All posts tagged: Nostalgia

A Letter to My Future Son

As March rolls in, it reminds me that 3 years ago I was about to have my son. I remember going through many emotions of fear and doubt but I did something get through it. For expecting mothers write a letter or journal your thoughts to your baby. Writing this before he was born just made it real. It also now helps me remember. While searching through my notes in my phone for an enchilada recipe I stumbled upon this: March 07, 2013 Okay so I have about a week more and I should be giving birth to my first child. I didn’t think this would be coming to fruition. It’s one thing to talk, wish, imagine, but my goodness it’s for real . I’m gonna have a baby! So that’s one thing to think it but I have to survive the labor. Am I gonna handle like a champ or cry and tell them to just cut me? I want to see this baby! Will it look like me? Will it look like James? …

Celebrate Me When I’m Alive

In the last month and a half, I have had a number of friends and loved ones pass away.  I am always saddened of course, because losing someone means a part of you no longer exists in your living life.  But more often than not, I am motivated and inspired to reflect on the following thoughts:  Am I living a life that I love?  Am I living to my fullest potential?  Am I spending my time the way I want to spend my time and not spending it in a way that is expected of me or as a result of guilt?  These thoughts help me to make sense of the loss and to find new meaning in what I believe life is all about. One such loss was the passing of my good friends’ mom, Mrs. Lam.  She was a firecracker and definitely loved living life to the fullest.  I had the honor of sharing the fond memories of her that everyone had written down for me to read during Mrs. Lams’ service.  And …

My Grandpa, My Best Friend

What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you. The earliest memory I have is being 1-year old and crying at the back door of the house. My parents had gone to work and I was left alone with my grandfather who, because he was retired, was tasked with babysitting me. I stood there, tears streaming down my face, pounding on the door, wishing to be close to my mother, but unable to articulate exactly what I wanted. My grandfather picked me up and comforted me, holding me close, bouncing me slightly, while softly saying “shh-shh-shh” and walking me back to the living room. I remember crying in his arms for a bit longer and then the memory ends. My parents and I lived with my grandparents, so it was as if I had two sets of parents. Being an only child, I had no playmates growing up, so my grandfather became my best friend, and we ended up being an unlikely …

Spared

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab? My family survived Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Our house, unfortunately, did not. From that experience alone, there are some things that are sealed and packed in the event of a disaster, like important documents and family heirlooms, all ready for easy transport. Of everything taken by the hurricane, I mourn the loss of my childhood pictures, so obviously, whatever photos I’ve accumulated since then would be included in the things I save. Photos are truly invaluable and although my parents tried to salvage as many pictures as they could, I’ve resigned to the fact that I’ll need to rely on my memory to remember my childhood. It’s not an easy feat since as I get older and my mind is filled with more and more noise of the present, the fuzzier my distant memories get. Luckily, there are still a few pictures that trigger memories of a simpler time and a high burning metabolism.

Rainy Day

I love the sounds of Mother Nature’s symphony most especially on stormy days: the rhythmic pitter-patter of rain drops hitting the roof, the whispers of the wind through the ironwood trees and clapping thunder from dark skies reverberate throughout the house. The temperature in our single-wall home drops to a chilly 49°F /9°C. Bundled from head to toe in layers of wool sweaters, baggy sweatpants and fuzzy slippers, I manage to shuffle into the kitchen and get a kettle of hot water going. It’s a perfect day to hibernate. Or perhaps make the most of the situation and pacify the yearnings of my inner child to play in the rain.

Home for the Holidays

It has been 19 years since I last celebrated Christmas with my family on Guam. So much time has passed, recalling holiday celebrations from childhood by memory is difficult without visual aids or stories shared by my sister, Melissa. Why, you may ask, has it been so long? That’s a good question. I don’t have any good answers and my excuses are just that – excuses. It’s not that I lack desire or interest in family gatherings, but that poor planning, inflated airfares, work scheduling and the daunting task of finding trustworthy house/dog sitters often hinder off-island trips. Simply put, vacations are expensive and require careful planning. This will be the first year my husband and I will be celebrating the holidays without any family members or friends coming to visit. There has been very little effort in decorating. With Christmas only 10 days away, the task to completing the holiday shopping list is now a priority. While posting the greeting cards this afternoon, memories of bygone holidays began to flood my mind and I couldn’t …

Nothing like a fabulous pair of “kicks!”

#NaBloPoMo: Describe an outfit that makes you feel good. Bette Middler said it best, “Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world.” My Superwoman shoe is a vintage set of white and teal colored Nike Air Icarus. It was given to me as a gift from my grandfather in 1993. They were my very first pair of running shoes and sadly, my only possession kept from the days when my Lolo (grandfather) and I ran every weekend at Ypao Beach, Guam. It was during those morning runs with Lolo that he shared his wisdom and valuable life lessons. Now 20 years old, worn and held together with Shoe Goo, my Nikes are tucked in a special place in my closet.  And on days when I am hit with waves of nostalgia and self-doubt, longing for comfort and advice from my Lolo, I put on my Nikes, stand in front of the mirror and say to myself: “You are enough.”

Noodle Dependency

Daily Prompt: Food for the Soul (and the Stomach): Tell us about your favorite meal, either to eat or to prepare. Does it just taste great, or does it have other associations? Favorite foods come and go, but saimin has been with me from the beginning. When I was a kid, all I wanted to eat was saimin. It was the first food I learned how to make. In fact, Hamura’s was a little less than 10 miles away from my childhood home, so it was inevitable that saimin would become my comfort food. A melamine bowl filled with noodles and a hot yummy broth takes me back to that simpler time, so when one isn’t up to my liking because the dashi is too salty or the noodles are overcooked, I’m understandably disappointed. Saimin reminds me of my childhood, when everyone who meant the world to me was alive and well and lived within a 5-mile radius. Saimin is not meant to taste the same at every restaurant, but it needs to be well done and as perfect as its meant to …

Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music

“Music is powerful: it conjures memories, emotions, and people and things of the past. It’s not only a trigger, but an outlet to express who we are. For this challenge, pick one song and write about it — or use it as inspiration for a post.” It was my first year of boarding school and the neighboring (boy’s) dorm was hosting a dance in their lounge, the first of the season, and I was looking forward to it. Boarding school was a new beginning. To be 14 and moderately independent was liberating. I had moved from Kaua’i, where back then, like Cheers, everybody knew your name, but they also knew your family, acquaintances, recent whereabouts, and if applicable, criminal records. It was a beautifully warm night so I threw on a cute top and shorts and headed out to meet my new classmates and dorm sisters in the lounge before heading over. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in one of the windows and sighed. Gangly, long-limbed, and battling frizzy hair, it would likely not be a night of …

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

Mu Ssam (무쌈), or thinly sliced pickled radish, are often used to wrap meat at Korean barbecue restaurants. I took this picture of bright pink Mu Ssam in Jeju-do, South Korea last year. I grew up wearing a LOT of pink. By the time I was a tween, I had had enough. I experimented wearing different colors and finally settled on black as my new color. Pink represented my childhood and black, the complete polar opposite of the happy, pretty color that had dominated my wardrobe, meant “grown up” and “serious”. Black symbolized rebellion, which was befitting the awkward, acne-inflicted age of puberty. It was the first favorite color that I chose and wasn’t chosen for me. Fast-forward to present time and I am back in love with the color. One might say women my age shouldn’t wear pink, but I don’t really care. Pink reminds me that breast cancer runs in my family while evoking memories of what it was like to be carefree, absent of worries and concerns and entirely too busy with being young. I …

“Are You Filipina?”

October is Filipino Heritage Month and the one month of the year when I reflect upon being part-Filipino. It’s not as if that’s lost on me during the rest of the year; I am reminded every time I look in the mirror, but since I have identified as Native Hawaiian for the better part of my life, the month of cultural introspection certainly allows for much-needed perspective. When recently emigrated people ask if Iʻm Filipino, the conversation usually plays out like this: Stranger: “Are you Filipina?” Me: “Yes.” Stranger: “Ahh! Where is your family from in the Phillippines?” Me: “Ilocos.” Stranger: “I know Ilocos!” then speaking in Tagalog or Ilocano Me:  “I’m sorry. I was born here, but my family is from Ilocos.” Stranger: “So you aren’t from the Phillippines?” Me: “No.” Stranger: “And you don’t speak Filipino?” Me: “No.” Stranger: “Oh.” They are disappointed. For me, I use the term “Filipina” to confirm my ethnic composition, while they often use it to forge a connection with someone who shares a national identity. My grandpa was the last …