Things I’m Thankful for

This is an overdue Thanksgiving post, but better late than never. I hope you all enjoyed your thanksgiving day as well. I also hope you enjoyed the time of overnight camping at Best Buy for Black Friday. Ha, I’m kidding. It’s well beneath my common sense to do something that ludicrous. If I had the day off, I’d stayed home and watched sci-fi movies or Chinese Kung-Fu movies all day with pizza.

I worked on the day of the infamous Black Friday. After that, I retreated home. There’s no way I want to be out in the crowds. I find the crowded malls overwhelming. It’s a test of patience dealing with stressed out, rude, or pushy sales associates. There’s something horribly depressing about the holiday hype and in-your-face marketing. It makes me cringe.

Last year, it was refreshing to spend Thanksgiving in Singapore. For Christmas, I was in Dubai and Kerala. Thanksgiving is by no surprise not a recognized or known holiday in that part of the world. It’s celebrated only by American expats (and friends of American expats). Jon Z hosted a Thanksgiving potluck that celebrated Thanksgiving with plenty of food and hanging out. I still remember Claire’s baking. Celebrations are all about gatherings and good times with people you know. It felt nice to get away from all the aggressive marketing.

Singapore and Dubai are known for cosmopolitanism and extravagance. People love to show off their wealth and success, and one avenue is through fashion and designer labels. Surely, during their holidays such as Chinese New Year, Diwali, Christmas, the places are decorated and stores will advertise their deals. However, it doesn’t feel as draining or overwhelming as the marketing hype back in the US. When driving on Thanksgiving Day for our dinner gathering, Luis and I saw people lining up in front of Best Buy at 7pm to be the first in line for Black Friday sales tomorrow. How can anyone live like that? It was also cold and snowed a little overnight.

Sensible people in America are definitely not extinct. I will not judge you if you buy something on a Black Friday. I had a few household items that I was looking for such as a french press and rice cooker. I shopped online in the comfort of my own home. If there was a sale, why not take advantage of it? Or maybe you want to splurge on something. It’s your life. Do what you want. But won’t you say that camping overnight at 9 pm or midnight of Thanksgivng is frankly ridiculous?

When it comes to the holidays, I tend to tune out. I start avoiding malls and stores from late October till after January. I don’t go unless I want to buy something. I throw away ads that come in the mail. It’s helpful that I don’t own a TV. I’m whipping my finances to shape. I’ve been trying to rebuild my liquid savings after paying off medical expenses and debts. I’m not rich and will not pretend to be. Why should I spend money that I do not have on junk? I will learn to be satisfied with what I already have.

Despite the crap that’s out there, I know that life is how I make of it. I’m in control of making my life how I want it to be. There’s still things I’m thankful for. I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with Luis and his family. It was nice to have dinner, desserts, and hang out. I got to make pumpkin spice cheesecake. There isn’t anything like a wonderful, homecooked meal with plenty of desserts with warm, wonderful, genuine people.

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In no order, these are the things I’m happy about. There has been so many transitions during the last couple of years. It’s challenging. My life will never be perfect. Life is a journey that includes every spectrum of human experience. For now, I want to focus on the pleasant things:

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Landing well in Boston. I didn’t want to return to Portland. There are many reasons for it, but lack of jobs is one of them. I decided to give Boston a try. I knew Leonid. From my research, it seemed good to me. I’ve visited Boston before and loved it.

Before I arrived in Boston, I found a temporary home stay. In a matter of 2 months, I found a job and an apartment. There’s 5 of us all together. My roommates are fun, interesting people. There’s a musician, bodybuilder, naturopath, and high school teacher. And me the writer and baker.

I have an administrative job at a healthcare agency. It’s a typical 9 to 5 office job. My coworkers are mostly experienced professional women whom I enjoy working with. The business environment is very different from teaching/education professional culture. So far, it’s going well. I’m still trying to learn the ropes. It’s a relief to find something soon in a brand new city. This jobs pays the bills and gives me something to do while I establish my roots.

Ideas and future possibilities. If I could start over, I would have pursued a business degree and English minor. Many years ago, Katie asked me if I ever thought of starting my own business. “Nah!” was my response. Now, I got an idea for a business. Why the heck not? I’m full of ideas but I need to think through it. As soon as I got the idea, I started brainstorming. Let’s see where this goes.

Recovery. Enough said. It’s a test of patience. I’m recovering slowly. I feel like 50% of myself. That’s not bad considering that I was functioning at 20% several months ago. It’s also a journey into myself. The truth about this stage of my life is discovering how to accept help from people. I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who entered my life with the last 3 years.

Us at the beach

Enjoying a summer at the beach. This weather doesn’t last long in Boston.

Opportunities to meet people. On multiple occasions, I heard that the people New England area are unfriendly and it’s difficult making friends here. I strongly disagree. I find the exact opposite to be true. Some people may find the region cold. (Hint: I’m not talking about the weather). But what’s preferable: superficial friendliness from strangers or a genuine friendship? I hate it when people have this polite friendliness out of obligation. But, it’s obvious that they’d rather be elsewhere than talk to me. I hate not knowing where I stand with people. If I have someone in my life, I’d like the confidence that they are genuine and will be there. Flakiness is something I can’t stand.

I may hate random strangers in public asking me about my life. However, I love to chat it up at parties and social gatherings. That’s where you get to know people. That’s where people are more open and you really get to know people in a genuine way.

There’s lots to do here. Variety is the spice of life. I’ve been spending my time checking out professional organizations, hobby groups, political interest, religious, and many more. I’ve visited random events hosted by InterNations, Boston Bookbuilders, Media Bistro, Brookline Wordplay, Editorial Freelance Association, and others. It’s nice to meet like-minded people with common interests. I miss being really involved in the literatti community. Within 3 months, I already met awesome people. I look forward to making new connections and getting to know more people and their lives. It’s a discovery.

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Chilling at an ice cafe in Dubai

Surya, my little sister. Surya is just awesome! Her dedication to the things she’s passionate about, work ethics, morale, and dry humor are what I love. I miss her and wish she was here in Boston. But hey, that’s an excuse for me to take a vacation and travel (and vice-versa). I enjoy talking to Surya. I can’t wait to visit Portland and hang out.

IMG_0304Luis, my man. I didn’t expect to find a boyfriend so soon in a new city. Our first date was after a month upon my arrival to Boston. I know that as a newcomer that I should be careful with dates. As I was looking to spread my roots and make connections, I was open to the idea of meeting a man. Why not? I went on a couple of dates. Leonid, my friend, told me that Boston is a great place for singles and the singles scene is good here. (In that case, why didn’t I move here earlier?) 

Before I met Luis, I went on a couple of dates. The first one was an aggressive Italian. He was too much. Then, a weirdo who wanted to read poetry to me naked and then have me throw a pie at him (I’m not kidding. WTH?) I told him to beat it. Later, I met another woman who had a similar experience. He seemed normal but later wanted to read poetry to her naked. After comparing notes, we realized that it had to be the same guy. At least, it’s an interesting story. Then, I met a Malayalee who was intelligent, passionate, and a radical. I love a guy who can challenge my intellect without being an arrogant asshole about it. This guy came from the same place as Arundhati Roy. He didn’t personally know that writer but knew enough about her through the grapevine. He was a good guy but way too serious. I wished that he would smile or laugh at least once.

Then, I met Luis. To keep it short, I saw an attractive man who seemed nice, mature, intelligent, and possessing common interests. He looked mixed and I found it intriguing. I find myself attracted to brunettes or chocolate of all shades. For some reason, I don’t particularly find blonds, redheads, or pale skin attractive. We chatted for sometime and got to know each other. Then he asked me out on a date at Stone Hearth Pizza. I really enjoyed our time. We had so much in common and our conversations flowed easily. There was commonality and mutual attraction.

We went on a few dates. We’re still seeing each other. By the end of December, it’d be 6 months. He’s been a wonderful friend and a good man. Relationships make me nervous. The idea of being committed to one person for the rest of my life and making it work is scary. He’s encouraging, supportive, passionate about the things he cares about, and helps me become a better person. After getting to know him, I feel that my fears of a relationship are gradually melting. I feel encouraged to pursue the relationship and the possibilities. He’s brought so much into my life. I met his family.

I can’t wait to see what unfold in front of me. I don’t like to think, “what if this doesn’t work out?” I want to experience the beauty of a relationship and let it unfold in front of me.

2014-08-30 15.19.50Eddie, the cutest 5 year old kid. Eddie is Luis’ son. He’s a single father. Of course, some of my friends and relatives asked me about it. My uncle called me from Dubai to chat with me. They knew about it after I posted pictures on facebook. When we were dating, we are very honest about everything. I knew right away the situation about his previous marriage and his son. I even met his ex-wife and her fiance. We decided to date first and get to know each other. If things go well, then maybe meet the kid. And, I’d be introduced as Daddy’s friend.

Meeting Eddie for the first time made me more nervous than my first date with Luis. But I love that kid. Children show another side of life. He seems to be open to and accepting me. Eddie is so smart, adorable, and friendly. Another fear of mine was being a parent in the future. One benefit is seeing what kind of a father he is. Luis is a great dad, which makes him even more attractive to me. Another fear of mine is gradually melting. I babysat Eddie. And on most of our dates, Eddie comes along too. I learned that I’m not so bad with kids.

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Pizza. On one hand, I miss the many independent hipster coffee shops of Portland. We have some here too in Boston, but it’s not the same. There is Thinking Cup coffee that sells Stumptown Coffee. However, there are many independent pizzerias. I see pizza parlours and Italian restaurants and cafes everywhere. I used to have cravings for Pizza Hut Super Supreme with Stuffed Crust. Who needs it when there’s much finer choices?

Perfect location of my house. I’m spoiled. Within 15 minute walking radius of my house, there is a grocery store, CVS, gym, dentist, nail salons, hair salons, post office, Starbucks, Chinese spa, and an eyebrow threading salon. As if that wasn’t enough, there are several restaurants included: 3 pizzerias, Chinese, Italian, Thai, Greek, 2 Japanese. By the way, these are good restaurants too. My favorites are BHOP (Boston House of Pizza) for their combination pizza; and Little Thai Cafe for their delicious food and great service every time. I’m surprised that I didn’t gain much more weight with all these temptations around me. Oh well, even if I do that only means that there is more of me to love.

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