Hardest goodbyes aren’t always for what you think

I’m not good at saying goodbye. Some people say that and walk with elegance away while my goodbyes equate to tennis ball sized swollen eyes from crying and snot bubbles dripping down the sides of my mouth.

My goodbyes aren’t pretty. When I’m placed in that position to have to leave something behind and know in my heart that I’ll never see it again, I start to call back every memory I’ve had. The ones where I am transported and I can still remember the smell of my surroundings. The ones where I can see the exact shirt I was wearing and how that person made me feel.

Today, by a text message from a friend, I received a Redfin link to a posting for a house. The url already told me everything I needed to know before I even clicked on it, but like any masochist would do, I tapped on my phone to open up the listing to my childhood home to further affirm my dad was putting it up for sale.

The one where I finally had my own room and had to stop sharing with my mom on nights she couldn’t stand my dad. The one where I had my sweet sixteen party – however sad and pathetic it was to other people, that party was the best thing my parents could have scrounged to afford.

This is the house I snuck out at midnight when both my parents were asleep so I could be cool and thought I was badass to go up the mountains car racing with other high school kids. This is the house where my mom left.

The house that had an empty room I’d go in and remember how broken our family was. But this house was where my dad raised me and I so fondly remember everything he sacrificed to ensure my life was one of luxury, and even if we were just faking it, I could at least feel equal to my peers at school.

The bones of that house kept me safe. Made me feel things were going to be okay when I was all alone restlessly sleeping on the couch closest to the front door when my dad had surgery so I could run out at mach speed to the hospital once he was out of the OR.

This house persevered a kitchen fire. This house outlived each one of us leaving.

First, my mother after she filed for divorce.

Then I packed up for college and barely came back.

Now my father’s remarried and moved on with the wife.

But I always felt that I could go back if I wanted to one day. My dad had rented it out all these years, probably for the same sentimental emotions I seem to have attached so much to.

2020 has taken so many things away. It took away kindness from strangers and replaced their eyes with judgement and uncertainty. It took away our way of life and replaced us with a box to live in 24/7. It took away the ability to see family and hug loved ones. It took away the plans I made to travel and see Europe for the very first time. It took away a hopeful future while we all wait unsettled without a target date to reach for a sense of normalcy. And now, it took away my past. The one place other than my dinky little apartment where I remember life when it was good. So damn good that when I think of it, I can see my dad in the kitchen donning his never-emasculating checkered apron nursing a sweet aromatic chicken stew while I’m upstairs in my heavy eyeliner from the early 2000’s banging out to some Avril Lavigne until he calls me down for dinner.

Good times.

Gone.

If I could speak my truth to that house, I’d like to thank it for protecting me and putting up with me. The days when I yelled and cried for having to deal with curfew to the days I just needed a nice warm shower after a long day of ballet practice.  Maybe one day, I’ll pick up my kid from ballet and cruise by the street and show them, “Look, that’s where mommy grew up. That’s the house that saw all the good with the bad and kept standing tall to protect its family.”

 

Movies & Shows to Stream for Every Quarantine ‘MOOD’

I’m hit with serious show hole. If you didn’t watch the TV spot on Show Holes from Amazon a while back, here’s the link to describe the feeling:

So now that I’ve exhausted through every star studded big name show and movie on demand, what’s there left?? I created this list to help me recall the best of the best for each mood I’m having while learning to adapt to only 800 square feet of living for the next unforeseeable future.

  1. The I need Chicken Soup for the Soul Mood: Gilmore Girls on Netflix, the perfect blend of comfort and feel good warmth.
  2. The I miss my siblings and need a little bit of magic in my life Mood: Onward on Disney+, Kleenex is a commodity so use sparingly.
  3. The I need something suspenseful and based on a book mood: Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, who’s side will you be you on??
  4. The I miss brunch on the weekend with my girls and legit any real type of social networking mood: Dollface on Hulu (break open a bottle of Cava and you’ll really feel like you’re back in your
  5. The it’s Saturday Morning, and I’m still having cereal for breakfast at age 29 mood: Recess on Disney+. I still can’t believe I can stream this whenever I want!! Oh how I miss swinging on monkey bars and playing hopscotch.
  6. The I need something bright and funny to lighten up the mood in my single bedroom shelter mood: Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. I need a Midge in my life- to be my friend, mom, lover, style icon. She’s perfect, perfect…PERFECT.
  7. The I feel like garbage so give me some junk digestible TV mood: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Hulu, because other people’s million dollar problems are so much more entertaining than the fact that I haven’t worn jeans in 3 weeks.
  8. The I need to go on an adventure with my friends but can’t mood: Hunter x Hunter on Netflix and Hulu(entire series on Crunchyroll). This is by far one of the best bingeable animes for best buds all having their own goals but achieving them together.
  9. The I have wine and found some good cheeses at the store for once mood: Ratatouille on Disney+, easily one of the better culinary movies of our time and it’s family friendly!
  10. The I need to be healthier and stop ordering takeout mood: Jamie Oliver’s Quick & Easy Food series on Hulu. He breaks down how to make bombassery food with simple and quick 5 ingredients. I’ve been cooking for so long and still find surprising tricks from these snack size episodes. You’ll want to bookmark this one not just to cook healthy foods for yourself during WFH but remember them to host dinners and wow guests!

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Sex & the City on Amazon Prime: when you miss GNO
  2. Mulan: when you need a story about warriors & bravery
  3. Modern Family: When you miss family and need a laugh to remember all their quirks
  4. Chef’s Table: The closest thing we’ll get to fine dining for a while
  5. The Matrix Trilogy: Matrix 4 is on its way, and um hello? anything with Keanu is a win.

 

Where our arguments lead

We were like two ships in the night with a vast ocean separating us,

We’ll be in same sea, on the same journey but never meeting in between

a flicker in the light from your deck is all I can see,

The waves roll on swaying across the dark unknown

spilling fear and mystery,

I look to your light,

waiting and praying the flicker grows warmer and stronger, closer to mine

Alas, the storm rages on dividing our two ships with no means to an end.

Both lost,

both afraid,

and both stuck away from each other with no way back.

 

This is how I learned acceptance

Last year, I learned acceptance instead of resistance.
It leaves me both liberated and sad to see this change in my thought process. Though, it is extremely freeing to not care and less exhaustive to.
But where’s my voice?

I thought to myself during this realization, “is acceptance just giving up?”

Where did the old me go? The one that used to kick and scream for the things I believe to be fair, the things I wanted to change, the ideas I needed to execute.
Did my passion evaporate?

Or do just lose our edge when we age? Accept that things are just the way it is took a lot of years out of me. If there was a physical manifestation in how I gained this understanding, it would be equivalent to getting white hair. But it’s this transformative phase has helped me get through the bullshit. In the global scale, I needed to practice this the most during the current crisis that will define my generation: the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Instead of living in fear, acting in panic, and hiding myself, I’ve learned this is what it is and I need to do my part in it. However large of a problem this eventually will become for me, I need to accept that it is here and follow the guidelines provided by healthcare officials. So I sigh and move directly into acceptance, research the best way to flattening the curve, find the right ways to go outdoors for groceries or a walk to see sunlight without exposing myself to it.

Sure, we can go through the phases of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression before we finally get to acceptance. Or we can just choose the expressway there and stop getting angry. Our frustrations taken out at other people at the grocery store, glares darted at strangers on the street, or even yelling and blaming at people on the frontlines for running out of stock on things. The frustration is natural, we’re all afraid of the unknown especially since the ‘cure’ doesn’t come in a form of medication but our own antibodies to fight this off. However, we don’t need to be angry at our neighbors and other strangers.

Let’s please just stop that. We need to show more kindness to everyone now when we need it the most. The ones who are directly and personally affected and the ones living in fear of this unknown. Accept it, treat it and don’t live in the anger. Spreading kindness and hope is what we need.

I’ve accepted this problem we have, there is not denial and resistance anymore. The toll keeps rising and anger is elevating everywhere but what I’m not seeing enough is acceptance and learning to be good neighbors and friends to help each other through it.

Cabin Fever? Here’s my daily routine and list of things to do!

I’m doing my part by flattening the curve and only going out for a walk to taste fresh air or pick up necessary groceries for the week.

But cabin fever is a legit problem.

Here’s how my day has been spent (literally everyday to the point where the weekends mesh and feel like weekdays).

7:13AM Wake up, scroll through my phone and check the latest on COVID-19 through twitter and various news outlets.

7:30AM Get around to peeling myself off the bed, grab a sweater to pull over and head for the kitchen to mainline that caffeine.

7:32AM This is the North Star of every morning. Beautiful brew stirred to almond milky goodness sitting on my breakfast bar while I continue to peruse through what I’ve missed while I slept.

8:30AM YOGA

9:30AM Prep my faux OOTD (cute top, yoga pants on the bottom) and do something different to my hair that makes it look combed before I’m hit with any video conferences.

10AM Switch from personal to work laptop and drill through emails like mad. Efficiency is key for me before I have my first meal at lunch. After I have food, my crank rate depreciates by half.

11AM Prep the kitchen for lunch, continue to focus on emails.

12PM Lunch time, usually coupled with a quick snack size TV content. Lately, we’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s Quick & Easy.

1(ish) but really like 1:45PM, prep to hop back online.

5(ish) wind down and prep the kitchen for dinner

6PM Dinner with a show my partner and I take seriously because night time means drama, thriller, and all that good jazz to keep me hooked.

7PM Play a round of video games with my partner until we’re too stressed out from our competitive nature. He’ll switch the game to something more mind numbing, single player, and relaxing and I’ll head to the bedroom to grab the latest read.

8:30PM Call me a grandma at not even 30, but this is the second wave of that good good. This is when I reach for my laptop to write or shuffle through my shelf ( or possibly digital Kindle backlog) for a great new adventure through words. Currently, I’m reading Laws of Human Nature and Marie Lu’s Legend Series. Sometimes I’ll read 2 sentences and I’ll be out quicker than you can blink, other times, the escapism gets real and I’m clocking in until 1230AM through an entirely new universe.

I know the next few weeks are going to be daunting. I know it’s tough for those who are more directly affected by this than me, but if you’re hit with cabin fever, here’s a list of hobbies that would be a wonderful start to living your day and not feeling like you’ve wasted it because you’re stuck at home:

  1. Adult Coloring Book – once you’re finished, you can hang them up a wall or roll them up, tie it with a string and give it to a loved one. It’s the easiest and most painless way to share a hand crafted gift. (I know knot how to knit so this is my crafty avenue- haha)
    Pro tip: If you’re of age, a nice glass of wine is the perfect pairing
  2. Level Up Your Cooking & Baking Skills– I’ve linked you to my pinterest page. I grew up thinking I would never be the scrapbooking type, yet the digital version is so fun and easy! With so much time on our hands, this is the perfect homebody hobby to try different recipes and create a list of aces to wow your friends once this quarantine is over! Pro Tip: grocery stores may intimidate you lately with the lines, out of stock and barren produce section. But I’ve found if you go to an ethnic store they’ll likely have a lot more inventory than your local Ralphs or Whole Foods and it’ll cost you a lot less.
  3. Make (metaphorical) Lemonade- Remember that old adage, “If only I had more time?”, Well now you really do! Take this opportunity to chase your dream, start your own business, learn a new language. Paralyzing yourself tuning in (or out) with Netflix, Hulu, and all the other on demand streaming services isn’t helping your situation. You’ll just feel even less alive and excited about each day, especially once you’ve finished binging Gilmore Girls again for the 5th time.
  4. Indoor Escapism: Video games are the quickest way to jump into a different reality. Luckily, timing was on our side for once and Nintendo released Animal Crossing. A Sims type of game where you runaway and live on an island. If you’ve got a PS4, I recommend this silly third person shooter: Agents of Mayhem. It’s got the vibe of GTA, but with cartoony art style and form. Every character is a wonder and the missions are super chill but fun.
  5. Reading & Writing: I went on a hiatus and the traffic to my blog is as DOA as using the term ‘on fleek’ from 2 years back today. But I’ve really found the bonus time to write more, read more and imagine more. Reading is such a great tool to help motivate me to get creative and write beyond my usual styles. Definitely reach out if you want a list of recommendations, give me your vibe and I’ll post you your next great literary adventure.

 

 

 

Did your idea of love change as you got older?

Butterflies and goosebumps are fairytales. None of it lasts and so doesn’t love. At the end of the day we’re just living our lives with a roommate whom we trust and maybe decide to commit to a marriage license with as a tax deductible.

Except that latter part isn’t even something to consider in this day and age. Tax benefits for married couple doesn’t actually ‘benefit’ unless you one of you is making significantly less than the other. If you’re both at an equivalent base salary, the tough truth is you’ll end up in the same bracket as if you filed individually. How do I know this? Simple trip to my friendly trusted neighborhood CPA. She filed both my taxes and my partner’s. By the end of the 2 hour session we booked her for, I wanted to float the idea of possibly getting hitched with my partner in the next 5 years. With over 30 min left of the time we paid her for, she pranced her fingers around the calculator, played with numbers on a blank white sheet, and discovered we’d be paying more if we filed jointly. HILARIOUS.

So, back to the original subject, did your idea of love change as you grew older?

I’ve been really lucky to have felt the phase ‘in love’ longer than most during their puppy love stage. Somewhere between the transition of year 1 to year 2, my partner and I slowly but comfortably became more individuals but as a unit. I remember being glued as a siamese twin the first year. That part doesn’t last and I think we all know that. For us, it went on for almost a year and half before we fell back into our separate entities.

It is still love though. Not the same roller coaster highs and lows, but a safer sanctuary where you learn the perfect curvature of how they sleep and where you fit right in. I do miss the rampant need to cling onto my partner as a koala does on a eucalyptus tree during the early phase but its nice to fall back into a groove where I can work on my own craft and know sitting barely 12 feet away is someone who loves me doodling on his iPad and sipping his tea.

What going on a ‘Break’ really means

The fights get worse and the screaming grows louder.

I’m crying in a matter of seconds with flailing arms.

You move away and sit opposite side of the couch from me.

There’s no love left at this point, just two egos battling to see who can win.

I suggest a break, hoping you’d fight for me.

You reply, ‘Yeah’ with no hesitation.

Minutes flash by quicker than blinking, and you’ve already packed up your things.

My heart’s crying silently, internally begging you to stop.

The door opens and you leave me behind.

I sit hugging my knees, soaking tears into my jeans.

After a mind numbing eternity, I wrap up my heart and hide it away,

knowing full well this break means the end.

The word ‘break’ was just a softer blow than ‘break up’.

Because you aren’t coming back.

 

With COVID-19, A New Wave of Racism

Date: July 22, 2010

Mr. Martinez, University of California Riverside Professor in Sociology 

He had said during one our very last lecture in class, “We are not all different races; we all belong to the human race.” The quote really touched me. I had never thought of it like that. With the lack of the right education from our childhood, we’re not taught that we’re all the same. We learn in history about World Wars and Civil Wars separating peoples and confining them to their races, but nothing teaches us about the takeaway. What was it all for? Every little fire started from xenophobia. Why haven’t we been properly educated to understand that despite the wars that have created racism, we are all part of the human race and if you truly trace back our roots, we’re just all from the same place

Date: March 26, 2020

A decade later, a world pandemic spreads from Wuhan, China where the Coronavirus outbreak started and it seems a new wave of  racism towards Asians have emerged. With research concluding that this was a result of natural evolution, it seems the rest of the world is looking to blame the Chinese, further exacerbated by Trump calling it the ‘Chinese Virus.’ Unfortunately, it resulted in not just scapegoating the Chinese, but other Asians alike: Japanese, Vietnamese, Koreans etc…

As the coronavirus upends American life, Chinese-Americans face a double threat. Not only are they grappling like everyone else with how to avoid the virus itself, they are also contending with growing racism in the form of verbal and physical attacks. Other Asian-Americans — with families from Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar and other places — are facing threats, too, lumped together with Chinese-Americans by a bigotry that does not know the difference.

In interviews over the past week, nearly two dozen Asian-Americans across the country said they were afraid — to go grocery shopping, to travel alone on subways or buses, to let their children go outside. Many described being yelled at in public — a sudden spasm of hate that is reminiscent of the kind faced by American Muslims, Arabs and South Asians in the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But unlike in 2001, when President George W. Bush urged tolerance of American Muslims, this time President Trump is using language that Asian-Americans say is inciting racist attacks.

-NY Times

I woke up to this article and immediately started messaging my family, reminding them to not travel alone anywhere during this time. Reminding friends to tell their beloved to brace themselves for this new hate wave. I’ve noticed when I go out once every few days to pick up groceries, there’s a larger gap between myself and others waiting in line than other queues without anyone of Asian descent. I’m actually thankful nothing worse has happened to me or anyone else i know.

I’m realizing how very real and terrifying this disease has taken form from something that gives us daily hypochondria to fear that we can’t even walk outside alone or in the dark. It’s scared everyone else away from Asians even in the time when we all need to move away from racism and fight this disease for all human kind.

It seems we’ve forgotten:

that all men are created equal.

I’m deeply terrified for the younger kids who have to go back to school and face bullying. I’m painfully afraid of my parents who are much older now to defend themselves when they decide to take a stroll outside.
I’m disappointed that despite all the fake news we’re aware exists in the interwebs, there’s a stain and fingers pointed because it’s easier to have someone to blame than accept something else. Something the media hasn’t been broadcasting. Something media should educate people on but don’t.

The novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year and has since caused a large scale COVID-19 epidemic and spread to more than 70 other countries is the product of natural evolution, according to findings published today in the journal Nature Medicine.

-Science Daily