Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Early Christmas to Me

Finally got myself a Treo phone!!! I think I've been pining away for this thing for three years! I was up for a new phone and was especially anxious to get one because I dropped the old one and the screen's backlight busted. I could still see the screen but I had to shine a light on it. I lived with my ghetto phone for a month because I didn't have time to change it, I was so dang busy! Now that I submitted my last paper at 5pm yesterday, I treated myself to an early Christmas present. I'm soo gidddy, like a kid in a candy store. I still feel so posh everytime I use it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Blame it on the Commute

I just discovered why I am always late in submitting my papers in graduate school. I had my eureka moment on the subway coming home. It's the travel time! When I was an undergrad at MHC, the walk time to my professor's office mailbox was easily calculated. No forseeable delay, no acts of God, no transportation to deal with, just my good old two legs. These days, I have to schlep on the train to drop off my paper and I'm blaming the NYC MTA, the slow walking peeps on the sidewalk especially since now's the season to tote incredibly large shopping bags, the traffic lights, you name it!

My train painstakingly took far longer to get into the city than usual as it crawled slowly through the tunnel underneath the East River. I arrived 2 minutes after 5pm at the NYU Anthro Department building and it was already locked. It's the Friday before Christmas -- who was I kidding that somebody would somehow still be there.

Nonetheless, I'm a free woman...for now. Went and had myself a Sapporo with my sushi at Enju after I dropped off my paper. MoJo has already gone home for the holidays. And my classmates, well, no one took me up on my offer to celebrate the handing in of our papers with drinks.

My focus now turns to Christmas and finally to Maui. But first, sleep.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Needed a Change

Blogger has moved away from their beta state and they are encouraging us to go from the old to the new. So I took it as a sign for improvement and change.

Hope you like the new blog color scheme. The black background was beginning to get me down; I felt like my energy was being sucked into the screen's black hole. Recently, I began to take a liking to blue and green hues that remind me of nature, like the ones you see in the background. Apparently, the color of "nature" green calms the nerves, relieves stress, replenishes energy, stimulates creativity, and enhances intellectualism. I'm all for that these days!

Drop a comment and let me know what you think!

There Always Has to Be that One


Arrived at work more than an hour late due to my train experiencing door problems. Eventually, we all evacuated the train because the door issue remained. As a mob stood on the platform, waiting for the now defunct train to pull out of the station, the doors briefly opened and closed and some IDIOT decides to jump on. His bag and his foot get caught in the doors, leaving them slightly ajar. What the hell was this guy thinking??? Not only did the train remain out of service but because of his stupid antic, he made us all wait longer before the train could pull out of the station. I think this is an instance when Gothamists are allowed to mockingly scorn and pelt things at idiots like him for doing the dumbest things.

People were all disgruntled but I loudly reminded them that this time last year, the trains went on strike and we had to either walk, bike, or carpool to work. I'd rather choose this incovenience over last year's (although walking the 6 miles to and from work wasn't so bad since I powerwalk that distance in Central Park). People realized that I was right and some even thanked me for reminding them. Oh how soon we forget.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The President's ONE RGI

In his 6 months of employment at The Foundation, The President lamented that he has yet to come up with one RGI [really good idea] until now (Of course, we all know that's not true). He has decided that The Foundation will be CLOSED next week. And even if we chose to come into the office, we can't. At least for 3 of the 5 days...the building is under total lock down. No after-hour security guard to let us in. Ha! He said for those of us who have our computers and crackberries, er...blackberries, attached to our central artery, we can still certainly work from home but we have been given permission to take the week off so that we can spend time with our families for the holidays.

How's that for a nice Xmas present?! And he has said that next year and all subsequent years, he will work out some time for the office to be closed depending on which days the holidays fall.

I think The President's idea is not just a really good one, it's a BRILLIANT one. Wow -- the office closed all next week and I'm going on vacation for the first two weeks of January. Three weeks off. God, thanks for looking out for me!

And Office Santa came around this afternoon, handing everyone their white envelope. In it were our annual letters from The President, informing us of our yearly salary increases. I opened up my letter, paused at the new amount and thought, "Huh...OK, I wasn't expecting that." I got a little more than the standard 3.5% annual increase. I worked a bit harder this year, asked for more responsibilities and was given them, and carried them out well. Thanks to the PBT [Powers that Be] for the extra little boost -- I feel recognized for the extra work that I did. I was allowed to invite MoJo and we celebrated at our annual holiday party of
Swedish glögg, smoked salmon, beef tenderloin encrusted with herbs, and all other sorts of goodies. Yum.

Today was a really nice day full of surprises and signs of appreciation by the PBT at work. I'm very thankful -- for a job with a great employer.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Red Pegasus Connection

Last night was the last class of my anthro course on comparative diasporas at NYU. It's been a great class and I must admit that I've taken a liking to my NYU classmates for than my Columbia ones. Don't get me wrong. I think Columbia students are totally fine but a bit more conservative than I care for. My NYU classmates had a bit more flare, a bit more hipness, a bit more of that "it" that makes one interesting. Two were doing film projects, while others had really cool former lives before graduate school. Of course, it may have a lot to do with the positionality of the universities themselves which affect the type of students it attracts.

Wouldn't you know after a semester of sitting with these folks, I chatted up with a woman who I find out went to Mount Holyoke! We couldn't believe our ears and stared at each other in amazement for several seconds (You see, I was such a big proponent always being cognizant of a gender analysis on all our assigned readings, which I attributed to my women's college background). She graduated in 2002, which meant that when I graduated in 1998, my class passed on to her class our color (red) and our animal (the pegasus). This tradition, like many at MHC, means to connect women of various classes and generations. And in this case, it did! It never ceases to amaze how MHC women are everywhere and how are varied backgrounds and interests get transcended by the mere fact that we all share a common experience of having attended MHC. A network of 33,000 women around the world is indeed a powerful thing!

Unable to linger after class, I had hopped in a cab and zipped down to SoHo for the holiday party hosted by the architectural firm that MoJo consults for. Giorgione Restaurant had your typical SoHo feel: loft-like with an industrial bent yet warm and most certainly hip. I finally got to meet the people that he talks about and I think his colleagues, particularly his boss, were quite curious about me. By the end of the night, I think we managed to both get to know each other a bit better. If by chance you go, the food there is very good. I had the seabass wrapped in parchment -- it was light, fresh, and delicious.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

First Paper IN

Managed to get that first paper on gifts and gift exchange handed in...and on time to boot!!! For some reason, ever since I started graduate school, I could never meet my deadlines. I always handed the paper hours after, and in one case, two days after it was due. Oh well. The world still turns. A special thank you to Mojo for printing the paper and actually walking it over and putting it in my prof's mailbox. Thank goodness he's been at Columbia the entire time I've been there. And I'm even more thankful that he's willing to wait around on days like today and act as my messenger. I couldn't have handed in all my papers in grad school without him. Thanks cutie!

I've learned to not worry about it so much. Grad school classwork deadlines are not the end of the world and professors don't seem much to mind. I think they've got their own shit to worry about. I've discovered that profs understand all too well the concept of being overwhelmed. I'm surrounded by former profs so I see upfront that, hey, they are human after all!

Came home and slept for five hours. My body was thankful. Totally forgot that I was supposed to help my mom see The Acupuncturist. Oops. She did fine without me. He told her to find some hobbies. I think that's a great idea -- I've been telling her to do that all along but she hasn't seemed to want to listen to me in the past. I'm just the daughter, you see. What do I know? Mom now sees though that I know a thing or two about life. :)

Now I'm wide awake and its 2:30 am. What to do? Maybe I'll go raid the fridge and fix myself a snack.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Better Countdown

In my exhaustion last time, I forgot the most important countdown of all (besides the one to Christmas of course).

It's the number of days left to Maui. That would be 18 days. 18 days!

Dec 31 we fly out with our polka dots on and all. We arrive in Kahului in the late afternoon -- rent a car with racks for the surfboard, get some inexpensive snorkeling gear at the nearby Walmart, rent the surfboard for 10 days -- and arrive at my family's home in time to freshen up, unpack, and celebrate the New Year on the island in serenity.

Aloha Maui!

I want to:

  • surf every morning -- just the idea of paddling out past the breakers makes me giddy!
  • watch the sunrise at Haleakala Crater
  • hike the trails or bike down Haleakala
  • snorkel
  • drive along Hana Highway
  • get a massage on the beach
  • practice yoga on the beach like that Rodney Yee
  • spend time with my uncle, aunt, and grown cousins I haven't seen in years
  • kayak -- it would be my first time but it seems like sooo much fun
  • eat sushi on the beach
I'm procrastinating. Now back to writing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Countdown Begins

no, not to christmas.

5 days left to hand in my first paper. the topic is on gifts, gift exchange, and commodity consumption particularly for members in the filipino diaspora.

12 days left to hand in my second paper. for this one, i theorize on the filipino diaspora and argue that (im)migration is a process which causes a social death and re-birth for the (im)migrant.

these two papers will eventually be two sections of my MA thesis. this is my first stab at writing the thesis. i need to submit a first draft in march. "march madness" will have a whole new meaning for me in 2007.

i want to pomp & circumstance in may. no question about it. i'm tired of not having a life. i'm tired of sacrificing. i'm just plain tired.

how's that for honesty?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Blogging Hiatus

Dang. Changes on and I didn't even know it till now. Sheesh. Have I really been that out of the loop? I guess so.

Procrastinating at the 'mo. Don't really want to write that final paper due in less than two weeks. Who says going to grad school part-time and working full-time is fun?!?! Looking forward to graduating in May 2007. Other things I look forward to doing in the next month or so:

  • Christmas
  • Vacation in Maui this New Year's with Mojo & Mom
  • SURFING in Maui every morning
Looking forward to blogging more about: upcoming trips; my healing journey with the help of my TCM healer; newly discovered cooking recipes due to a wheatless, dairyless, sugarless, potato and oatless, peanut and almondless...and for one week in the month, a meatless diet; books I'm reading (for pleasure that is!); future dreams and wishes.

Hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Deep Sympathy to the Red Sox Nation

A five-game sweep. Yep, that's our team. GO YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Even NY Surfers are on Top of Each Other

There's no room
No space to rent in this town

We all know NYC is crowded. There are millions of people everywhere: the streets, the subway, the restaurants. Developers need to acquire the "air rights" above a low-rise building before the construction of something taller on top of it. The cemeteries are crowded. The garbage dumps are full so so we send our trash to another state. No space on the land, in the air, and even in the ocean, which I only discovered today.

La Ingeniera (and fellow surfer chica) & I decided to go to Long Beach this weekend and test our recently learned surfing skills from Costa Rica. So we get up early to catch the 8:48am LIRR train out of Penn Station to Long Beach. It's a pretty good deal: $10 for a round trip ticket and $7 entry fee into the beach with only an hour commute. In fact, I was really surprised to see fellow Gothamists at Penn Station with their boards! It made me want to have a board too. Check out this one guy's really long board in an army fatigue bag! I suddenly felt reassured, at least there were going to be some beginners at the beach too. I imagined all these pros who would be yelling at me because I wasn't practicing proper surfer etiquette.

We rented boards at LB Surf, across the street from the train station. La Ingeniera rented what looked like a 6' board...and I chose a Soft Tops surfboard that looked about 8' in length. I had never seen a this kind of board before because it had a foam top, kind like the texture of a yoga mat but much thinnner, which meant that I did not need to use any wax. As a beginner, it felt stable and great under my body. For $40 we had our boards all day. I'm toying with the idea of buying a used surfboard, which goes for about $200-300. If I go out 4-7 more times, it would've paid for itself.

We walked the quarter of a mile to the beach and designated area for surfers. When we were on the board walk, we looked onto the school of surfers and were disappointed with what we saw. The ocean was FLAT! Flat like a pancake, flat like my chest. There were noooo waves except the ones that crashed right up at the shore. It would've been a perfect day to swim because the ocean was so calm but the water was COLD! A little dismayed but still excited, we picked our spot on the beach to park our stuff and quickly got in the water. It was big reality check when the cold water hit my body for the first few minutes that I was no longer in Costa Rica AND that it was the middle of August when the water was supposed to be the warmest.

With teeth chattering after a few minutes, I got up on my board and paddled out. I've never really successfully paddled out before but then again, I never had been in a flat ocean before. I told myself that if I wouldn't catch waves, here was my opportunity to get comfortable paddling, balancing on the board without rocking too much, sitting up, and learning to turn the board with my hands and feet. There was one time when I sat up on my board, fell off it, and flipped my board over. I panicked. I'm still not completely confident in the water (not to worry, I'm working on it) so when I discovered that my feet couldn't touch the ground and I had to somehow swim AND flip my board right side up, I freaked! After several seconds, I managed to correct myself but not without notice of a fellow surfer nearby. He asked me if I could flip my board as he laughed. I told him that I was figuring it out. And I was. I tried going under it and flipping it but that didn't work. So I held it aside and grabbed the other end and pulled it towards me but that meant another dunk under the water. Besides the bozo surfer who laughed, the other surfers were nice. I just warned them that I was a beginner and they softened up and even gave me tips. One guy who was giving a surf instruction even stopped to recommend that I sit back on the board. Another guy showed me the fastest way to spin the board around. All in all, a friendly group of surfers who returned my smile whenever I paddled by. I noticed a lot of Japanese surfers too, something I never would've expected.

After that incident where I felt mocked, I sat on the board and stared out into the horizon like a pro (even though it was all a facade) with 20 other fellow surfers, on the lookout for the next decent wave to catch. If a Martian fell onto the beach at the moment, it would probably wonder what was it we were looking at so mesmerized as we sat still on these 6-8 foot pieces of fiberglass. The really frustrating part was that there were just too many people and too few waves. So when a decent one comes along, after at least 5 minutes of waiting, EVERYONE paddles and tries to catch it. And I'm talking an average of 7 people on 1 wave, with only a foot separating them.

I managed to catch two waves but didn't stand up on the board. Both times, there was another surfer to my right a mere foot away! Again, I freaked out because I am too much of an amateur and can't control my board and I'm never sure how good the person next to me is at controlling his/her board! One guy crashed into me. And when it happened again, I had had it. I was freezing, my fingers were numb and my teeth were chattering.

This afternoon was an introduction to NY surfing. I definitely picked up some quality tips and felt more comfortable in the water with the board. La Ingeniera and I decided to take our boyfriends next time in early September. And after September, I'll be surfing again in the wonderful warm waters of Maui!

Friday, August 11, 2006


*sigh* that ukelele playing in the background sounds so nice against the crashing waves...

**wakes up out of reverie** *shakes head**

What? Huh? I'm not there yet? I have to wait till January to be in Maui...

Oh right, I'm in the office right now just dreaming about it. Aw shucks.

That's right kids! JoJo is heading to MAUI for New Year's to visit my uncle for 10 days. Mom & J will be with me too. I am absolutely giddy with excitement!!! I've never been but hear it is absolute paradise...the most beautiful of all the islands. I can't wait to see my family, some of whom I have not seen for at least 10 years.

The anticipation of my vacation will definitely keep me motivated to get through the fall semester, my penultimate semester of graduate school. I'm looking forward to frolicking in the sun and in the ocean, the laid back atmosphere, the kiking, kayaking...oh yeah, and surfing!!! Wahoooo!!!

Yeah, after all that ranting and raving yesterday about why Americans don't take vacations...I've just proven that once again, I'm in the minority. :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Please Don't Make Me Go on Vacation: What?!?! Are you Mad!!!

In addition to the latest breaking news of the foiled airline plot in England, has anyone read today's New York Times Article entitled, "Please Don't Make Me Go on Vacation"? I've copied and posted it below for anyone interested in reading it. There may be a good reason why one would be adverse to flying en route to a vacation, in light of the recent events in the UK. Basically, the gist of the article says that Americans rarely use up all their vacation days (which are not a lot compared to other countries) because we feel we've got too much at stake at our jobs to leave for an extended period of time. The article suggests that "ambition, fear of being fired, feeling indispensable and self-imposed getaway guilt" are reasons that hold people back from using up their entire vacation time. And if one does manage to get away, (s)he brings the cell phone, laptop, and Crackberry...err, Blackberry along too.

You all know my love for travel and how I spend at least 3 weeks in a new country every year. So when reading this article, I just couldn't FATHOM how someone could feel this way about vacations. My vacation time is precious to me and you better believe that I will take advantage of the 23 paid vacation days I am entitled by my employer every year. Let's start by saying that I am a rare case since the average amount of vacation time an employee gets from their job is 10-15 days per year. That's problem #1. And problem #2, the federal government has no mandate that all employees are required to take vacation by law unlike other foreign countries.

Here's what I think is problem # 3. Everytime I go overseas and meet Europeans & Australians, they always tell me that I'm the rare American they meet who travels for an extended period of time while the rest of my fellow Americans do not. It does not help matters that unofficially only 20% of Americans hold passports (go ahead, just do a google search if you don't believe me). Perhaps that figure will increase as security tightens and requirements for entry into Canada, Mexico and the Carribean countries will require it. But the fact is, Americans are generally not an adventurous crowd willing to step outside of their comfort zone to experience a country that is completely different from our own in culture, language, and food. I think this is where learning a second language at an early age can play an influential role in the introduction to foreign culture.

The article suggests that the biggest obstacle to taking a vacation is ourselves and our relationship to our jobs. I would further argue that our attitude to our jobs is strongly influenced by the culture of the workplace that no longer encourages individuality, employee loyalty, a sense of indispensability, and rarely acknowledges the importance of achieving a work-life balance.

I mean seriously, what is SO important in your job that needs such immediate attention that if it doesn't happen in 12-24 hours, the world comes crashing down? And if it IS THAT important, then shouldn't there be at least one person or two to know what to do in the event that you are not there...if you are sick, got hit by a truck or are, say on vacation??? The workplace these days is a cut-throat atmosphere that encourages face-time and lack of collaboration among colleagues. So many people think if they ask for help that it's an indication of their lack of time management skills, their inefficiency or intelligence...whatever, you name it! And these feelings lead to a sense of possessiveness about one's job responsiblities, another reason to not ask for help. Then the vicious cycle continues.

I am very lucky to have an employer that provides a generous vacation package and that I work for a boss who is happy to approve my request for a three week vacation. And when I go, I don't think about work and I certainly don't check my emails or voicemails when I'm away. No one hears from me until I get back. Period. That's because my boss encourages all of us on her team to truly act like teammates where ideas get tossed around, multitudes of document drafts are exchanged, information is constantly shared. I mean, isn't the the purpose of our technological gadgets so that we can work together to reach our goals collectively and efficiently? Instead, they've taken control of our lives and act as a short leash between ourselves and our jobs.

And in the end, is all that relentless energy we put into our jobs really worth our happiness and our health?

Courtesy of the New York Times -- August 10, 2006

Please Don’t Make Me Go on Vacation

SOMEWHERE on a faraway beach, a cellphone rings, a BlackBerry buzzes, a laptop beeps.

It is an electronic requiem for the American vacation.

“I never go on vacation,” said Ellen Kapit, a real estate agent in Manhattan. “And when I do, I have my computer, my Palm, my e-mail and my phone with me at all times.”

Ms. Kapit’s habits are typical of today’s employees, who check for e-mail messages from work in between parasailing or floating in the hotel pool, consider a long weekend a major excursion and sacrifice vacation days by not taking them.

But even as the American vacation is dying, the anxiety surrounding it is surging, according to surveys of workers released in the last year. Employees are sweating over every aspect of their getaways, from whether taking time off dooms them to the want ads to whether the work they will face when they return will keep them from ever leaving their cubicles again. And if they finally do make their escape?

“You picture this great fantasy trip and it’s nothing like you ever imagined in your head,” said Randi Friedman, 27, a publicist in Manhattan who likened this lofty expectation to the high hopes Bridezillas have for their weddings.

“Nothing will ever be good because you have an expectation level that’s so high,” she said. “And that’s the problem.”

Indeed, expectations of just how wondrous the ever-shrinking American vacation should be have been ratcheted up to levels usually reserved for New Year’s Eve.

Perhaps vacation-enjoyment angst is inevitable, given all the agonizing about where to go, what to do, how long the vacation should be, and whether it is wise to even take a vacation in the first place. Beginning long before the plane ticket is booked, it occurs for myriad reasons.

“There’s a large increase in the number of people who worry that they will lose their job,” said Ellen Galinsky, the president of the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit center for research on the American work force. In 1977, 45 percent of people felt truly secure in their jobs while only 36 percent have felt that way in recent years, she said, citing the organization’s surveys.

Ms. Kapit, who worked in advertising for 20 years before becoming a sales agent for Bellmarc Realty, said that when large companies were more loyal to their employees, the situation was different. “Since any company doesn’t care who they lay off and how long they’ve been there, everyone’s walking on eggshells,” she said. “Which is why I left my big corporate job.” Now she sets her own schedule and often works from her home near Hampton Bays on the East End of Long Island.

But plenty of employees worry about taking vacation for reasons that have little to do with job security. Some consider themselves to be indispensable. Many are competitive. “There’s the feeling that overwork is the red badge of courage,” Ms. Galinsky said, adding that people often compete to see who works the latest and the longest.

Ambitious workers can even be reluctant to ask a colleague to help out while they are on vacation. “They take it all on themselves,” said Jennifer Sullivan, a spokeswoman for, the job recruitment Web site. “Those are the people that are probably working multiple hours on their vacation or not taking vacation at all.”

But it is not cruel Dickensian bosses and heartless company policies that prevent employees from enjoying — or worse, taking — their vacations.

“Mostly people work because they want to,” Ms. Galinsky said. “It’s mostly something that we’re doing to ourselves.”

Ambition, fear of being fired, feeling indispensable and self-imposed getaway guilt all help to explain why workers do not use all of their vacation days and why many prefer to take respites that are shorter than two weeks, even if they have banked significantly more vacation time.

Erin Krause, a spokeswoman for the travel Web site, which publishes an annual Vacation Deprivation online survey, said, “Americans are not using all of their vacation days and it seems to be getting worse.”

“We are not taking advantage of the time our employers are giving to us,” she said.

That is particularly surprising given that in the United States full-time employees have 3.9 holiday and vacation weeks off a year. But this is paltry when compared with European countries, including the United Kingdom (6.6 weeks), France (7) and Italy (7.9), according to the 2004 figures compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

A study released last year by the Families and Work Institute found that American workers have on average 16.6 paid vacation days but that more than one-third of employees (36 percent) did not plan to use their full vacation. (The data for the survey of 1,003 adults who were employed full or part time by someone else was collected by Harris Interactive over the telephone between Oct. 7 and Nov. 15, 2004. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.)

The study also found that only 14 percent of Americans go away for two weeks or more at any one time. “I don’t think I’d take a two-week chunk unless I didn’t have anything going on,” Ms. Kapit said, “and then I’d probably be worried I’d never have anything going on.”

Even those at the top of the corporate ladder, who have a generous amount of vacation time, do not necessarily use it.

“The reality is the more responsibilities you have, the less time you take off,” wrote Anderson Cooper in Details magazine last year. “You have too much to lose. I’m convinced a big reason I got my own show on CNN was the fact that I kept filling in for people who were on vacation. Now if I leave the anchor chair too long, I worry Eve Harrington will take my place.”

But even once workers get over their angst about what length vacation to take, many grapple with separation anxiety — how often to check in with the office.

About one in five people do some amount of work during vacation, according to the Families and Work Institute study.

Downsizing, labor market volatility and the country’s shift from an industrial economy to one based on service and knowledge have helped create what Ms. Galinsky described as a “rapid-fire” way of working. People expect instantaneous responses to their e-mail messages at all hours, vacation or no vacation. The boundary between work and home life is now fluid, she said, adding that “we plan life off the job the way we plan life on the job.”

And that may not be a good thing. The Families and Work Institute study found that overworked employees are more likely to make mistakes, to be angry at their employers and at colleagues who do not work as hard. These employees are also more likely to have higher stress levels, experience symptoms of clinical depression, report poorer health and neglect themselves.

Still, employees continue to work during their vacations to ensure they are not swamped upon their return.

“It doesn’t give you that chance to refresh and recharge,” said Ms. Sullivan, who oversaw’s annual vacation study.

Getting away does not in itself guarantee relaxation. Fifty percent of Americans need two days to unwind and 50 percent need more than two days, according to the Families and Work Institute study.

And then there is the matter of inflated expectations. Two years ago, Ms. Friedman, the Manhattan publicist, scheduled her first official vacation in four years. Soon she was suffering from a bad case of vacation expectation syndrome.

Ms. Friedman, who loves her work and defines herself in large part by it, envisioned sunny skies and tropical temperatures in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. But when she arrived, the sky was overcast, nighttime temperatures were in the 60’s and an entire day was rained out. Her vacation fantasy did not include donning sweaters and cowering beneath an umbrella. “I was so miserable,” she said.

Ms. Sullivan said today’s employees put a lot of pressure on themselves to have trip-of-a-lifetime vacations.

“They have to pack in all these activities,” she said, “and everybody has to be happy and smiling and it has to be perfect weather.”

As Ms. Friedman said, “It’s your one trip.”

Ms. Friedman acknowledges that, like many work-obsessed people, she is her own worst vacation enemy. As soon as her plane landed in Mexico, she checked her BlackBerry and cellphone for work messages. Upon arriving at her hotel, the first thing she did was locate the business center. Then she spent much of the first two days of her vacation sulking in her room, wishing it were warmer and sunnier.

But she received a very different kind of hotel wake-up call when she turned on the television and saw that a tsunami had devastated Asia. Suddenly, her overblown vacation fantasy became insignificant.

“That’s when I put it into perspective,” she said.

Ms. Friedman did not stop checking her BlackBerry and cellphone for the rest of her time in Cabo San Lucas. But she did enjoy herself, sweater and all.

“Life is too short to not appreciate every moment of it,” she said. “I realize that’s why I work so hard, to take these vacations.”

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Reunion at Tigerland

Last night, I got together with a group of friends that I've known from elementary and junior high school. One of us, Jenn, is being sent by her company to Tokyo for a year so we thought it would be a good idea to have a bon voyage dinner (check out her blog if you're interested in learning about her life in Japan). As a total aside, I have known Jen since kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. When we graduated from HS, we lost touch but reconnected 2 years ago at our 10-year high school reunion. Even though we have this 10-year black hole in our relationship, I feel like she knows me in ways that even my best friends don't. My relationship with her is truly unique and special.

When we saw each other last spring, Karen had just read a Time Out New York preview for a restaurant opening up in the East Village called Tigerland. What caught her attention were the names of the chef and co-owners: Jimmy Tu, Miranda Lau, and Steven Ling. All names of folks we went to elementary and/or junior high school with. Had one name just shown up in the article, we would've chalked it up to coincidence. But all three??? They must be really the same kids we hung out with back in the day, who sat with us in the same class. So we agreed that the next time we got together, it would be at Tigerland and maybe we would see some long lost friends.

It was a no-brainer to decide where we would eat for Jenn's bon voyage dinner. And sure enough, when we sat down, we were greeted by our server who turned out to be Miranda, a woman I had not seen since our 5th grade graduation which was 20 years ago!!!! I was sooo shocked and I just couldn't believe I was reconnecting with someone who I was good friends with when I was 5-10 years old. Had she walked down the street, I told her that I wouldn't have recognized her. But as the night wore on, I could see the Miranda I remember but with a more mature face. Obviously!!! The things I remember vividly about her was her incredibly neat handwriting (all our teachers praised her for it), her really QUIET demeanor, how she turned red when the teacher called on her but always had the right answer, her pretty dresses and lace trimmed socks that she wore with shiny Mary-Janes, that she was a good friend of mine who I missed when she moved away after the 5th grade. She had grown into her own in the 20 years. She's become more effervescent, sports at least one visible tattoo, and had lived in California and Hawaii for a significant period of time before moving back to NY to help Jimmy open the restaurant.

Our seeing Miranda brought back TONS of memories from elementary and junior high school. Lots of our sentences began with, "Remember when..." and ended with a fit of laughter as we recounted tales of puppy love, and stupid stuff that we did to act cool or like punks.

There was 7 of us and since it was family style we thought to order a few items off the menu and share it. And since we trusted Miranda's judgement, we let her decide what we should try! We got surprised with all sorts of food that was absolutely DELICIOUS! Jimmy had always been shy back in the day and hasn't changed much since we knew him. He didn't come out of the kitchen till the middle of our meal. But he impressed by remembering almost all of our names. He does all the cooking, with the help of his younger brother. He is a talented chef and his food tastes like he cooks it with love. All of it learned from his mother - how beautiful! He even showed us the kitchen which was impeccably neat when we saw it.

The restaurant had closed by the time we left at 11:30pm. And in their guest book, Karen wrote "I.S. 73 RULES! ... and P.S. 102 too!". All of us signed our names, including Miranda, who STILL has very neat handwriting.

p.s. Check out my previous posts on Costa Rica -- I finally put them up!!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Surfer Chica is back in NYC

I'm slowly posting my pics online. So check back regularly on for my Costa Rica 06 photo set.

Still acting like I'm on vacation like nobody's business! Somehow, I just love the languid pace that I adopted in Costa Rica. I'm going to hang on to that as loooong as possible. I'm sure my fellow New Yorkers hate me as I am now a hazard to the sidewalk. People are dodging me left and right. I try to keep sidewalk etiquette, and stick to the right. Peeps can pass on my left all they want. But like road rules, who says sidewalk rules are observed as well. Especially when one is dodging dog poop in Manhattan.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Estoy en Costa Rica: Week III

When Sophie and I went our separate ways, it was the final week of my trip. There was no one heading towards the Carribbean side of the country and I was determined to get to Tortuguero National Park to see the large green sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach. There was no direct way to cross the country from Santa Elena to Tortuguerro so I had to backtrack to San Jose and spend the night.

I took practically a day's worth of travel to get to the Tortuguero because the national park is only accessible by boat or plane. And since I was a budget had to be boat...and the cheap boat option at that (read: take the boats the locals use to get to Tortuguero and pay a mere $10 rather than the fancy tourists boats that charge from $50-200 pp depending upon the "type" of excursion you do). Although it took me practically the whole day to get there, it was well worth it.

Once I arrived, I managed to book myself on a turtle tour that evening and was warned to wear dark clothes since the mama turtles have very good eyesight. At 8pm, my guide picked me up and I joined 8 others who were in my group. We walked single file along the beach for about a mile when he said that there was a turtle on the beach preparing to dig its hole for her eggs. It would take 30 minutes so we waited. While waiting, another turtle happened to come on shore! We we were soooo shocked but were instructed to make no movements and no sound. By this time there were 100 people on the beach and we all quietly waited, stood very still in the dark as this new turtle inched its way up the beach. It was massive yet all we could make out was this huge hump slowly crawling up away from the ocean. We were excited at the prospect of seeing another turtle hatch its eggs but after 15 minutes, my guide cried out, ¨The turtle is leaving.¨ She decided to abort her plans of laying eggs on the beach and book it back to the ocean. Apparently, the turtles are very sensitive to the slightest movement and are picky about where they will lay their eggs. It was cool to see how fast the turtle booked it back to the ocean. And it was MASSIVE!!! The entire length of her body was as long as me! We focused our attention back on the first turtle who was about to lay its eggs. Each group took turns looking at the beautiful event. I got to witness with my very eyes, less than a foot away, a green sea turtle laying some of its 100 eggs in the beach! It was one of the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. I definitely think it's in my top 5 life experiences although now I have to come up with what the other 4 are. LOL. I have no pictures of the blessed event because flash cameras or any kind of light are absolutely not allowed because it will scare the turtles but you can check out fellow flickr peep, juvertson, who has a nice photo of a birthing sea turtle (I don't know how he managed that picture in the dark).

My final days were spent not zipping around on a bus but rather chillin' out in the sleepy town of Cahuita. So many of the travelers I met prior were encouraging me to get to the Caribbean side and spend time here because it has a really relaxed vibe and a strong rasta culture thanks to the population's Afro-Caribbean descent. I felt like I was in a whole 'nother country actually cuz reggae was playing everywhere, the locals spoke English, and the food had a Caribbean flavor (lots of coconut milk and spices...yum) rather than Spanish. This is also the place where I learned how to walk at a snail's pace since it was sooo hot and there was no place I was rushing to go.

For $15 per night, I got my own private room with bathroom at the Spencer Seaside Lodge and I was a mere 50 meters away from the sea. Each room had walls with painted murals. Mine happened to be a map of the country, which would've been useful if I ever forgot where I was. Ha!

More importantly, I got to hear the crashing waves at night lull me to sleep and wake me up each day. To the right is the view from my room/door. In the short distance between my room and the waves, you'll see coconut trees from which several hammocks were hung. And about 2 feet from my door were bananas still hanging on the vine; some were ripe and ready to be picked and others were still green. Guests were welcome to an unlimited supply of bananas at any time.

I felt sooo at peace and so relaxed because all I did was eat, sleep, go to the beach, swim, sunbathe, and read for four days. For a day trip, I took the bus 16km south to neighboring yet larger Puerto Viejo. Compared to Cahuita, it felt like a metropolis when in fact it really is still a small town compared to the rest of the places I had visited. But beccause I felt a more touristy vibe, I got out of Dodge quickly by renting a bike and peddaled the 6km to a nearby beach, Punta Uva (see left). It was beautiful and scarcely populated with a few tourists and Tico families sprinkled about. The water was so calm that it was perfect to swim in. I managed to surf one last time too in nearby Cahuita National Park on my last day. I spent several days here. And on my last day, I surfed one last time. All in all, a wonderful way to end my trip.

When I got back to San Jose and heard all typical city noises, I longed to get back to my haven on the beach! I couldn't believe a mere $15/night got me a room by the sea. Man, what a life...and what a steal!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Estoy en Costa Rica: Week II

My second week in Costa Rica was spent traveling with Sophie, a young British woman who had never been out of the country till now, and was plowing through Central America in 6 weeks with a final destination of Mexico City. We met in Jacó attending the same surf camp and discovered at dinner one evening that we were traveling alone. We left it open as to whether we really would meet up in a few days time to head north to Monteverde for the cloud forest and La Fortuna for Volcan Arenal. In the end, it worked out and she was my travel companion for a week.

With the beach and the country's natural beauty within a two hour distance, I spent very little time in the capital city of San Jose. Perhaps I've had my fill of South American cities but San Jose didn't seem remarkable compared to the European feel of Buenos Aires or the sheer grandeur of the snow-capped Andes as a backdrop to the caldera in which Bolivia's La Paz sits in. The only really nice thing about San Jose is the incredible variety of international cuisine: Thai, Indian, Japanese, Italian, French, Argentinian, Cuban. One remarkable thing I did in the San Jose vicinity was to visit Volcan Poas. Check out the sulfur fumes emitting from right side of the crater.

Traveling with Sophie was loads of fun and our personalities complemented each other. We stayed in hostels the entire week since our minds were looking ahead to when we would finally separate. Hostels allowed us to meet tons of people. In the end, Sophie found someone to go north with while I was not as lucky but ventured off on my own towards the Carribean side of the country.

While we were together, we visited Volcan Arenal in La Fortuna (the main reason why tourists visit). Because we were there during rainy season, the volcano was often shrouded in cloud. On clear days, you are able to see its perfectly spherical cone. And at nights, you could see red lava spouting out of its top. Here's the best view I had of the volcano in the three days/two nights we were there. In spite of the lack of visibility, we hiked at the base of the volcano and saw sloths, howler monkeys, and all types of birds along the way. We visited a beautiful nearby waterfall and swam at its base and we went one evening to Baldi Hot Springs, one of the many local thermal hot springs in the area and found swim up bars and hammocks and tons of people just having a great time.

Days later, we crossed Lake Arenal to get to Santa Elena, the base from which people visit neighboring Monteverde & Santa Elena Cloud Forests. Sophie and I took a morning tour of the cloud forest which was incredibly lush and peaceful. We saw more howler monkeys but the elusive quetzal was nowhere to be seen.

Monteverde Cloud Forest is particularly special because it straddles the Continental Divide, allowing for several types of climates to co-exist lending itself to an incredible amount of biodiversity in a relatively concentrated amount of space. Beautiful!

I took a tour of a coffee farm, Café Monteverde, a cooperative of farmers and their families who are committed to an environmentally sustainable method of farming (coffee and otherwise) without the use of chemicals or pesticides and whose coffee is sold to the international Fair Trade market. I passed up on going to the Quaker Cheese Factory for fear that I would break down eat the cheese (still on accupuncturist's orders: no dairy...among other things).

One new thing I experienced while in Santa Elena was a zipline canopy tour. It was tons of fun but I wouldn't recommend it if you have a fear of heights.

Before Sophie and I said our goodbyes, we managed to dance salsa with local Ticos at a local bar/club and we left our mark of our shared Costa Rica experience at a local restaurant. Tourists are encouraged to draw on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper with their names, their date of visit, and where they are from (I even saw one sign drawn by a woman from the Philippines! Imagine that!). We couldn't pass up the opportunity...and since there was no longer space on the walls, we decided that the surfer chicas deserved a place on the ceiling. Ya dig it??

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Estoy en Costa Rica!

Hey folks, the blog has not been updated of late. I left for Costa Rica on July 2 and won't be back en los Estados Unidos until July 22.

A quick update on me (with some pictures to follow on flickr):

Learned to surf in Jaco (there's an accent on that last o but can't figure out how to do it on this dang keyboard) for an entire week. Attended an all girls surf camp with dos otras chicas. Our surf instructor was a badass Tica named Shilka who taught us in thong bikinis cada dia. I was able to stand up twice on a long board (read: a good length for a beginner like me) on the first day. By the third day, I graduated to a shorter board! All in all, I was bruised and beaten by the waves by Friday. But still felt exhilarated when I finally caught waves and rode them that I'm officially an addicted surfer.

Putzing around now in the rest of the country. Heading to the Cloud Forest in a day or so and am currently in the town of La Fortuna, trying to get a glimpse of Arenal Volcano. But alas, it is rainy season and the summit is shrouded in clouds. After Monteverde Cloud Forest, am headed to the Carribbean coast for an even more laid back vibe with a taste of rastafari culture.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Madonna at MSG

Madonna! Madonna! Madonna! (Think Robin Williams's Armand Goldman in The Birdcage.)

I promised myself that I would see Madonna live in concert at least once in my lifetime. And considering I love her latest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, I thought that now would be a good time as any to see her. Unfortunately, I couldn't get 2 tickets to any of her concerts at Madison Square Garden. Her show must've sold out in less than 5 minutes. So then I did the next best thing. I searched for one ticket on TicketMaster and snagged one. So I went alone! Ha!

Tonight's performance was her first NYC show on her tour. This morning I was warned by a radio announcer that Madonna was keeping the air conditioning low or off (couldn't exactly hear) in the Garden to preserve her voice. Oh puhleaze! What a diva...give me a break. She was pulling a Whitney Houston.

A little put off by the fact that it would be stifling hot in the Garden that night, I came prepared and wore a tank top underneath my work clothes and the hippest pants I owned that would still be professionally acceptable. I get to my nosebleed seat (seriously must've been tenth row from the roof!) but got compensated because it was an aisle seat. Thank goodness because I don't think I could've handled being sandwiched between sweaty people.

The ticket said the concert started at 8pm, but my girl did not come out until 9 nor did she have an opening act. So what did our crowd do? By 10 to 9, we were getting antsy so one really flamboyant gay male several tiers down decided to harness that energy into doing the wave. After several attempts, we managed to do a 3 or 4 complete waves all around the Garden! Hysterical!

There was an announcement about the AC being turned off or low (again, couldn't hear above the screaming crowd) but the pleasant man's voice assured us by saying, "Madonna appologizes for any inconvenience but hopes you enjoy the concert." The lights go down and "Future Lovers" starts to play with a background slide show of horses and Madonna in her equestrian get-up. Then this crystal ball lowers into the middle of the Garden floor and opens up to birth a Madonna in her riding outfit complete with hat and whip (of course), which she used as she played dominitrix to her back up dancers. In these first few minutes of the concert, I realized that out of all the concerts where my seats did not matter, this one did. Madonna puts on a show. And you want to see it clearly with your own eyes rather than watching a jumbotron 'cuz what's the point of that. You may as well be home watching it on TV.

There were some parts of the concert that were painful to watch like when she played guitar. I don't even think it's playing...strumming is a better adjective. She even slipped with her guitar as she skipped down the runway at one point. But her yoga practices have taught her acceptance instead of resistance. So she let herself fall to her knees instead of trying to break her fall and it was cool to see that even Madonna is human. She trips and falls like the rest of us!

But lemme tell you, all that yoga must be doing something right. That woman's body at 47 is ripped! Of course, she makes millions of dollars so there is no excuse to look anything but amazing. If I could look at least half as good as Modonna at 47, I would be stoked! But she's inspiring nonetheless. Middle-age isn't a death sentence as it once was and seeing her in concert tonight taught me that. I hope to be staying active, fit, and doing what I love at middle-age too.

Overall, the concert was amazing albeit hot. She sang "I Love New York" and she was disappointed afterwards and said, "I wrote this song for you guys and I don't even see you jumping!" So of course, we complied and jumped as she started singing "Ray of Light". But we stopped and in the middle of the song she yelled, "You're NOT jumping!" I yelled back, "Bitch! That's because we are hot!!!" LOL. Still, I had a great time and sang every single word to all her songs. And she did what she did best -- dance! My favorite part of the concert was when she and her back up dancers dressed up in 70s suits and moved like John Travolta. It made me want to go out and get a shiny white suit with the big shirt lapels and dance to Disco Inferno or something.

One final note, I have to admit that I shook my head when she got lifted on a disco cross as if crucified with a crown of thorns on her head singing "Live to Tell". I wasn't offended but rolled my eyes at the serious ego that this woman has. I mean seriously, what makes her think that she can be the Christ? I know she was trying to send a positive message encouraging a unified faith community as verses from several major religions flashed in the background, highlighting the virtues of love, forgiveness, and peace in humanity but was the crucifixion scene really necessary?

Oh Madonna, what a piece of work! Nonetheless, I still live for her.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

American Ballet Theatre's Giselle

Photo courtesy of ABT.

For work, I had to entertain the Foundation's South African guests this evening. Since we are a supporter of the performing arts, we have many connections in the dance, theater, and orchestra world. Six complimentary tickets got us inside tonight's performance Giselle at the Met.

Did I mention that I work for a great organization?!?!? What a perk!

Friday, June 09, 2006

To pursue the PhD or not?

Met with the Archaeologist today for morning coffee. He's really got me excited about my work on the Filipino balikbayan box. He was shocked that I did not want to pursue the PhD and encouraged me to consider it since he believes that I can make a new and exciting contribution to the intellectual conversations on the immigrant experience and that this MA thesis can easily become a PhD thesis.

Nooooooooooooooooooo!!! Virtual poverty, more school, no benefits in my 30s?!?!?! I don't know. I've got to really think this through.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Wedding by the Sea

I love all the things there are,
and of all the fires
love is the only inexhaustible one;
and that's why I go from life to life,
from guitar to guitar,
and I have no fear
of light or of shade,
and being almost earth myself,
I spoon away at infinity.

-- Pablo Neruda

The Cooking Anthropologist & her husband, the Computer Scientist sharing their first dance.

I was honored to be asked to read at their wedding. I read a poem by Neruda, an excerpt I included above.

A German tradition, where the new bride and groom have to saw a log in half to represent teamwork and unity. You can see these two were having fun.

Below is JK & me. I haven't seen her since her Vermont wedding in 1999. Now she has two beautiful boys!

The obligatory MHC shot below.

African drummers at the reception.

I spent time with the Cooking Anthropologist & the Computer Scientist in Tanzania when she was doing her year of fieldwork. We went snorkeling off the coast of Kigombe and lunched on a sand island only exposed during low tide.
A double-date weekend at the Cape, this time with Mojo in tow.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Here are the happy mothers on Mother's Day!! It also happens to be the birthday of Jellybean's Mother (shown here in red). Happy Birthday!!!

There were eight of us that schlepped from Forest Hills after church to Woodside. Two subway lines, four elevator rides, and several blocks later, we arrived at Sripraphai starving. Our hunger was satiated with their awesome papaya salad with mussels, squid, and shrimp and equally delicious duck salad (my preference is the papaya salad though). On the right, you see me scrapping up the last remaining bits of the papaya salad. To die for!!! I love their tilapia fillet dish with curry and eggplant and this time I ordered it mild. Last time, I thought I could handle the spice so I ordered "medium"...I thought my mouth was going to implode from all the heat. I was with J the first time, and our eyes were full of water. Poor thing, he had indigestion for two days!!!

Once the food arrived, the eight of us fell silent. The food was praised by all (thank goodness, since I picked the restaurant). After the meal, you see on the left that my mom and I are conniving behind the birthday girl. Several minute later, out came a banana cake with a candle on it. I think Jellybean's Mother was surprised.

Two hours later, the group emerged from Sripraphai and headed back to the 7 train, 61st Street Station. The station is located directly underneath the airline landing pattern for LaGuardia Airport, so here I am with mom, as we enjoy watching the planes fly low above us. Thankfully, we look nothing like Mr. Roarke and Tattoo as we exclaimed, "Da plane! Da plane!"

We Froze our Butts Off for Depeche Mode

We're city folk. Therefore, we don't own cars. So The Quirky One and I took the LIRR to see Depeche Mode at Jones Beach. We thought we would be 2 out of oh say, 10 people needing a shuttle bus to the theater...when in fact there must've been a few hundred of us. I couldn't believe it.

Fooled by the warm weather of the afternoon, The Quirky One wore summer clothes: flip flops, capri pants, and a tank top with a light zip up sweater to the concert. I was dressed a little more warmly but all thanks to luck really. When we got to the outdoor theater (our first time to attend), the wind picked up as we realized how much colder it can get right by the bay! Needless to say, we froze our buns off. I was afraid our toes would fall off too. So, it was even more reason to buy Depeche Mode paraphanelia. We ended up wearing our newly bought purchases to provide extra layering against the wind.

I've waited 17 years to see these guys. This is a shout out to my JHS peeps!!!! We wore black, teased our bangs high, and listened to Depeche Mode's Violator on our Sony Walkmans, and thought they were just simply amazing with the hits that came off that album: "Enjoy the Silence," "Policy of Truth," and "Personal Jesus." Here's to you ladies! Boy how we've grown: three of us are getting married this year, two are engaged, and three (including yours truly) are still standing.

Thanks goodness I always manage to sneak in my camera. I don't know why I bother though. I never have terribly good seats but the camera has a video function. So sometimes I take a video...but then I'm always singing so I just end up hearing my voice on the video. That's definitely not a good thing to post. Ha!!! I'm a little disappointed that they didn't play Policy of Truth tonight. It's my favorite song, I have to admit!!! It elicits such strong JHS memories!!!

The Quirky One and I were on the lookout for lots of Asians at the concert considering our group of friends who listened to DM were all Asian. We were surprised to find very few Asian folks at the concert and even more surprised to hear a lot of foreign languages being spoken. There were A LOT of Europeans there. It's the first concert I've been to where English was not the predominant language (As a side note, a Pearl Jam concert was the concert where most of the voices I heard singing belonged to men.)

On a final note, which serves as a funny story to boot: when The Quirky One heard that I was a DM fan and how long I've been listening to them, she was startled at how far back they go. She's only three years younger than me but got into them in college. I told her that I was listening to them in the late 80s! A few days later, in the excitement of perhaps finding another DM fan, she asked if she could borrow my DM disc collection so she could burn copies. I had to break it to her that I listened to them on cassettes and never got around to buying CDs!!! Funny, huh?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm Frrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Depeche Mode tonight at Jones Beach Theater.

More to come about my crazy week!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Week of Hell: Finals

So my body feels like crap owing to all this crazy stress. I know what it feels like to be at 100% vitality (a unit of measurement used by The Accupuncturist) where it feels like I have tons of energy, my body is humming, and I'm whistling out loud on the street cuz I just feel so damn good. When I feel this good, it's like I'm flying (no seriously, sans drugs just needles)!! Right now, I feel aches in my muscles and my joints are creaking like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, and my injured shoulder is back thanks to my lifting my heavy laundry bag and carrying it like Santa Claus two blocks to my local laundrymat a week ago (you will not believe how much I would give for a washer and dryer in my apartment right now). I could kill myself for being so careless!! I should've known better.

Tried to push up my appointment with The Accupuncturist and I can't get one!!! I like seeing him at the end of the day cuz I don't feel rushed since there's no one after me. He's gotten so part, thanks to my recommending him to so many people. Folks have seen how good I've been looking these past few months and have asked my secret. Silly me. I told them it was him. Seven people have now seen him, thanks to my referrals! Shit. So no good deed goes unpunished. I mean, I'm really happy for all of us taking charge of ourselves to be healthier people. But this sucks that he's getting popular!!!

Breathe JoJo. Breathe. Note to self: Must learn to share and get over your only-child mentality.

*sigh* Got two papers, both due on May 12. One on the balikbayan box and the other on Karl Marx and his labor theory of economics. Shite!

Ok, I can do this. I can get through this.

Acceptance, submission, surrender. All these attitudes are key to my well-being. This is my journey. I have to embrace it with love.

Remember the light at the end of this week's tunnel. Visualize 3 weeks in Costa Rica in July: surfing, volcanoes, ziplining through the cloud forest, the incredibly diversity of animals and plants, the beaches. Remind myself of how incredibly blessed I am to have the opportunity to study a discipline that really fascinates and excites me, that I have the intellectual capacity to critically analyze and cogently write about topics that interest me, that I have an amazing job that supports me, and that I ultimately have the physical and mental capacity to heal myself and get through this pain.

Perhaps I should re-phrase the title of this post to "Week of Acceptance, Submission, and Surrender".

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Costa Rica Surfer Chick!

Costa Rica, baby! Here I come! I wanna be a surfer chick. I wanna be a surfer chick.

I'll be attending an all-girls surf camp through Third World Productions for a week so I can learn to stand on a board and ride a wave. Then, two weeks of traveling around the country. Yeah!!!

I will realize the dream in July!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Publishing in an Academic Journal?

My professor, The Archaeologist, for my material culture class has enjoyed the essays I've written so far on the Filipino balikbayan box that he has suggested that I try to get them published. WTF!! Whoa, really!?!?!?! A lowly MA student such as myself, get published in an academic journal? I can't believe it. I'm definitely going to follow through and look into it. I feel so validated thanks to The Archaeologist's encouragement.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


hey hey hey! what's haPPenin'???

30 is here and i feel so LiBerATEd from the shackles of my 20s. let's see. the positive: i traveled the country for free, i met amazing new people, i lived in two other places besides NYC, i truly became financially independent from the 'rents. the negatives: the quarter-life crisis, the uncertainty of life, the constant self-questioning, the depressingly low salary, the people pleasing. UGH. i'm tired of it. none of that shitake ANYMORE! i'm older and i demand respect dammit! so if you thought i was outspoken before, wait till you hear me now!

i've been lookin' forward to 30. seems like i'm the only one of my friends that's not freaked out by it. i'm happy and grateful for all the beautiful life blessings i have. so many amazing things are going to happen in this decade; how can i NOT look forward to it???

a beautiful surprise birthday dinner was planned by a scheming duo: j & mom. i never thought mom had it in her. but she surprised me. and the fact that she and j worked together, shocked me even more. yet i felt sooooooooo loved. later, a part-ay! check out photos on flickr.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom turned another year older today! Here she is blowing out her candles surrounded by lovely roses and some cards and a check from me. Ha!

Of course, there has to be one with the two of us!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Happy 30th Birthday L!

Here's one of my best friends celebrating her 30th. Her husband, The Chemist, plus 12 close friends celebrated L's (aka "Goober") birthday in elegant style at a Boston lounge and restaurant. With the exception of her elder sister who could not attend, the other four women in her bridal party were there. So we're talkin' just close friends folks.

To the left, you'll see Goober shimmy-ing in one of her gifts, a new blue bathrobe. Doesn't she just look ssssexxy in that bad boy!?!? The Chemist seems to thinks so.

On the right is the birthday gal between me and The Artistic One, who is donning her typical laugh-out-loud-laugh. Don't we look awesome for a bunch of 30-year-olds?

Hey wait, I'm not 30 yet! Haaa!!! I'm the baby in this pic...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Travel Itch

All this talk of traveling has made me itching to get on a plane. So when this happpens, I just look back at some of the amazing places I've been:

Me watching the sun set at the Delicate Arch.
Arches National Park, Utah (2001)

This statue, like many Incan artifiacts originally intended for display was completely covered with a thin, gold plate. When the Spaniards arrived, they melted all the gold, kept it for themselves, and exorcised the object by chopping off its nose, and branding a cross by one of its ears.

Tiwanaku, Bolivia

Iguazu Falls, Argentina (2003)
Me on a ski lift on the Argentinian side of the Andes (2003)

Isla del Sol y Lago Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru (2003)
Hiking the top rim of Isla del Sol,
the island in which the sun was birthed
according to Incan mythology.

Day 1 of the Inca Trail, Peru (2003). This picture may help you understand why the Incas called this place "The Sacred Valley". I look at this photo and ask myself, "How can you NOT believe in a God?"

Day 4 of the Inca Trail. Arrival at Machu Picchu.

Chillin' on the beach in Zanzibar (2004).

For more pics, check out my flickr album.