Home Sweet Home x 2: Concord and the Philippines

Yesterday was Yvette vs. Murphy’s Law day. What could go wrong DID go wrong. I missed my AM flt due to subway delays. I left the house at 7:15 and would’ve easily gotten to JFK by 8AM from Bed-Stuy had it not been for this stupidity. I got on the afternoon flight that was expected to arrive in Oakland at 7:30, but as soon as we boarded it started to pour and we were stuck on the tarmac for 2.5 hours until takeoff. We landed in Oakland at 9:30. Check-in for Philippine Airlines closes at 9:45. I was freaking out and fortunately my cousin Francis texted me and told me not to worry. While I was up in the air saying 1,000,000 Hail Maries for the flt to just get there safely and everything will be ok, my parents and auntie teamed up and rebooked my ticket for Wednesday. I txted my mom in the Philippines and told her I was very upset that I wasn’t on the plane for Manila already. She called and told me to chill – these things happen and I will be ok. As my 2 favorite guy cousins picked me up, my exhaustion started to set in. Oh and did I mention I lost my voice? Yes. I sound like a cracked out Joan Rivers right now. I have a little cough, but I don’t feel sick. I was tired the extra night was a must-needed diversion.

I woke up this morning and ate breakfast on my parents new veranda. It is weird to be in such a big, empty house. WAY different from my approx. 830 sq. foot apartment I share w/ Joanie. This is where I grew up – subtle changes, but all very familiar. Due to my voice, my mom did not sleep as a result of worrying. She promptly informed me about her predicament 3:30 in the morning their time. Apparently, the Philippines is being quite vigilant about swine flu and is doing random thermal scans at the airport. She asked me to call my Tita Helen (an RN) and/or talk to Francis (one of the cousins who picked me up who happens to be an RN) to get medication…if all else fails I was instructed to ask my aunties to talk to a family friend, Dr. Mendoza, to give me some antibiotic. Both Francis and Tita Helen said that I had nothing to worry about over the phone and that it will naturally run its course. My attempt to argue that I was fine was rebuked and I was instructed via email to not be stubborn because she would rather that I stay in the US than be stuck in quarantine. I heard my mother’s voice in my head as I read this email. Since I wanted to see my Tita anyway and I really didn’t want to be stuck in no damn quarantine for my vacation, I promptly drove to Richmond and picked up the meds. I also took my own temperature and it’s normal. Fortunately, she had a prescription cough med that she said will calm my cough and help my throat. I went to Apo’s house (grandma) and told to return later on in the afternoon so that I can eat there – my auntie was baking chicken. SCORE! I leave for the airport around 6:30ish tonight. I called PAL to confirm it’s been rebooked. All is fine.

I am relieved that I had this time to take it easy before boarding another plane. I am able to catch up w/ family and get some extra sleep. It has been a year since I’ve seen my Apo who is 91 – that was the biggest plus to staying an extra night. The Lord did answer my Hail Mary’s – everybody is safe and healthy. Oops I better go…my auntie just called and said the chicken is done! I can hear my Apo in the background giving her instructions to tell me to come…

There’s Only One Song I’ve Been Singing…

And I sang it w/ my brother the day before the King of Pop passed away. I just had him on my mind all weekend.

I will NEVER be able to say goodbye to the music, the icon – Michael Jackson. I hope that you are now resting peacefully up in heaven and the worries of the world have all washed away.

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A Taste of Home In Brooklyn

shoes, originally uploaded by joeytoofresh.

In an effort to forge our surrogate families here in Brooklyn, my sister and I hosted our first dinner party in Brooklyn. These pix were taken by Joey. It allowed me to debut the crock-pot and serve some kare-kare aka Filipino oxtail peanut stew. Good times, lots of laughs, and GREAT company.

Still livin’ it up in Bed-Stuy

Most of you probably remember that my sister and I had decided to move after our friend was hit upside the head and robbed on our block. Joanie and I had our hearts set on staying in the neighborhood, but moving south towards the A train. After seeing a few places, we found our new home. We moved in on 12/31/08 and presently settling into our apartment. We are quite the apartmenttherapy.com wannabes w/ our decorating process. We’ve decided to slowly set everything up while unpacking so that we don’t have to move things twice. Furthermore, we want our place to feel like home. Pics to come as soon as I get back from DC…I’m celebratin’ the Inauguration in the Capital!

Happy times…

_MG_2732, originally uploaded by richlouis.

Friday evening on St. Marks.

This smile is a result of 1 bottle of Asahi, toro tartare, and a plate of Japanese croquettes.

Rewind.Fast forward.

Group time 2, originally uploaded by joeytoofresh.

There was a time when most of my days were spent participating in Filipino community events. Since finishing up undergrad, my involvement has waned. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I wanted to explore other things. I also felt pressured by old acquaintances and peers to be involved in certain ways and that turned me off. I don’t think being Filipino is defined by how involved I am. It encompasses so many more things than that.

Lately, I’ve been in an introspective mood. My life in Brooklyn is pretty permanent now and it’s interesting to see just what communities/niches I find myself gravitating to. The Filipino community is one of them. And even if I am not heading off to the next protest or gathering petitions as I did before, I would like to think there are ways to express and enjoy a huge part of who I am.

Thanks to FiRE (gotta love the acronyms) – http://www.firenyc.org/ – I’ve found a group of people to connect with. This past Saturday, I hosted my first FiRE event. They have monthly brunches, but this time they decided to do an evening affair so I volunteered my place. It was fun meeting new people and making connections without any pressure or pretense. It’s a great thing to see in NYC. I hope to do it again.

Enjoy the pics…

Eating Healthy. Eating Tasty.

For those who don’t know, I started the South Beach Diet after Thanksgiving.  I’ve never really cared about watching my weight, since my metabolism has always been pretty high, but I’ve noticed over the past year that it has slowed down considerably and none of my clothes fit.  Moreover, relatives took note in August and they’d NEVER said anything about my figure before. I knew something was up. During my physical on November 13th, I learned I’d gained 30 lbs. since I graduated in May 2006!I decided that after Thanksgiving I would start cutting down on the bad food – starchy carbs (white rice), junk, sugary sweets, and increase my intake of the good stuff. I sought out a diet that best fit my needs – I wanted to eat good, tasty food and work on eating healthier (not high fat, low carb).  I decided on the South Beach since it emphasizes all those things and so far I’ve lost a lot of the belly flab.  Best of all – I can still eat things like sirloin steak and not feel guilty! The first couple of days without white rice was tough, but I haven’t really craved it since then. I did eat a little carb over the past weekend because it was me & Joe’s 1 year anniversary (had two fries and dessert at Les Halles), but I didn’t fully lose my grip. I think if I ate fast food right now, my stomach would rebel!So in the spirit of sharing – I decided to add a ‘foodie’ tab and post up my recipes and Yelp! restaurant reviews of good eats.Bon appetit!