Category: Personal Things

Homesick.

Last night, my cousin’s fiance had a bachelorette party back in Hawaii. I’m incredibly close to her and I know if I were back in Hawaii, I would’ve been there. They looked like they were having so much fun. I sat at home playing video games.

Then, the feeling washed over me: I miss Hawaii. I miss home. 

I get homesick a lot. Everyday. I know I made my choice by moving to the mainland, and I’m not going to lie, it’s been a good decision. The one thing I really miss from Hawaii is my family.

I grew up with a huge family. My mom one of 12, my dad one of six. My cousins were the older siblings I never had and the younger siblings I never wanted. My aunties and uncles were second parents. I loved the way I grew up.

I find myself daydreaming of moving back. I imagine C and I finding a house, regardless of how expensive it is there. I see my future kids running around with my cousin’s kids. I see family parties sitting around with my cousins, just talking story. I see my mom and dad coming to visit, cooking dinner at my place, babysitting my kids…

My parents tell me not to come back because Hawaii just isn’t what it was before. It’s too expensive, the traffic is horrible, what is there to do? I could find cheaper housing up here. They could come move up here with me when I have kids. I don’t think they understand what kind of effect raising me in Hawaii had on me. I want my future kids to have the culture I grew up with, I want them surrounded by family every holiday and birthday, I want them to have what I had.

Here, they’ll be alone, the way we are. C and I don’t mind having just each other. I don’t want that for my future kids.

Home will always be Hawaii. It’ll always be a 7-11 musubi down the road, or Foodland Ahi Limu Poke, or laulau from L&L’s. It’ll always be a beach, a hike, an endless view of the ocean. It’ll always be family parties with homemade lumpia and puto-flan, plastic chairs sitting in rows in a garage, bedrooms filled to the brim with teenage cousins, houses with children running around and screaming.

Home will always be where my family is.

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Babies…

Starting a family has been on my mind quite a lot lately.

I’m 25, been married for three years, and I’m always wondering if I should’ve been having kids already.

I still feel too young. I still feel like I’m not ready. When I say this to people who ask, they say “You’ll never feel ready, the best thing to do is just let it happen.”

I like having plans. I like sticking to my plans. Getting married after college wasn’t a plan I thought I was going to follow, but it was a possibility, so I made a plan for that. C getting out of the Marines after his first enlistment wasn’t in the plans, but moving from Hawaii was, and we followed that regardless.

My current situation wasn’t in my personal plans, but it’s working out the way I expected it would be. I know how to adapt and overcome, and make new plans, and I feel calm and safe knowing that it’s going the way I thought it would.

Babies have always been a ways away. I always told myself I wouldn’t even start trying until after C and I have our big wedding, and after three years, I am proud of myself for sticking to it. My plan was to start in two years. I could wait that much longer, easy.

Thing is, I have this weird thing where I don’t get my period. It’s been happening since I was in high school. I would only get my period when I took birth control, but when I’m off it, it never comes on its own. This has got me seriously concerned about my fertility and whether or not I will be able to bear healthy children when the time comes. (I’ve recently started seeing a doctor about it and haven’t seen an OB-GYN yet, but I will soon).

At 25, I worry that now may be the time to start trying. Whenever my mom sees me, or when I call, she asks if I’m pregnant yet. My aunties all tell me they can’t wait for me to start having kids. My dad even had a talk with me about starting now, because it’s harder when I get older… but inside, I don’t feel even the least bit ready.

I can’t even take care of myself and I give up trying to take care of C sometimes. I don’t even have a full-time job right now. I have some big plans career wise that need to start by next year, and they can’t be done while pregnant. I still want to travel. We still rent.

We haven’t even had our big wedding, which shouldn’t be important, but it’s important to me. If we’re struggling to save up for that, a kid is forever, and who knows if we’re financially stable enough to give them the lifestyle they deserve?

When I have a child, I want my parents to be able to help me, and it’s hard with me in San Diego and them in Hawaii. This is what worries me. I want them to grow up with cousins and family constantly around like I did, but with our choice in moving, it’s almost impossible. I want these things figured out before I even start trying.

And then… I don’t want to get my hopes up because with the way my menstrual cycle is, I may be stuck with the worst case scenario.

Maybe I should start trying now and see where it goes. It crosses my mind a lot. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

 

 

 

Hi, It’s Been A While…

The funny thing is that I literally have 10 drafts of posts that I just never finished in the last two months. I figure it’s time to come back and update myself on where I’m at.

It’s the middle of August, and the last time I wrote was in June. The past two months I’ve been hanging out with high school friends here for the summer, doing extra hours on my interim job (enough to pay my share of the bills AND put money into savings, hooray! Doesn’t beat a real career though…), and planning the rest of the year.

We moved into a new apartment yesterday after our current place decided to hike the rent up $200. Renting sucks. I can’t wait for the day C and I are financially stable, at a good point in our lives, and ready to buy a house. We’re still debating on where, though.

San Diego is everything — one six-hour flight to Hawaii, Las Vegas only a five-hour drive away for holidays, mild winters, easy summers, and DISNEYLAND ANNUAL PASSES. What more could I ask for? Well, affordable housing. That’s what I’d ask for. The market isn’t as unrealistic as Hawaii is, but it’s still not a trade-off.

Las Vegas is our second choice. Beautiful mini mansions for the price of a studio apartment, enough family to fill up a backyard for a birthday party, cheap cheap CHEAP, and only a three-hour drive to Disneyland. The downside? Weather. Dry heat. Hot wind that hurts your face in 110 degrees. I don’t know if i could live with that.

Hawaii is always in the back of my mind, but unless we win the lottery and somehow they evict half of the population, I don’t think we’ll ever move back. Yearly trips, of course, but not to settle down.

Anyway, aside from that, we planned a trip to Colorado for the end of the month and I’m so pumped. I’m almost certain we’re going to fall in love with the state and we’re going to want to move there as soon as possible. We’re spending three days in Colorado Springs (C’s brother is stationed around there) and then three days in Denver. Rocky Mountain National Park? OF COURSE!

After Colorado, some friends are coming to visit in October, and then in November we’re back in Hawaii for my cousin’s wedding. We’re trying to squeeze in a trip to Lake Tahoe before the year starts, and that’s when things are going to get interesting.

But, I’ll save that for when I’m ready to talk about it.

Hopefully it won’t be another two months before I write again.

Allbirds Wool Runner Review

IMG_4522Check out these crazy comfy shoes at Allbirds.com!

C and I have been wanting new shoes for a long time. My interim job is work from home, so since I almost never leave our apartment, I only have a pair of Nikes that I use for the gym and a pair of Converse II’s for everything else. C’s just a sneakerhead.

Allbirds, a New Zealand brand priding on their shoes made of wool, kept showing up on my Facebook ads. “Turns out, the world’s most comfortable shoe is made of wool,” they boast on their homepage. I clicked around, and what caught my interest was the minimalist look the runners had. No flash brand logos, no crazy bold designs or colors, just a simple shoe. I wasn’t sold on them yet, though. At $95 a pair, I wanted to be sure they’d be worth it.

I found out a friend of mine had a pair (albeit for less than a year) and he had nothing but great things to say about Allbirds; They were so comfortable, he used them for hiking, you can wear them without socks, and you can throw them in the laundry. I did think he was a little biased, though, because director Taika Waititi wears them and… my friend is an obsessive fan. So I took it with a grain of salt. It was everything repeated from the website, anyway.

I did a little more research and saw people complained about it smelling after a few weeks wearing them — with no socks. Others complained that because of the wool material, it made their bare feet sweat. Others said the wool was too thin and they could feel their toes about to burst a hole where it rubs. Now, there were a lot of people who bought the shoes because of the testament that you could wear them without socks. If I was one of those people, I probably wouldn’t have bought the shoes. BUT, I intended to wear socks all the time with these, so I gave them a shot. C just trusted my judgement and told me to order him a pair too. I got the gray ones and C got the black ones.

The shoes got to us in San Diego within a week, which was perfect timing for Disneyland Resort the next day. What better place to try out the most comfortable shoes in the world?

First impressions: a very neutral shoe style and color that goes with anything, which I liked. I usually prefer plain black and white colors over all black styles, so I chose the gray. Putting them on, I noticed how soft and comfortable they were. I wore some cheap H&M thin-ish socks so that it didn’t feel too hot on the inside and I could still get that extra layer of protection that I wanted. I did notice that you could see the outline of the edges of my feet jutting out a bit (pinky toe area), but my feet are weirdly shaped. C’s feet are more “normal” and narrower than mine, so he was fine.

It took an hour of walking around California Adventure Park for the shoes to break in for me. And when they did, they BROKE. IN. All of a sudden, it felt like I was walking on pillows! I have relatively flat feet, but the insoles were plush and kept my feet comforted and supported from 10:00 am to 1:00 am the next day. I was obsessed. My feet did start to hurt towards the end of the night, but that was just because it’s been awhile since I had walked so much. I did notice, however, it only hurt when I was standing or sitting. When it came time to walk again, the pain went away. I am obsessed with these insoles.

I kept singing praises but C has no real opinion on them. He doesn’t love them, but he doesn’t hate it either. He said it’s probably because he got them wet and, because of the wool, they soaked through to his socks and it was wet for a few hours. So that’s the one con about them — don’t wear these shoes on wet days.

I will be continuing to use these on any days where I expect to be walking a lot. I know enough not to use these as running/gym shoes. I’ve seen reviews that state the shoes wear out pretty quickly, so I’m hoping to see how long these will last with the amount of work I do in them.

But, at this point, I absolute love the Allbirds wool runners and would definitely recommend anyone to try them if they’re thinking about it!

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park (Photos!)

With a three day weekend available to us, we decided to spend it at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

C and I were both born and raised in Hawaii. I used to think that nothing could beat the views Hawaii had to offer, but I was wrong. The ocean is everything to me but these forests and canyons are something we could get used to.

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It still amazes us that we can literally drive four hours and end up in a completely different environment. Five hours from sunny San Diego landed us in forests, canyons, and rivers. Six hours from San Diego and we could end up in Arizona or Nevada, exploring new cities. It’s not a struggle to fly anymore, we just hop in the car and go. No need to save for expensive flights, just money for gas and food along the way.

We love our new lives here outside of Hawaii. Can’t wait for more adventures.

The Ones We’ve Lost

Today is Memorial Day. I know it’s supposed to remember those we’ve lost in war, but my family has taken it to remember all the ones we’ve lost in general. No disrespect or anything. We’ve just…lost a lot of people.

I think the first person in my family to pass away was my maternal grandpa in 1996, when I was four years old. I don’t remember much of him, just that he gave me a necklace that I wore daily until I lost it when I was six. My mom brought me to Philippines for his funeral, and in Filipino tradition, they threw me over his coffin before they buried him. I had no idea what was going on.

A year or two later, my dad’s eldest sister passed away from cancer. She was living in Chicago and left behind my four cousins who were around my age range. We all flew to Chicago for the funeral and I didn’t really know how to feel since I didn’t remember meeting her.

Later, two of my cousins passed away on a visit to Philippines just days apart from each other. One was two years older than me, the other my age. I barely remember my interactions with them (they were just six years old and eight years old when it happened), but to this day I can’t help but wonder what life would’ve been like if they made it. We would’ve been so close. One of them would’ve gone to high school with me and graduated with me, then there would’ve been four Garcia’s in Campbell High School’s Class of 2010. It would’ve been amazing. Their lives were over before it ever really began.

When I was in the sixth grade, my cousin got into a fatal car accident. He was 21. Today’s his birthday, actually — he would’ve been 35 years old today. That might’ve been my first fully comprehensible experience with death. I remember waking up at some ungodly hour of the morning — 3 am? 4 am? — and my mom rushing us out of the house and to the hospital, saying that my Manong Arthur had died. I thought she was overreacting. We got to the hospital and when I saw my cousin, the one who took me to my dentist appointments when my parents couldn’t, babysat us, let me come over to play with his new puppy, let me come over just to play Legend of Mana or Paper Mario on his N64 because we weren’t allowed to have video games…I panicked. We lived down the street from each other and I couldn’t understand that I wouldn’t be seeing him anymore. Life changed a lot after his death.

Years later, my mom’s brother in the Philippines passed away. I didn’t know him very well. She didn’t bring us to the funeral. Another year later, my dad’s brother in the Philippines passed away in a motorcycle accident. He didn’t bring us to the funeral either. Already, loss had started to become regular in their lives. My paternal grandfather passed away before I was born.

Several years later when I was 16, my mom’s other brother (she is the second youngest of 12, with a mere four of them being brothers) passed away from cancer (can’t remember what kind it was, but I know it was cancer). He was loud when he was drunk (which was often) and loved to sing karaoke. I didn’t see him at the hospital. His two eldest kids who had moved to Las Vegas on their own years before came back to Hawai’i for it. It was then that I realized that death was what brought my close family even closer.

One by one, we would be gone, and because there was so many of us, we had to grow thicker skin each time.

In 2013, my mom’s sister passed away. I was visiting home on one of my summer breaks from college. She and my mom were extremely close; when she was still a child, my mom took a 10 hour bus ride from Isabela to Ilocos and my aunty raised her herself, paying for her school all the way through college until my mom decided to move to Hawai’i with her other siblings. Because of that, my aunty was a big part of my life. I had so many photos with her, admired her love for traveling, and always marveled at the way she kept a calm and reposed personality amongst the craziness of my mother and other aunties. “Your aunty was my best friend,” my mom told me in tears, and I knew this was the worst loss she had so far (and probably to this day). I dreamt about her often after her death, and even now her absence feels foreign.

Then, in 2015, the unthinkable happened. My maternal grandma, at 93, passed away in Philippines. My grandma was everything to me, and it was naive of any of us to see her as immortal. She was the strongest woman that any of us ever saw. She lived through the death of her husband, three children, and three grandchildren…why couldn’t she live forever? This mother of 12, grandmother of 42, great grandmother of 38, great-great grandmother of five, loved to tell stories, laugh at jokes, and enjoy the world around her. We were very close, which means a lot from being one of 42 grandchildren. Her passing hit all of us hard. I was lucky enough to fly to Philippines for her funeral with my mom and aunties and see her laid to rest next to my grandpa after more than 20 years. I miss her everyday, to this day.

And now, just recently, my paternal grandmother passed away, making me grandparent-less. I have so much I can say about it. She actually lived with us since I was kid. When my dad’s sister was the only sibling he had in Hawai’i, grandma would go there on the weekends and stay with us throughout the week. She loved to sew and crochet, always sewing up our blankets and pillows when we ripped them, knitting us doilies and anything she felt like we needed. She was harder on me than my other cousins or my brothers, which I still don’t understand. She and my mom had a weird relationship, but after 20+ years of living together, her death left my mom in so many tears. We all flew to Philippines for her funeral, where I cried harder than at my other grandma’s funeral, despite me being closer to my other grandma. She was just always there and I couldn’t believe it finally happened. I still can’t believe she’s gone.

My husband never really lost anyone he was close to. When we started dating, he attended my aunty’s funeral with me and it was the first one he’d been to as an adult. I’ve already been to quite a few in my life and I know eventually it’ll be endless. My parents started having the “If I die, this is what you need to do…” talks with us a long time ago. Death is still a scary concept to me but all I can do is try to understand as I get older.

If I was back in Hawai’i, I’d be spending my Memorial Day at the cemetery with my family, celebrating the lives we’ve loved and lost. Today, I’m remembering all my family members who’ve gone, because to be forgotten is worse than death. Miss you all.

25 And I’m Still Afraid Of My Parents

Dev: His dad doesn’t know that we eat pork.
Navid: It’s against our religion.
Denise: Wait, aren’t y’all two grown ass men?!
Dev: Yeah! But we’re scared of our parents.

Master of None is a great show. Even though Aziz is Indian-American, as a fellow Asian-American I can relate so much. That’s something very uncommon.

I started Season 2 and this scene made me laugh like crazy. Aziz’s character, Dev, is 33-years-old. The episode touched on religion and how Dev is not a very religious person but had to put up a front for some relatives. It was all just too familiar.

The part that made me laugh, though, was that Dev was still afraid of his parents at 33. I’m 25, living across the ocean from my parents, seeing them at least once a year, and I’m still afraid of them!

I firmly believe this is an Asian thing, and a first generation thing. I don’t really know why that is, but if anyone could explain it to me, I’d love to hear it.

My husband is also a first generation FilAm, but his relationship with his parents is rare for our kind (lol). He can’t relate to my terrors, but I know a lot of others who could.

One example of being afraid of my parents involves tattoos. I’ve had them since 2012. My mom has told me over and over again that I better not get one, but of course, I got two. They’re both on my hip area, so they’re hidden under my clothes 90% of the time. I make sure not to wear anything that may show it around my parents. I can’t even imagine what I would do if they found out. I do want more tattoos but I spend a lot of time thinking of size and placement so that it fits somewhere hidden by my clothes. I daydream about having something on the back of my neck, on my ankle, somewhere on my forearm…but I know it’ll never happen. It’s been five years and I’m pretty sure they don’t know about my tattoos yet.

“Who cares?! Do what you want! You’re an adult!”
Nope. The guilt will eat at me and also my parents terrify me.

Another example? My relationship with my husband started off…well, it wasn’t supposed to start in the first place. It has a weird history that I may write about here someday. I avoided telling my parents about us for almost a year because I was terrified of their reaction. When they finally confronted me about it, I was right to be scared. So much yelling. So much CRYING. SO. MUCH. GUILT TRIPPING. It took them several months to accept us, and now he is the son they’ve always wanted (sorry to my two brothers, lol!). Trust me though, I will avoid that initial confrontation for as long as possible.

Disappointing my parents is just something I never want to do. I believe that most of my anxiety and depression stems from this. The reason why I can’t accept myself as I am currently is because it would disappoint them if they found out. Yup, they have no idea what I’m actually doing or where I am in my life because I am keeping it hidden from them as best as I can. This stresses me out. Every day that my life doesn’t change is another day of disappointment, and I can’t live with it.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to get over how my parents react to my life, but until further notice, the way they see me will always make or break my day.