Building and opening doors

In one of my previous posts, I wrote about my tradition of creating a piece of art for any place I move into. I usually allow the dust to settle and let the home speak to me before I start creating or begin the creative process. It’s important to me to create something for my new abode because I see it as a peace offering– a way to suggest that I appreciate this new space and will take care of it. I also see this opportunity as a way to set the tone — to allow art to speak volumes of the type of energy and spirit I want to cultivate and preserve.

We moved into our duplex in early September, about two and half months ago, and I have yet to create a piece of art for our new place. However, over the weekend, my husband and I worked together to install a barn yard door for his DJ room. this experience brought us many first; it was the first time he and I actually used a drill gun together; it was the first piece of “fixture” we built and it was the first time we installed something that required measuring, screwing and drilling. Although what we created wasn’t a piece of art, the door reflected what I had hoped to accomplish with any art project-to create memories, to contribute to the home, to bring us together.

I’m reminded that every once in a while, it’s okay to break traditions as long as other traditions are made. In this case, I’m don’t mind that I’m not creating art independently. I have replaced it something better: My husband and I created a very practical and beautiful piece of craftsmanship for our new place. I couldn’t me more proud of us.

Bucket list

Well, there comes a time in everyone’s life where in one day you experience the thrill of checking off a few items on your bucket list, all in one day. Today, that happened to me, and one wasn’t even on my bucket list.

Wedding Crasher

I started off the morning watching a DJ on Twitch and within a few minutes, he announced that we would be virtually crashing a wedding! He was invited by a subscriber and was asked that after his Twitch show to crash a wedding with all his subscribers. That morning he had over 100 viewers. It was an odd experience- attending a stranger’s wedding while I sat at home, in bed, with my pajamas on. But by the time the bride and groom said “I do” I was full on emotional, crying into my pillow, thinking about my own wedding. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to crash someone’s wedding, even if it was virtually, in Las Vegas, being invited by a DJ with a hundred other people, who I didn’t even know. But when the classic vows were said, in that moment, regardless of the unfamiliarity of the situation, we all felt connected and one. It’s so amazing how the internet can bring people together to participate in a shared experience.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Growing up, I was constantly compared to my dad. The dark skin, the dimples, thin lips, our penchant for adventure and traveling. Then there was that one summer when my Dad and I went to Guam where I got to know him a little better. But today, when my mom and dad came to visit us at our new place and while I was showing them around, the similar interest my mom and I share was evident. I showed her my thriving plant collection, my color coded bookshelf, my highly utilized sewing machine in which I inherited from her, and the pan of japchae I cooked for the first time. My mother has had a green thumb her entire life. In the Philippines she has a garden filled with fruit trees and exotic plants. Check out the video and pictures below. Her house is always immaculate, being compared to a museum because of its cleanliness and aesthetics. My mom also sews (pillows, curtains, clothes, etc.) and is a trained chef at heart. Her palobok, siopao and flan are highly requested by family and friends. Growing up with such a role model can be extremely intimidating. There’s nothing my mom can’t do, well. So when it was time for me to do some things on my own, I definitely had big shoes to fill. Yet, when my mom came over and I pointed out all the meaningful things I’ve done, she said “you’re becoming like me.” At a different time, I would have cringed, but today I was beaming with pride.

Dinner Party!

Something that I didn’t even consider but was worthy of sharing today was hosting my family. In the previous homes I lived, it was far and didn’t have adequate space to have people over. But today, it was so pleasant to have my family (sans my brother who was helping someone move) come over. Our place is relatively small- we don’t even have a dining table and we eat on the couch or on the floor in our living room, yet everyone seemed comfortable eating Korean food and catching up on life that the space or lack of a table, didn’t seem to matter. We were so focused with what was in front of us that the moment was all around perfect and meaningful. I never thought I’d be able to host a dinner party without a table! It made me realize that we can’t hold back from the things we want to experience merely because the situation isn’t perfect. Many beautiful things are possible if we look, appreciate and utilize what we have.

Check out my parents’ front yard in the Philippines:

Pictures of my parents’ garden in the Philippines and a family photo of us today

Communication

Lately, I don’t know if it’s because of COVID or the civil unrest happening, but I find myself in more and more difficult conversations where people express anger because they are misunderstood. I can’t remember a time when the volume of verbal strifes have increased and people are putting blame or acting defensive because of what was said or how it was said. It seems that every person that I’ve talked to has expressed a recent argument that they’ve had with a partner, child, co-worker, or friend and the bane of the disagreement happens to center around communication, or more accurately, the lack of communication.

Being able to effectively communicate is a life long skill, and sometimes it’s the difference between going to bed angry or a happy, or a life or death situation with the police, or a job offer or job rejection. So much power and fate can be determined by what someone chooses to say and how they choose to express it.

Recently my partner and I had a quarrel because of Twitch. In short, I was upset because we both agreed that his live radio show would only be 1 hour a day. Well, lately it’s been more than an hour and this compromised our schedule for dinner, chores and most especially my mental health. I desperately need peace and quiet after work, which is also the same time his twitch show begins. Because of the fires, I can’t go outside and because we live in a one story condo- there’s no other place to escape the noise. I want to be supportive of my hubby’s outlet, but we agreed on a time limit, and he wasn’t honoring that. We talked about it and came to a compromise- 45 minutes day. In retrospect, this was a trivial fight, but I think it could have potentially led to a more serious one. With all the previous practice we’ve had with conflict resolution, I think we’re getting better with communicating our needs.

One thing about sheltering in place is that it’s forcing me and I imagine many couples and relationships to have the difficult conversations. Being at home, day after day, month after month, it’s natural that people will disagree. Being in each other’s space, with no respite sounds like a recipe for many verbal altercations. We’re all either going to come out of sheltering in place as expert communicators or a better version of our former selves. I know that I’m not an expert and I probably will never be when it comes to communicating with my partner, but I’m content with the progress we’re making and glad that rather than crying and giving each other the silent treatment, we’re talking, even when it seems like the most impossible and difficult thing to do.

Here we are “communicating” how to take pictures in front of our new place.

Twitch

There’s a new routine on Fridays: Twitch and the chat room.My husband, who is a dj, introduced me to twitch, a streaming app/ website where creators, like DJs, can host streams while participants engage by following, subscribing, and using the chat room and emotes. I’ve been watching Twitch on Friday nights and it’s a full VIBE. My screen is literally lit with green screen overlays, Djs talking on the microphone giving love to all the people in the chat and emotes such as janet jackson, clinking shot glasses and dancing silhouettes. Who would have thought that a simple streaming app could be so much fun? I jump to different streams and i”m immediately greeted in the chat room with friendly texts and emotes, some from people I don’t even know but have built a familiarity based on their twitch handle.
What I appreciate the most about twitch is that each DJ has their own unique style and format. If I want to listen to 90s music, I’ll check out Dj Verz, If I want a quick mix, I’ll check out DJ Mel, If I want a chill vibe I’ll tune into DJ Umami. What ever I’m feeling, I can easily find a DJ that will match my mood and a chat filled with folks who are in the same spirit.
It’s a culture that has its language: emote, raid, twitch, affiliate, bit, moderator, lurker, overlay, cheer, train. Believe it or not, as odd as these terms are, they have been part of my daily colloquial. It’s strange to go even for a day without saying the phrase “what emote should I use for the raid”? A few weeks ago I would have never uttered the words, let alone know what they meant. But here I am speaking twitch adages as if I’ve spoken them my entire life.
It’s great to see DJs evolve and move their passion to twitch. With bars and clubs closed, twitch has become a new home for music lovers and while I haven’t been to a club in years, even way before sheltering in place, I definitely have found a new home where I don’t mind twitching.