San Juan-Rueda Year-End Letter 2009

by: mavisrueda

In: Family & Friends | Personal | photos | Xianelle

26 Dec 2009

San Juan – Rueda Year End Letter 2009

As the year comes to a close and as we welcome the New Year, we send out our year-end-letter to our families and friends once again. Let me start by saying how grateful we are to our Lord for a truly blessed and wonderful year.

The first half of the year proved to be very busy for us. Being able to work in the same school as Xiane made working more enjoyable for me.  Of course it was also a tough time as I had to balance both work and family life. Some stuff, like having to keep the house squeaky clean had to take a back seat for awhile.  Thanks to Christian for being the most understanding and most supportive husband during this.  Thanks for the times when you had to cook, wash the dishes and most of all for being Xianelle’s teacher.   I did enjoy working though I must admit that I missed being a stay-at-home mum.

On January, we tried to get Xiane to another school which we thought would give her more opportunity to learn and grow. Doha isn’t the easiest to find a place for your child in school. Since 70% of the population consists of expats, all schools usually having a long waiting list even nine months before the school year starts. Hoping against hope, we still applied and got Xianelle an interview in Qatar Academy. After an hour long interview (Xiane alone with the teacher), an exam and 2 weeks later, we finally got a call from Qatar Academy that Xianelle has passed! We were so proud of our little girl! However, this also meant that after almost 4 years staying in the same apartment/Condo, we have to move to an area closer to Xiane’s school to make travel faster and easier.

Our messy apartment before we moved

We spent a good 2 months trying to find a place that’s suitable and yet not too costly for us. Afternoons in May were spent calling agents and scouring the city for available spaces.  I must say that hard and tiring as it was, we did have a good time looking at the assortment of apartments. 20 buildings and villas later, we finally decided on an apartment we’ll call our new home.  But then comes the toughest part, moving our stuff to the new home.  Since we bought our own stuff 4 years ago, we had to haul everything to the new apartment. Nights were spent packing and boxes filled the living room. It was a mess! But as always, nothing is impossible when people, in our case 2, work together.  By mid- June, we were already in the new apartment. We had to try to make it livable for the moment as a couple weeks more would see us spending vacation in the Philippines.

And as it always is every year, all our hard work and sacrifices for being away from home pay off when we come home to our families in the Philippines.  There is no better reward for being here than to spend some time with our loved ones once again.  It’s cliché but there really is no place like home.

Bird Park from our Malaysia Trip 2009

With the scare of H1N1 when traveling, we pushed through our visit to Malaysia (truly Asia) in the second week of July. It was one of the most tension-filled trip we had as it seemed most of us caught a stomach virus a day before we left. Christian’s mom got sick the first 3 days in Genting. But in the end, after an emergency ride in an ambulance in Genting Malaysia, some shots and medicines, we all got to enjoy Kuala Lumpur. Who could forget the looong walk in Petronas or the photo opportunity with the parrots in the Bird Park? Click here to view photos of our trip to Malaysia.

Dinner Cruise in Bangkok

As for Tian and I, we got to spend our “second honeymoon” in Bangkok.  This would be the first time we’ve left Xiane alone with her grandparents for almost a week! It was a well deserved “alone time” for us. We went to their temples, rode tuktuks, visited their posh malls, had a lovely dinner in a rice barge while cruising in Bangkok River, ate delicious meals bought from hawker/street vendors, tried to look for fried grubs and insects to no avail, watched ladies (???) gyrate atop platforms in Patpong, and shopped till we dropped and ran out of money. Literally! We still haven’t explored much in Bangkok so we’re hoping to be back there again next year! Click here to view Photos of our Bangkok Trip!

Xianelle and Mavis giving out Toys

We were also lucky enough to be able to share some of our blessings to more unfortunate ones while we were on vacation. We brought toys that we told Xiane to give away as there are other children who would really appreciate them. We also brought a hundred slippers, school supplies and some vitamins to some of the Aetas (natives) whom we thought would need such items. This, we hope, would be an annual event for us. Click here to view photos of our Aeta Donation!

But as they say everything must come to an end as it was time to leave again for Doha.  Tian left for Doha in August as work is work while Xiane and I came back end of September, just in time for Xianelle’s orientation in her new school. Having given up my job, I now had time to get our flat in shape.  I remember spending two weeks on emptying boxes, sorting things out and putting things in place.  It was surely a taxing thing to do.  Luckily for me, it didn’t take a long time for me to go back to my old routine as a homemaker. The only thing I would complain about from time-to-time was the driving part.  But thank goodness for the new routes that I’ve learned, driving Xiane to/from school is not as burdensome anymore.

Xianelle’s new uniform in Qatar Academy

Xianelle had a tougher time adjusting in her new school.  She missed her friends in her old school and felt that she didn’t belong at first.  But with God’s grace and being a tough kid that she is, she has finally adjusted, made new friends and is slowly finding her place. Academically, she’s doing well and is one of the students whose reading level is much higher than most. Having finished 3 books of Harry Potter and always having a book in hand at home, we were not surprised. You have to literally pry away a book from her hands if you need her to do something! After her love for Pokemon has waned, she now is into Zelda, the Littlest Pets and Avatar the Last Airbender.  She is neither into Hannah Montana nor High School Musical yet as she says she only likes animated characters. We always tell her to enjoy being a kid and not try to be in a hurry growing up! Photos of Xiane in School!

Except for some health concerns in our families, I definitely say that this year has been a wonderful one.  Just as in the past years, we are thankful for all the blessings, for the love of family, for good friends, for our health, for life.

For the year 2010 we pray that God in His goodness will never tire showering us His blessings. We pray for continued good health and safety from harm.  We pray the same for all our loved ones and friends.

You could always visit our blog at :
or join our social network in facebook! (sorry for Friendster users as we don’t update ours anymore)

A Merry Christmas and a truly prosperous and blessed year to all! Till next year!

Click here for more of our Christmas Photos!

Mavis, Christian and Xianelle

1 Response to San Juan-Rueda Year-End Letter 2009



December 28th, 2009 at 10:09 am

wow, it’s nice to be doing this every year. I have a friend who also sends newsletter each year. It keeps us updated and in-touch with what’s hapenning in their family.

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It's been 10 years since the San Juan Family started their blog documenting their lives in this little spot called Qatar. Follow Chris, Mavis and Xianelle as they share what Doha has to offer.

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