A Woman’s Best Friend

Immigrating to another country means that I leave all my loved ones behind. It was a battle, and continue to be. There will always be a part of me that I left back home in the Philippines. One day, in the midst of my depression, my husband left me with his senior dog, a female black Labrador named ‘Jinx.’

I was never a dog person growing up. Once, when I was about 10 years old, my dad got us a small mini pinscher. She was the cutest thing. We named her ‘Lala’. After a week, I got bored. My sister ended up taking care of her. Back then, I didn’t understand animals. I thought zoos were great, not understanding that these animals were not in their proper habitat.

So, when my husband told me to hang out with his dog, I was surprised. This dog and I just ended up staring at each other. A little nudge here, a little slobber there. She was trying to tell me she wanted her butt massaged, probably thinking how stupid I am not to realize – after all, she has wiggled her butt into a blur. Over the years, I have fallen in love with this dog. I’ve learned that she is great company.

And so, fast forward to now, we are a family of 2 humans and 3 dogs. I have spent my days off speaking with my dogs, telling them stories and asking them questions. I usually end up spending more time with them than I do with humans. Call me the ‘crazy dog lady’ but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

These dogs have taught me how to be compassionate, sensitive, understanding and patient. (A lot of patience) They have made me laugh, cry, scream out in frustration. They have embarrassed me in public. They have made me proud, LOL, nauseated and happy. They have kept me warm on cold nights and have kicked me hard in the stomach when it’s too hot. They’re not very subtle.

 

img_20160919_054740

Olive stole all our blankets in the middle of a cold night.

Now, I can’t imagine my life without any of them. Hey, it’s messy, there’s dog hair everywhere, (It has followed me all the way to work in my lunch box), they eat disgusting stuff, they step on their own poop – it ain’t a pretty picture. However, it has also given me a purpose in life. Here is a living breathing living thing who relies on me to eat, breathe, sleep and survive. In exchange, they give me all the love and trust in the world. They have helped me cope with sadness, depression and anxiety. They have also been there through all the successes, happiness and celebrations.

I got your back, girls. Through thick and thin. Thanks for all the love.

Advertisements

A Homeowner’s heaven and hell

Owning a home has always been on top of my bucket list/priority list. (More in the priority list because it needs to get done ASAP.)

After working my ass off in order to save for a down payment, going through all the paper signing and technicalities that, to be honest, I barely understood, we finally got keys to our first ever home. This was 3 years ago.

Since then, it’s been both heaven and hell. Heaven because:

  1. I’m finally away from my in laws.
  2. I get my own room (I know I share it with my husband, but you get my point.) My dream of owning my own bathroom is on hold as the house only has 1 full bath.
  3. I have a sense of accomplishment. Who has bought their first home at the age of 24? (Bought in a sense that I own the bank a shit ton of money)
  4. Another list off my bucket list.
  5. I feel like an adult. (Because I don’t act like one.)
  6. I get my own space.

Hell because:

  1. After working to save for a down payment, I am now working to pay off my mortgage.
  2. Which means I can’t stop working. I was hoping to retire at age 30. (I wish!)
  3. Our water tank broke and that was $1,200 of unexpected expenses. I hate unexpected expenses.
  4. Property tax. So dumb.
  5. Water bill, electricity bill, gas bill – all kinds of bills.
  6. Insurance that I don’t use.
  7. Groceries, having to cook my own food. No one’s got time for that!

I exaggerate for the sake of the blog. Responsibilities are a part of life. I wouldn’t want it any other way anyway. Having a home is a lot of work, yet it gives me so much happiness pulling into the driveway and knowing that I have a roof over my head. It shows me that maybe I made a right decision somewhere along the way, that all the long days and nights were all worth it.

Now, if only the dogs would stop digging into my backyard.

The American Southwest

If you would like to see the complete itinerary, pls. scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Work is Stressful with a capital S. A much needed reprieve was the only solution.

Since I live in Southern California, the easiest thing for me to plan is a trip in the beautiful US Southwest. Drivable, beautiful and most importantly – it takes me away from crazy California.

My husband is only too happy for me to plan this trip. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Albeit only a 5 day trip, it gave me the energy to go back to real life, until the next time I’m burned out again.

Arizona was beautiful. I personally would want to move to  this state. I think California is overrated and expensive.

My favorite part of this trip is Monument Valley. Straddling the Utah-Arizona border, it is a sacred piece of land owned by the Navajo tribe. To some, it might be any other kind of rock formation seen all over the American Southwest. However, once you step into this place, you will notice a stark difference – you can feel that this place is sacred, well taken cared of by the native tribe. The rock formations were beautiful, the native people even more so. The place is ran by the natives which gives them a source of income. They only ask one thing from the tourists – respect their land. This place is beautiful. I will be back to hike one of their trails.

Monument Valley

_________________________________________________________________

Grand Canyon was beautiful but I enjoyed Bryce Canyon National Park better. The Grand Canyon is a masterful work of God and nature – but it was so… grand. Maybe because it was so vast, I couldn’t seem to see enough. Bryce Canyon felt more personal and I felt much more up close with nature. Their rock formations looked like crystal ice castles, depending on what time of the day you are there and how the sun is hitting the rocks. Either way, both places are must see destinations.

Bryce Canyon National Park

_________________________________________________________________

Our final stop was Las Vegas, Nevada. Bright, fun, loud and outrageous. Don’t laugh, this is the first time I’ve been to this place. We watched Cirque De Soleil – Mystere which was a fun circus like show. Walked around and just decided to breathe in the sights and sounds. Outside of the strip, there were a lot of homeless people and it was quite dirty. This is not a knock on the city, just an observation. Los Angeles is not as glitzy as well, even though movies try to tell you otherwise.

If you have the time and finances, pls. take a drive around the American Southwest. You won’t regret seeing this beauty.

Day 1 South rim of the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, 2 hours away from each other. We wanted to see the Antelope Valley as well, but we didn’t know that you have to go through a tour group for that. Every National Park has a $30 entrance. 

Day 2Monument Valley – magnificent. $20 entrance.

Day 3Bryce Canyon National Park – beautiful. Another $30. Wanted to go to Zion but we didn’t have enough time. Will be back again.

Day 4Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Day 5 Drive back home to sunny Southern California.