 42nd street extending up to west 47th street. It said to be the the "Crossroads of the World" and back in time it was known as Longacre Square. It was in April 1904 that it became the Times Square after the Times Building. Also in the said landmark the spectacular colorful New Year's Eve ball drop happens. Expect countless of people from different places coming together to watch this magnificent annual event. Unfortunately though Im already here that time I was not able to join the 2009 welcome because I am not familiar with the New York subway and yes my party pooper husband didn't want to join the said noise. huh!
Enough about the trivial things,first impression? Spectacular! I would never got tired roaming around even just sitting and merely looking at Times Square. It's all hustle and bustle. And the lights! Oh so many lights! Im like a kid finding this big lighted playground. Well we've seen alot of Broadway shows such as Mamma Mia, 9 to 10, Mary Poppins and yes Shrek the Musical (which I would love to see...)

Ripley's believe it or not was also there along side with equally famous house of wax by Madame Tussauds. And yes we get to see Dwayne Johnson in wax! lol
After an hour we got tired and hungry and what do we see? Its Mc Donalds ala broadway! Not the usual Mc Donalds establishment, it was more likely close to looking like a club. It was featured at Travel Channel once being one of the most famous Ronald Mc Donalds place. It was sorrounded with high ceiling light bulbs with lots of white screen featuring music videoes of known artist. You cant help but to say I'm definitely luvin it ;)
I particularly enjoy the M&M's world! It was alot fun being there. Aside of being practically surrounded by these deliciously colorful melts in your mouth not in your hand chocolate, it offers different collections and stuff in M&M style. I enjoy their what is your M&M mood color machine. Where in you would stand on it and the computer would find out what kind of M&M are you based on your mood and I got the Dark Green (mind you I was not on the Dark mood that time ;p)

All in all it was a wonderful distraction! And I do want to go back there again and again and again...
Subway directions from our place:
Take subway 4 at Fordham Road arrive at 42nd street Grand Central transfer to subway S viola Times Square!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Coming to America

So, I am on the dreamland... this is supposed to be a dreamland... and why is it suddenly turning into a nightmare?

It was my childhood dream to come to Uncle Sam's place. Why? Plenty of opportunities, land of the milk and honey, endless possibilities, and yes the greener pasture! And I strive hard to be here. I have painstakingly finished Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy for five years (because it was adviced by my aunt that PT's are IN-demand in the US). I survived the local board exam given by the Professional Regulation Commission with four months of monk-like studying. I endured the small salary for a PT gym instructor or a PT turn to call center agent due to lack of PT employment in the Philippines for five years. I conquer the thorn on the throat (tinik sa lalamunan :p) Test of Speaking in English (TSE given to foreign educated people who wants to work to the US professionally) after two attempts. And yes I prepared hard and prayed hard for the National Physical Therapy Examination (US board exam for PT licensure) and not to mention the expenses (great expenses because we're already talking dollars here) that I solicit and beg from my relatives in order to under go all through all these process.

All is set. The big day came. Somehow I managed to get all the needed requirements and qualifications to become a US PT, or so I thought...

I came here last December 04,2008 and of course I did miss the BIG Christmas and New Year traditions and celebration in my country (because it is utterly different here) plus my oversize lovable family whom I spent holiday season with for the last twenty seven years. I said what the heck, it's just a matter of sacrifice and I came here to work so might as well focused my mind to it. I applied for the social security number (which is a must on a computerized system like this) and that's when the nightmare starts...

I applied for my social Dec. 18,2008 and yes I am still currently waiting for it! I applied in Columbia Maryland where my employer adviced us to get. It was print out on my application that I just have to wait for four weeks because the COMPETENT immigration officer who welcomes me had put out my birthdate invertedly on their organized system. So I waited... four weeks turn into months, and months turn into couple of months. At the back of my mind I know something is amiss because those persons whom I came with (nurses and PT alike whom I called my batchmates) were already happily enjoying their work on their assigned deployment much to say their SSN. and I? Left still wondering what happened to my application, was it not pushed through? Was it been deleted on the system? I keep asking for the updates through phone (because Im already in New York living temporarily with my Aunt) and the Social Security Administration keeps on saying give it another week, give it another days, my, my, my, Ive given all the weeks and all the days that I can give.

Then my husband (yes he was suffering this much as I am) said if we're just gonna sit around waiting for things to happen we could be waiting till forever. So we decided to find out how to make the corrections. My employer advice me to go to the nearest international airport and have my birthdate corrected but she insisted that I call on them first to set an appoinment. I google the airports' number and ask for the help but the officer who answers my call said that all corrections must be done on Federal Plaza Manhattan. We went there unfortunately there's a one week before appoinment date thing. So i got the appointment date a week after. When we got there the person on the counter said we cant make this correction better go to John F. Kennedy airport because they MAKE the correction. Urrrgggh! We wasted a week waiting for nothing. At that day they said that I could make it to the JFK because its the last day of the corrections for that week (corrections are done 9am-2pm mons thru thurs only and no appoinment necessary) That was thursday 11am so we hurriedly went to JFK,we reached it at 1pm so I said atleast we made it before closing time BUT to my dismay the lady who welcomes us said that SOMETHING came up and there are NO officers to make the corrections for that day, better come on Monday at 9am. So we left heartbroken. Monday came,but on Sunday snow storm happens (now even mother nature was against me!) We have no choice but to wait for Tuesday.

Tuesday, we have the corrections done and I am now hopeful that I could already get the much awaited number. At Wednesday I called back the SSA again and the same response, still waiting for the Department of Homeland and Security (DHS) verification. Still feels like somethings not quite right. I look at their I-94 corrections and as I scrutinized carefully I noticed that my name was MISPELLED! yes they add an additional letter to my name! So on Thursday (today) we went bak and have my name corrected and guess what? the PROBLEM never stops, I just found out that the I-94 number on the system and my card is different. Apparently the COMPETENT officer who welcomes me had managed to input a WRONG I-94 number, MISPELLED my name and INVERTED my birthdate (making dec 02,1981 to Feb 12,1981) What else could I possibly found out wrong?

The advice? Well WAIT seems like the word I came accustomed to. Wait till Wednesday for the corrections to take effect and call the SSA. If I got the same response (still verifying for the DHS) then I have to go back to JFK and take the number that the COMPETENT officer assigned me with plus I have to call on the SSA again for the new I-94 number and hopefully, HOPEFULLY things would be okey.

I'll let you know how it goes...
Keep your fingers cross fro me

On thursday then!