Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life: 360

Moving to a new country is initially thrilling. There's something about being exposed to a new milieu in general. The food, people, customs and way of life in foreign lands seem to have probed me at a young age. I can vividly recall my family's weekly drive to my grandmother's house in another city. The car ride took 30 minutes and extended to an hour or two with heavy traffic. We would recurrently pass by an international airport by the freeway where I would gaze out of the window and smile at the sight of airplanes. My mom told me that even before I could speak, she would point out airplanes to me during long drives and I would respond by being in awe each and every time.

"Wooow, Mommy! It's an AIRPLANE! 

A flurry of emotions came over me when I left the Philippines. I went on a shopping spree just like anyone would. I had my send off dinner and spent time with family. To say that it was difficult to walk away from my family at the airport is an understatement. I shed tears knowing that I was willingly giving up the life I had along with a family I have never been away from. No matter how lonely I may have been, I was also relieved that I was finally going to be with my then fiance again after several months of being apart.

Hair raising - I spotted differences between the Philippines and America as soon as I got here. At the airport, I was stepping off the pavement to cross when my husband yanked my shirt and I fell back at full force. The next thing I knew, "whooosh!" a bus grazed the tip of my hair.

Jordan: Nena, jay walking isn't observed over here. Look! Press the button.
Me: Was that a bus!? :O

Stand up and clean up - A few weeks later,  I went to Porto's to meet with a childhood friend of mine. I introduced her to Jordan as we noshed on succulent sandwiches. After our lunch, we all stood up and I began walking away as the ladies next to me began staring.

*I looked back at my husband and friend who seemed to be taking long.*
Me: What are you guys doing?
Friend: Here, let me get it.
Jordan: Nena, we clean up after ourselves over here.

Pack it up - If you thought that was embarrassing, that's not the last of it. I went to a restaurant with my husband and after eating, I had a substantial amount of leftovers left. The waitress asked me if I wanted to keep my leftovers so I nodded and thanked her. I lifted my plate and froze when she handed me a box. I gave her a look. My husband quickly took the box and thanked her while I still had a puzzled expression on my face.

Me: What was that about? Wasn't she supposed to take my plate?
Jordan: You have to pack the leftovers yourself, nena.

Lingo 101 - It doesn't end there. I not only surprise people in public but in the comfort of our home as well. Let's talk about vocabulary. One day, I was conversing with my sister-in-law when the menstrual cycle was brought up.

Me: I like those napkins by Whisper but I think they're called Always over here.
SIL: Napkins?
Me: Yeah, the ones you use when you're one the rag, silly...
SIL: Oh! You mean, PADS! 

Don't get me wrong. I was raised speaking using English as the main vernacular within our familial and social units. My parents elected a formal manner of speaking in order to gear us towards a fruitful future. It's always an advantage to be well versed in a language other than your own.

Hearty Party - One of the things I have recently been acclimated to is attending parties hosted by an indirect friend. A friend's friend who later on turns out to be a friend of yours after an amazing night of fun!

Introduction ->  One liners ->  Alcohol consumption ->  Inside jokes ->  Daylight ->  Facebook friend request

Well, it's somewhat in that order. I'm not the type who parties but when I do, I prefer lounges and house parties over clubs since I'm not comfortable with the latter. Call me crazy but I'm done with clubbing at the age of 24. Considering that I've been to a club twice, I feel that it's one too many times. Over here, it's far more frequent than what I was accustomed to. I was undeniably awkward at first but being married to someone sociable made me loosen up and insert myself in conversations.

Taboo or not taboo? Considering that I originated from a conservative and religious country, adjusting to the Land of the Free has been both bewildering and humbling for me. Sex talk isn't seen as offensive since it's more openly accepted. My husband's family like to tease me for being such a prude because of my childish giggles and tomato cheeks at the onset of sexual connotations.

I respect the culture that is embedded in every fiber of my being. The values that I have come to know have allowed me to embrace who I am as a person. Residing in Los Angeles has been a revelation in disguise. I've been here two months short of a year and I'm already in love with the city and the people. Contrary to what I
formerly believed, America is a suitable society to nurture a child. Sometimes, it's okay to expose them to the ugly truth. Repressing such realities only compels a person to feed their urges. Of course, with freedom comes boundaries wherein both nature and nurture come hand in hand. Crossing the pond answered lingering questions that grazed my mind for years. It's okay to be eccentric. Not being as skinny as most girls is fine too. Having pale white skin isn't always ideal. California girls love to tan after all. Judgement is your prerogative yet being here has helped me see past labels and stigmas. This move has benefited me more than I thought it would. I've blossomed in the past few months more than I have in my adolescent years. It may take me a while to fully acclimate myself to the L.A. lifestyle but I like where I'm at now.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yay or Nay?

I believe that this statement necklace speaks for itself.
Would you purchase this?


Not everything that looks expensive will hurt your budget.
Voice your reactions and I'll tell you why.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Time Check: 8:01 pm

Yes, it's 8:01 pm at the dot and by the time I end this blog entry, it will commence the beginning of my usual routine. Get up and wash the dishes, pick up filthy clothes scattered on the floor, color code the garments and maybe befriend the brush for a change. This is a taste of the mundane events in my day to day life.

Getting married at 23 was not at all in my life plan. If anything, I wanted to be an Endocrinologist by day, bar singer at dusk and a struggling theater actress in the making. Well, all that did not pan out. I've spent majority of my existence laying out a list of things to accomplish and executing nothing. Why? It dawned on me that all the energy I concentrated on perfecting my life was a futile attempt to gratify my selfish need for attention. Securing the "I MADE MY MAMA PROUD TICKET"  was once flailing in the air for me to claim yet  slowly inched away in the sky as the words began to blur and my chest grew laden with disappointment...

The smile on a  face can denote happiness just like how clouds can denote rain. The latter doesn't always pull through, now does it? I may speak of rainbows and butterflies but nay, my spirit is as charred as ash. I was at a  stand still for a week, a month, a year and eye ducts incessantly brimming with tears. I have been at a place where I couldn't even hear my own thoughts, questioned my existence, relevance and what I aimed to be. 

Finding yourself seems so banal to express yet as hackneyed as it sounds, it was a valuable and humbling affair. Unraveling true friends, rekindling friendships and finding love compensates for the sleepless nights and wet pillows. Who knew that it would take a collaboration of being 7,000 miles away on a different continent in the other side of the world and a marriage to bring a family together? I have never felt so much closer to my family than I currently do. Establish a relationship with each of your precious loved ones like today is the last day on earth. It's ironic how I have gained the attention I've been seeking now that I'm oceans away. Sometimes, I close my eyes and I can hear them laughing. Mom's calling out my name. I grip my hands and wish that just this once, my family will be standing in front of me when I open my eyes. I smile and mull over cherished memories, both good and bad. I trust that every individual can surmount obstacles thrown at their direction. It is destiny's approach of saying, "Hey, I know you're just human. Take this and come back to me."

I come home to a quaint apartment, my  kind hearted husband and birds melodiously chirping. I've invested in a life that's worth waking up to. I've always had a reason for living but it took a year of sleep for me to see behind the onyx sheet of my own dejection. 

Dwell on the positive light as calling someone ugly won't make you any prettier and labeling someone a dunce won't earn you any brain cells. See the beauty in what you have. Allow yourself to sob over your issues 5 minutes a day for week, a month, a year if you must. Allot 5 minutes a day to feel sorry for yourself and detach from those ill feelings. Then, just then, observe how things will be alright after all. Look around you and see that you're not the only one.

Oh yeah, my mom loves me relentlessly and believes that I can. Let me tell you, I will make it.

Time check: 9:49 pm and living an indubiously happy life.