Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I should not be here blogging because we are so busy preparing for our road trip to Connecticut to visit my sister and her family this coming Thursday, but this is a release for me.

Oh yeah, we also plan to go to NYC. It's been 10 years this month the last time we were in NYC. It was April 2000 -- we were not married yet and the Twin Towers were still standing. How things change! In any case, I am very excited. The drive, according to Google map, should be about 19 hours. It will be longer than that for us because of the baby. We have to stop frequently for feeding and diaper change. Outside of Cleveland, Ohio is our planned overnight stay. We hope to make it in Cleveland before midnight.


We have new neighbors. I think there are 2 families who moved in that house next door. One couple is older; the other ones younger with a baby. We met them briefly one day last week. Benji was fussy that time. The older man talked to me but I cannot hear him that well. I thought he asked me when we had Benji, so, I told him November. I excused myself after that because Benji decided to cry louder. Jason took over in conversing with them. Before I left to go inside our house, the younger woman invited us to her baby's first birthday which was last Saturday.

I worked last Saturday. When I came home, I told Jason that I cannot go because of computer work. Jason was torn if he wants to go or not. Anyway, because we wanted to be friendly with our new neighbors, he decided to stopped by briefly with Benji. Upon return, my husband told me what happened there.

Our older lady neighbor introduced him and Benji as "This is our neighbor with his adopted son." Jason was stunned by this. Was it an assumption? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it was, according to Jason, very awkward. He doesn't know what to say after that. The thing is he was introduced to a crowd. He said "If it was just one person, I could easily correct her!" He eventually told her the "fact" in private. So, if we don't get any invitation next time, we know the reason. Ha ha ha!


My mother and I with Benji went to the Filipino Store in the South side of Des Moines. We were the only customers that time. The owner who is very friendly approached us to look at the baby. She said the baby is cute and asked me if the father is Chinese. I said no, he's an American. She quickly said after I told her that she can see it now after looking at the baby's nose because it is not pug.


Poor Benji. There will be more situations similar to these for him because he's a mixed race. It's not that bad. Really.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The 1st 13 years

Time flies. I'm a bit embarrassed sometimes when people asked how long I'd been in this country. My English grammar did not improve much. However, I am a different person from that younger, slimmer and ignorant person that I was.

Unrealistic expectations were gone. Gratefulness took its place. I came to accept that I am not in heaven but in a wonderful place where opportunities are still plentiful. Opportunity to improve myself and my life is what I cherish most.

Before leaving the Philippines, my colleagues and I were examined by a psychiatrist to determine our fitness in performing our job. I was told that my intelligence is above average which was good to know but I was also told that I will not survive in the United States because of my passive personality. That was a blow to the gut. What she said hounds me up to this very moment. However, I have more understanding of her "diagnosis." What she failed to tell me is that people are malleable; that we are products of our environment and experiences. Maybe she didn't know that because she is not familiar with the American Experience of self re-invention. I no longer dispute or work to disprove her. I know now that I can survive -- actually more than survive. I thrive in this wonderful country.

April 1997. Photo taken in dowtown Dallas with the people I came with.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On Faith

One day it just came to me. Maybe organized religion is for me, or maybe not. My view on this is wishy-washy at best. The last time I was in church was almost 9 months ago. My excuse on stopping the last time was the H1N1 outbreak. I was pregnant then and I didn't want to be in a place where I could catch it easily. Now that I am not pregnant anymore and the dreaded virus is no longer a health threat, my almost 5-month old baby becomes my alibi. Due to the Easter holiday and and having glanced at the movie Ten Commandments, I recently started pondering again on my spiritual direction or (more appropriately) mis-direction.

I considered myself religious from age 14 to 23. As a teen, I struggled with chronic depression and identity crisis. Attending church gave me temporary relief from my so-called suffering. Then, I came to the United States. I was initially excited to look for a "home" church but I immediately was overwhelmed by so much choices. I believe that there is a church in every other corner of this country. I attended several Protestant, Evangelical and Catholic churches. I find church people to be mostly friendly and welcoming but I just did not feel I belong to any that I visited so far. Lately, I tend to choose mega churches for anonymity. Then, there's my husband who was born and raised atheist. He never stops nor criticizes me from attending; he even accompanies me so I don't feel lonely.

Marrying an atheist is an eye-opener. I believe that I am more open minded and see the world differently since knowing him. My husband is the epitome of contentment and decency. I learned from him that you don't need religion to be morally upright.

As a Christian, it was a taboo to doubt the existence of God or even ask the age-old question "If God is good, how can He let innocent people suffer?" Christians offer different explanations but nothing is intellectually gratifying.

Each Sunday morning, upon hearing the hymn time on the radio, I can get overcome by guilt for not going to a service but once I get to the church, I wish to be somewhere else. My mind constantly wanders.

When I think about my son, I start thinking about spirituality. Should I raise him with religion? Should I teach him about Christian faith? Or, is it a form of brain washing?

I was showering one day. It was one rare time that I was able to linger because my husband was with the baby. I started to sing and without thinking about it I was singing a Christian song about knowing Jesus. Tears started to flow and it felt really good.