Valentine’s Weekend

My husband and I usually don’t participate in celebrating Valentine’s Day the traditional way. But we do like to keep up with our traditions, namely because it gives us something to look forward to the beginning of the year. Over the years, January has been a difficult month because a lot of people we love have passed away this time of the year. In February, we like to reflect on life and appreciate our blessings. On Valentine’s Day we honor our traditional love languages: we gift each other with food and things that we think will make us stronger- individually and together. This year I asked my hubby to join me on a hike, even though I know this is not the kind of activity he prefers. He often complains and makes excuses like his ankles hurt or that his fingers hurt. But this weekend, he joined me on a hike and what was more thoughtful was that he didn’t hesitate. He understands that my love language isn’t material things but offering support. In turn, I gifted my husband a pair of ipods. I know this is isn’t the most romantic gift, but I know my hubby is looking for motivation to jump rope consistently, and I know music helps him achieve this, so it was worth the investment.

After the hike, we drove to Oakland and picked up a combo meal from Vegan Mob.

I know this isn’t’ the typical way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Or maybe it is. What ever the case, happy Valentine’s Day, no matter if you celebrate it or how you celebrate it. Continue to do the things that are meaningful for you, every day.

Blogmas #22 // Giving Tuesday

About six years ago, I experienced my first giving Tuesday with YouTube Influencer and home chef Laura Vitale. I was selected from hundreds of applicants to join Laura on a virtual cooking event where we cooked and conversed together via google hangout. Obviously this was way before COVID, so a virtual event of this kind was very unique.

I bring this experience up because since then, I have donated to a cause, non- profit or organization/ person in need every season. Over the past few years I’ve donated to meals for children, ending sex traffic, local businesses, book launches, and more. This year I focused on PAWA- Philippine American Writers and Artists. I chose this non-profit this holiday season because they have offered me so much space and support as a budding writer.

To begin with, since the pandemic, I have attended at least a related PAWA virtual event once a month, if not more. I attend classes, panel discussions and have even participated in several readings as a special guest. PAWA is a community in which I belong in and a few years ago I didn’t think I could be in such regarded company. Since my involvement with PAWA I have met some amazing people and writers and have greatly benefited from their guidance and support. Many of them have encouraged me to take the next step with my stories, but I don’t think, even with their vote of confidence, that I am ready to share my writing with the world.

PAWA provides the necessary space for me to feel held, with no judgment, no pretense, no vex. The community is one that welcomes all writers and artists and encourages each person at their own pace and trajectory.

I know this is a season of giving, but this year is fiscally challenging for many. I know there are a lot of causes and organizations that need support, but if you can help PAWA in any way, I encourage you to do so. During this pandemic, if you have relied on books, art, movies, music or any form of creative expression made by a Filipino American, to provide escape, entertainment or enlightenment during this very dark time, then I encourage you to donate to PAWA. They support writers and artists to continue to do this work so that we can all benefit from these enriching experiences.

For more on PAWA.. click below…

http://pawainc.com/

My Christmas tree is not pinterest worthy

My Christmas tree is not pinterest worthy. It doesn’t have a color coordinated theme or have big cascading ribbons running down it or have vintage ornaments or glass glittered balls. Yet my tree is still very special.

A few years ago my husband and I started the tradition of collecting tree ornaments for all the places we visited. So far we have over 30 pieces which include memories from New York Public Library, Iceland, South Africa, the Oregon Shakespearean festival and even the State capital– Sacramento. However, the most special ornament is the personalized pineapple we purchased in Hawaii. I remember the trip vividly because it was the first time I had visited Hawaii in over 15 years and we were celebrating our two years of marriage. It was 2018 and I had just started a new job, my sister was about 7 months pregnant, and I was planning her baby shower, and Mel and I had just moved into our new condo in South San Francisco. There were many reasons to celebrate that particular year. I can recall all the dishes, places and beaches we enjoyed during that trip in Hawaii, yet every year, when I take out all my Christmas tree ornaments, it the pineapple ornament I enjoy unwrapping and hanging first. I also make sure that I place it in the front center of the tree, eye level to the couch so that when I’m watching TV or relaxing in our living room, it’s within my visual reach with an unobstructed view. Sure, throughout the year, I have the advantage of looking at my digital photos on my phone and reminiscing about our memorable trip, but there’s something about the tradition of holding the ceramic piece in my hand and running my fingers on the scripted engraving and rubbing the smooth edges of the pineapple green leaves and yellow skin that take me back to paradise.

Christmas movies in October

On top of supporting teachers during distance learning, moving to a new place, occasionally being the moderator for my husband’s twitch show, posting on my blog, I am also taking a class to fulfill my TESOL certificate. Every weekend, I spend about 8-10 hours reading articles and textbooks, watching instructional videos, posting and responding to the class discussion board, and completing tests and writing papers or assignments. At the end of a long work week, although I like learning, the requirements for the class are a bit overwhelming for my schedule. Nevertheless, I’m committed to staying on schedule and taking the classes as they are offered. I started the journey in March and this is my third class. I hope to complete my certification by March 2021.

I usually spend Saturday and Sunday doing my assignments, but this weekend was a little more complicated; I had to complete everything today (Saturday) because I need to focus tomorrow’s time and energy preparing for my reading on Tuesday. I don’t want to be distracted.

When I opened up my computer and saw the long list of assignments I had to do, I was immediately engulfed in panic and stress. There was so much to do! I had to take a test, watch instructional videos, post a comment and respond to two classmates’ comments, read four chapters, and turn in a 4 minute voice recorded assignment. I sat on the couch, and plopped the laptop on my thighs and noticed the time –1:00 PM — and began typing. The next thing I knew, I looked up at it was 5:00 PM. At this point, although it felt irresponsible but at the same time necessary, I took a break– a two hour break! In fact, I actually watched a Hallmark Christmas movie called “Jingle Bell Bride,” and I lOVED it. Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of cheesy, Christmas movies and if they are on Hallmark, even better. When I saw that the Hallmark Holiday movie count down to Christmas started today at 5:00 PM, I had no problem with putting my computer aside and getting hella comfortable with my throw blanket and fluffy pillow. I figured that I had a a strong start, why not celebrate.

Believe it or not, but as soon as the movie finished, two hours later, I went back to working on my assignments. Even my husband looked at my sideways and asked how I can transition so quickly from being cozy to being studious. I told him there was something about the movie that inspired me to keep going.

Who knew that if you ever need to finish a long list of tasks and have impending stress about it, all you need to do is watch a Christmas movie and let it fill you with cheer and hope, knowing that anything is possible, especially when you’re in need of a little bit of Christmas spirit and miracle.

P.S. I highly recommend “The Jingle Bell Bride”. If you want me to post my Hallmark holiday movie recommendations for this year, let me know.

PPS. I completed everything by 9:30 PM today! Hence why I am posting on my blog at 10:15 PM on a Saturday. LOL

National Couple’s Day

Today, August 18, 2020, is National Couple’s Day. According to Nationaltoday.com, National Couple day is a day when “you celebrate the one you adore.” Besides that quick blurb, there wasn’t an explanation about the difference between Valentine’s Day and National Couple Day. The website basically gave advice on how to celebrate. The suggestions were:

  • Light candles, turn down the lights and slow dancing
  • Cook dinner together
  • Plan a special date night

Besides posting a collage of pictures of us on Instagram, my hubby and I didn’t do much celebrating. Instead I helped him with a job interview by pretending to be a person on the panel, he folded and hung my clothes to make sure I was ready for the work week, I prepared lunch for us and we both ate in silence. Then he left in the afternoon to go to his parents’ house for a couple days to help around the house. I made dinner and ate alone.
It was just another normal day, nothing out of the ordinary. Even the weather went back to being foggy and cold.
When my husband finished the interview, he was visibly upset. It hadn’t ended how he had planned it, and he confessed that although he had prepared for the last 10 days, he didn’t feel confident. They asked him very difficult questions, and he wasn’t able to articulate an eloquent response. He felt defeated. I watched him throw himself face down on our ottoman. He covered the sides of his face with his arms. He kicked his feet as if he were struggling to swim.
The best I could do is tell him that I was proud of him and remind him that I love him. I also said that he didn’t need a job to tell me he loved me too.
Although we didn’t do anything special for National Couple’s Day, in our own way, we “celebrated the ones we adore.”

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 11.07.24 PM

My post on Instagram