Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spend it all. At least we're happy.

In a few weeks I'm going home. And nice timing at that because I'm now hanging on to my remaining allowance, thanks to my weeks of pasalubong shopping and constantly dining out. Initially, I planned to save half of my allowance. The intention was really there, but while I am here I had certain realizations and justifications. I figured. F-It! This might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. It could happen again, but then again it could not. To be able to learn, to travel and to be provided for for free is short of amazing. People could view this anyway they want, but I know what I came here for. I gratefully came here to learn and to enjoy the experience, which definitely involved spending. I might not have much left, but the happiness was priceless.



Ah most definitely. This is undeniably our number one activity here. We always go to our favorite places one of which is Florence, KY. We ride Tank Bus No. 1 Industrial or Turfway to take us to the mall strip where it's destruction for all of us. There's Macy's, JCPenny, Florence Mall which houses different brands, Bath and Body, TJMaxx, Old Navy, Best Buy, Meijer, Kohl's, Barnes and Noble...everything we could think of! On our 2nd week here, specially on the July 4th sale, we scored big time. People bought laptops, phones, hard drives, Bath and Body sets, designer shoes and clothes. We would cross one mall strip to another under the scorching sun with our rattling shopping carts. Since then, we would go there for serious retail therapy and always come back victorious.

Another favorite shopping place is Crestview Mall. We take the Tank Bus 33 and it's a 30 minute ride from our apartment. In Crestview Mall certain retail shops are there including DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse). In our recent trip there, I bought 6 designer shoes all in all (not all were for me though), which capped my 25 shoe purchases since I got here.

Also in one weekend, we hired a car service to take us to the outlet mall in Monroe. We came prepared for that trip. We downloaded the map, got some coupons, the works. Most of us got excited the night before. We had fun shopping for US brands of clothes and shoes. I did pretty well there. I bought COACH bags for my sister and mom, 10 shoes, some clothes and bags, which easily summed up 700 dollars. It was hot and by early afternoon, we're physically and financially wiped out. Looking at the pictures, we definitely got freak glances by the locals. We shopped like it was Christmas.

In between work breaks in downtown Cincinnati, some of us go to TJMAXX, Walgreens and Macy's.

In the office, people often ask us what we have we been doing every weekend, like they think we're so bored. Out of being sensitive, we just highlighted that we did chores and stayed at home. Well, only if they knew.


Before we left, a lot of our friends and family, advised us to just allot a certain budget for groceries each week. They told us to cook, bring lunch food and avoid dining out so that we could save. We do shop for groceries, but we also voraciously eat out. We always go back to WalMart (Tank Bus 5 or 33) within the week and do our grocery shopping there. Sometimes we go to Kroger's in Florence if there's time. Our groceries aren't conservative. We indulge.

We do grocery shopping to create our sumptuous dinners since cooking has never been so easy and delicious here with all the prepared flavorful meats and spices. Even in good productive moments, we also cook our lunch food to take to the office. But in my case, I don't cook and would just rely on some of my colleagues for dinner at home. Also, I'm hardly up early in the morning to fill my lunch box, so I just end up eating out with a colleague at various restaurants like Chipotle (which is awesome by the way....we go there thrice a week), Wendy's, Shanghai Mama's or Burrito Joes. I also buy breakfast either at Starbucks' or Subway since I don't have time in the mornings. While my grocery shopping for Walmart are intended for juices, sausages, bread, cheese and cakes.

During the weekend, since we go out, we also eat out. If we find ourselves in Florence, we go to this Asian Buffet Restaurant there. If we feel like eating fastfood, there's McDonald's, Burger King and Waffle House near our apartments. For something upscale, we go to Keystone Grill, a resto-bar for some drinks and gourmet food, or we go to Cock and Bull for some steady night out, which is also near our apartment. Apart from that, there's delivery of La Rosas Pizza and Chinese.

Obviously all of us love to eat. We don't need a scale to tell us we've gained because food here is bountiful, has more varieties and accessible. It adds up to the whole happy experience.


We watch movies at Newport on the Levee. We watch more movies here than we ever do in Manila. It's our form of escape when we're too tired to shop and roam around. We get a 10 dollar ticket, get our popcorn, soda or coffee, enjoy the escape then cap it off with a ColdStone ice cream after.


We go places. We go to zoos, themed parks, different kinds of museums, you name it. One thing we haven't tried yet is to watch a Bengal Football game or a Cincinnati Reds Baseball game in one of their awesome stadiums. Apparently it's a big thing here and hopefully we get to experience it soon.

At first I felt guilty for spending too much. It wasn't in the plan and I'm not a big spender to begin with. But the feeling of achieving and acquiring something that you really like is priceless. We have allowance to save or spend, it doesn't matter. Whether we spend our allowance or save it, the money is just cherry on the top and a giveaway by the company. For others who opt to save more than spend, they might have a great reason to do so. For others who spent all and got everything that they wanted, I hope the feeling was priceless and the acquisition was worth it.

We're single. We're young. We're earning and we're lucky. At this point, nothing else matters.

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