Gin and Tonic Bonds

Prior to my recent trip to Toronto, I’ve cut drinking out significantly. However, I knew that when I’m reunited with my friends from Boston, we’re all truly a bunch of drunkards at heart haha. I had stayed at the same hotel as my friend T and his wife since I didn’t really want to stay at a hotel entirely by myself. They had arrived a day after me so I was patiently waiting for them. All of us didn’t really have much plans besides dinner plans together as well as attending our friend’s wedding. I didn’t want to disrupt T and his wife if they had plans to visit family in Toronto. Due to the short time that we all had in Toronto, we decided to just kick it together during the entire trip.

I’ve known T since I was 12. He literally looks the same, acts the same, and he’s a great guy. He was like a big brother to me and I was like his little sister. Of course with age, there was a point we grew distant. Nothing bad happened. We just shifted to different social circles, but even then we still kept in touch to some degree. T got married 3-4 years ago and I wasn’t invited to the wedding. Honestly I was hurt by that, but realistically we weren’t that close so it was understandable as to why I wasn’t invited. Yet a part of me felt like he had a change of heart and didn’t like me. Not sure where it came from but just probably me overthinking shit.

When T and his wife finally arrived to the hotel, we decided to meet up and grab a drink at the hotel bar before dinner. My general go to drink is a gin and tonic with a splash of pineapple juice. T had the same thing in mind…minus the pineapple juice, but he ordered the same thing as me. Then he got hooked on them haha. We all chatted a bit before walking over to the restaurant to meet up with our other friend. As happy as I was to see T, I still felt kinda wary around him. I really don’t know why. As we were out at dinner pretty much drinking away and bar hopping, we still returned to the hotel sober. Not sure how that’s possible but okay haha. T’s wife isn’t much of a drinker and decided to head back to their room while T and I were still ready to go at it more drinks haha.

After T and I immediately rushed to the hotel bar and got settled in, we ordered our “usual” gin and tonic with a splash of pineapple juice. We were just chatting about everything and catching up. It’s been YEARS since T and I have had one on one time together. I truly can’t even recall the last time that it was just us hanging out and no one else. He had vented to me about some things as did I. I told him about the hell that I was living in for the past 2 years and how hard and lonely it was for me. I even told him that I thought he hated me over the years. He reassured me that he didn’t and we just continued chatting about more things. A lot of things that we talked about that night made me feel really close to him again. I definitely was not drunk with all the things that I talked about. Actually, I was close to confessing to him that I like his older brother lol so that was a close call haha. I gave him a quick summary of what has happened to me in the nearly 5 years that I’ve been gone and pretty much pouring out my heart. I was reminded how lonely and heartbroken I truly am, but despite that I still have a great friend by my side.

We ended the night with delicious drinks and great conversation. I paid for the tab and he said “thank you mui mui (little sister)” and that really tugged on them heartstrings. I felt more at ease about a lot of things between T and I. I had left Toronto a day before everyone else to head back to Cali. While I was waiting to board my flight, I had texted T that morning and told him how I really appreciated our heart to heart, how much I truly value our friendship and how he made me feel better knowing that no matter how many years go by, he is still the same great guy that I met nearly 20 years ago. He thanked me and since coming back from that trip, we’ve kept in touch. I still feel so emotional from our bonding session. I don’t know why it’s hitting me so hard still. To my belief, I think I’m just so overwhelmed by the love and support from an old friend. There’s just certain bonds that you have with people that you’ll hold so close to you and the bond that I have with T is just that.

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Lack of Sympathy

I talk to my dad every single day…as crazy as it may sound. We tend to repeat silly jokes and just talk shit and make fun of each other. The conversations can be really funny yet annoying sometimes. Nonetheless, I enjoy our conversations. However, last night he was really upset. His 2nd oldest brother has been in the hospital for quite some time. He isn’t the most healthiest person and had a serious drinking problem where his liver was literally deteriorating on him. He’s had his fair share of coming and going from the hospital.

I learned from my dad last night that his brother has cancer and he only has 2 weeks left to live. I didn’t really know how to react. I felt bad…but not really. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a total heartless, piece of shit. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks for anyone to have something so terrible happen to them especially with their health. Trust me, I know. I’m so disconnected and estranged from my dad’s side of the family that I can’t really feel anything for his brother. I’m pretty estranged with my own “brother” so it is really hard for me to relate to be close with a sibling. I did feel really sad to see my dad upset. He didn’t want to chat any further and as much as I tried to cheer him up, we ended the phone call. It bothered me the rest of the night that I’m not physically there to be there for him and I was hoping that he’ll be okay.

As I was getting ready for bed, my dad had video chatted with me and the first “person” that I see if my “brother’s” dog. She’s so cute and I love her so much. My dad was just sitting there putting her and he seemed in relatively better spirits. I think the doggie therapy helped. I went to bed feeling a bit more at ease seeing how he was doing. I spoke with him today to check up on him. Of course it still weighs heavy on his mind and I don’t blame him. He wants me to come back to see his brother. This is where I’m a piece of shit again. I just ignored what he said and changed the conversation. I’d honestly come back for my dad, but as selfish and as terrible as this is going to make me sound, I do not want to see my relatives. It was pretty traumatic for me when I had dealt with my granduncle’s passing and them literally shitting on me. I cannot put myself through that again and it still impacts me now. I’ll be as supportive as I can for my dad, but I selfishly have boundaries, too.

 

Treat Yourself

The title of this post is pretty self explanatory. I treated myself to a luxury handbag recently…and again today. FML. The one I bought today wasn’t planned. I was only suppose to look, but I got suckered in. I went to the store to see if the item I was looking for was in stock and to try some stuff on. The sales associate that helped me out was really friendly and super funny. Once again, another young sassy gay man to the rescue to help with my boujee needs haha. He first broke the news to me that they don’t have the item and that it most likely will not come back. I told him to stop shattering my dreams lol. He continued to do some searching around and thankfully found it. I was pretty surprised because I was ready to leave empty handed. He found the item at another store and will have it shipped to the store that I was at. Basically a similar situation from my recent boujee purchase. Major deja vu.

I was pretty excited for this purchase and this will be my LAST boujee purchase for now. I continued browsing around the store, hanging out with the sales associate and we quickly became friends. I think building a friendship with him helped me a bit with him finding the item for me because he didn’t really have to try haha. I didn’t want to loiter the store any longer and decided to say goodbye. He gave me a big hug and I think he was pretty sad that I leaving since we were entertaining each other haha. But I look forward to picking up my purchase and seeing my new friend again.

Afterwards, I made way to the book store and left with two books in hand. I tend to always buy one design/work related book and one non-work related book to read. It’s a good balance for my mind. Pretty excited about my new books. I might start one of them tonight, but we shall see. I basically treated myself all day and I don’t feel bad about that, especially with another boujee purchase. I’d honestly rather buy the item myself than to have anyone else buy these things for me, even if it was a significant other. It’s a huge sense of accomplishment with how hard I work to earn these items and how independent I am. I’m not all that materialistic, but I don’t need anyone to spoil me except for myself. It just feels a million times more rewarding doing these things for myself. I went through hell and back for the past 2 years so I’m making up for lost times to some degree haha. Plus I kind of see it as spoiling myself as an early countdown kick off to my birthday as I count down to 30. Cringes…

Seattle Hospitality

I just got back last night from spending the week in Seattle. I had a week off from work due to company shut down. I didn’t want to stay at home and do nothing so I decided to spend a whole week in Seattle. Why not? It was perfect starting off my Christmas morning seeing snow. While riding the light rail to my hotel, I felt like a giddy child staring aimlessly out the window and being so fascinated by seeing snow. I haven’t seen a white Christmas in years so it was actually quite refreshing. I miss the cold weather. Anyways, my Christmas wasn’t all that eventful. Literally slept, ordered room service, used the gym at the hotel and took advantage of the hot tub and sauna. That was about it. A very peaceful evening.

Spent most of my trip reading, eating yummy food at both new and local favorite spots, and that was basically it. There was one night I had decided to watch ‘the Last Jedi’ since ‘the Force Awakens’ was on tv the night before. It was alright, but I still enjoyed it. Another night I decided to do my must have omakase dinner at Sushi Kashiba in hopes to be served my Shiro. Nope, that was a fail. However, I met some fun people while waiting in line. I had gone to a drag queen show while I was in town. I was going to see it in SF but opted to watch it in Seattle instead. Per usual I had an amazing time. Met some nice people along with a very sassy gay Venezuelan man lol. He was pretty funny yet quite bitchy. I loved it though. We sat pretty close to each other and he was one of those people that talked a lot of shit during the show, which was actually not annoying. Towards the end he came over to me and gave me a big hug, kissed me on both cheeks…and then my neck. I was like “okay, okay, keep it in your pants man” lol. I’m pretty sure he was drunk. We exchanged goodbye greetings and then he grabbed my face and kissed my lips. Guess I got my early NYE’s kiss in…from him. Huh…..? lol. The lady that sat next to me was concerned if I was in any harm since he saw him basically physically being all over me and I reassured her that we had met and chatted earlier before the show started lol. The shit that happens to me…SMH!

On NYE I didn’t really do much since a lot of places were closed or closing early. The night before I had walked into Nordstrom since I was bored and I didn’t want to go back to the hotel just yet. I had met a girl that worked at the Gucci boutique since I wanted to look at something and no I didn’t buy anything. But the girl and I chatted for awhile. She was super friendly and chill. She had asked how long I was in town until and we exchanged numbers so we can hang out before the end of my trip. So during the day of NYE, I was just once again walking around, eating good food, and finally made it to Kerry Park. It’s always been on my list to check out but whenever I’ve been in town, it’s raining or I don’t have time to go. But it was absolutely beautiful at sunset. I brought my camera and took some pictures of the beautiful view. I met some fobby Korean girls who were pretty nice but a wee bit annoying. There was a major language barrier between us but they were friendly. They kept asking me to hang out and I reworded it in literally 8 different ways of saying no lol. I just wasn’t in the mood to socialize and I was in the mood to have some night time photography fun but damn were they a buzz kill. I left a few minutes after they finally left me alone and at this point I really needed a drink…

My plan was to just chill at the bar and order some drinks and food…and literally just chill to kill time haha. Right when I got settled in at the bar, the girl from Gucci hit me up to see what I was up to. I told her that her and her boyfriend can come by since I wasn’t doing anything and I had just arrived to the restaurant. They came by and everything felt so organic as if we’ve known each other which was refreshing. It wasn’t like I had to put in a lot of effort to get to know new people. They had no plans for NYE and from there we just winged it. I checked out their sweet apartment with an AMAZING view of the Seattle skyline. It persuaded me more to really move haha. Afterwards we decided to go salsa dancing. They’ve danced many times whereas myself, I’ve never tried salsa dancing and I’d like to think that I have pretty bad coordination haha. I didn’t mind trying something new and different. Better than sitting in my hotel room by myself, right? They were really patient with me teaching the basic steps and then P (C’s boyfriend) took my hand and made me dance haha. I was quite nervous because I didn’t want to step on his feet or bored either of them with having to each me. I eventually got the hang of it and had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed merengue dance, however my calves were burning haha. It was fun dancing and getting twirled around. P and I ended up twirling each other a bit too much that we got too dizzy haha. Right before countdown, we got our rounds of champagne ready and came 2018.

Overall, this trip to Seattle was hands down one of my favorite trips ever. I felt a strong hospitality in Seattle and I really never ever felt lonely at all. I really enjoyed spending New Year’s Day in Seattle before coming back to Cali. It was very bittersweet. I miss it a lot. Moving isn’t happening any time soon, but Seattle is my happy place to escape to when I can and I know that I’m always going to have a great time there. I wouldn’t have ended 2017 in any other way. 🙂

 

Boujee Bug is Back

I’ve been eyeing some luxury goods over the past couple of months. Everyone likes nice things. My definition of “nice things” can range from stationary items, a good meal or a handbag. I had went to try on this one handbag after browsing at it online so much. I needed to see it in person and just to be sure if it was worth the money. It’s still quite pricey in my opinion but still worth it. I was really close to purchasing it that day but I walked away so I could think about it some more.

The night before I received good news about my health, I told myself that if my results came back awesome then I will reward myself with this bag and it will also be an early birthday gift to myself. I prefer to buy these “nice things” for myself than for anyone else to buy it for me. I’d feel terrible for anyone to spend that kind of money on me. Plus, as dumb as this may sound, this is like a “trophy” for my hard work both with my health and career. I deserve it.

Later that day after my doctor’s appointment, I was set on going to the store to pick it up. However, I didn’t want to waste my time by going so I called to make sure that this item was in stock. The woman at the store told me yes and I was thrilled. I even got all dressed up to go pick this bag up. I know, I know. It sounds stupid haha. I was clearly in a really good mood. Off I went to go get this bag and of course when I arrived at the store they were really busy. I found myself a good sales associate and oddly when it comes to luxury goods, I always end up with a young gay man with a lot of sass haha. Not like it’s a bad thing, but just a observation. He was really nice and helpful. Unfortunately he had to shatter my dreams that day and told me that the bag was sold out. I was like “NOOO!!!!” lol.

I left the store quite disappointed but I called the store back again and got in touch with that sales associate because clearly I was determined to get this handbag. I know, I know…”girl, it’s just a bag”. Trust me, I know. If it’s something that I have my mind set, I usually get it or get something done. While on my way back home, I heard back from my sales associate and he told me that he found the bag at another store. I was like “FUCK. YES!” lol. He took down my information and ordered the bag for me. Now I must patiently wait for it to arrive and I will head back to the store to inspect the bag myself for pick up.

No more boujee purchases after this. Honestly I really don’t own many handbags and at most it’s 5. So the fact that I can remember all of my bags is a good thing. When it comes to buying luxury goods, I see it as an investment bag that will last me over 10 years or so. Also, I make sure the bag is pretty versatile so I really get my money’s worth. I’m pretty excited for this purchase though…once again, yes I know it sounds dumb haha. 🙂

Health Progress

I had a follow up doctor’s appointment yesterday. Per usual I was pretty nervous and anxious for what my blood results will reveal. The past week I slept like total shit because I was that anxious. I kept overthinking a lot of things and wondering if I’ll be on less or more medicine. It’s been 6 months since I’ve been on a lot of medicine along with a few other things. Having to wake up to this new routine and having it be my new normal made me unhappy, but it was an eye opener. I was starting to have more days where I woke up feeling frustrated because I was on this set routine where I had to take my medicine and eat certain meals, etc. I would set alarms on my FitBit to remind me of when to take my medicine, when to eat, etc. I fucking hated it, but I know it was to get me better again. I was getting to the point where I just wanted to say “fuck it”. It was really getting to me and all I wanted was good news.

And good news came. My doctor shared with me of my results and thankfully I am off of one medication and I don’t have to do another thing anymore. FUCK YES! I’m down to 2 medication now and before it was 3. One that I will take for the rest of my life, and hopefully I will be off of the other one next. I’ve busted my ass really hard at the gym and changing my eating habits to get the results that I wanted to get. I knew that I worked so hard, but in the back of my mind I was scared that what if the results came back with something bad. It’s hard not to think about anything bad when it comes to doctors and your health.

Last night I slept well and more at ease again. Right now I feel good and I’m happy with the progress of my health. It was definitely great news to kick off this holiday break and to start off the upcoming new year.

Hope

As my new manager is still transitioning into his role, he’s recently asked for anonymous feedback from my team and I. There was absolutely no way for it to be anonymous with the feedback that I gave him since it talked a lot about being a remote employee. Plus, the tone gave it away haha. He’s taken the feedback into serious considerate and has immediately acted on it. He’s also started scheduling one on one meetings with the team, which is great. I had my first 1:1 with him yesterday and I really wasn’t sure what he wanted to talk about. All it really said in the meeting invite was to chat, bitch, and to get to know each other.

And at 1:30pm I dialed in and immediately noticed that my boss was on video conferencing, which was another bit of feedback I gave. I am strongly encouraging video conferencing because myself as well as other remote employees don’t want to just be another voice on the phone. Plus, it’s to build a strong presence and productivity level. There he was, the face I had seen 2 months ago in Colorado…and there I was…sitting in my workout clothes with a bare face. We immediately got right into discussing the feedback that I gave him and he thanked for my honesty. After meeting me once, he’s picked up right away how blunt I am and I don’t hold back, which is good because I wasn’t going to try to dance around that shit. I didn’t necessarily roast him in the feedback as he requested, but he liked how I put him in check. I had mentioned about him micromanaging me and how he needs to simply back off and have some more trust in me. I totally understood and knew that he would micromanage me since he doesn’t know me and vice versa. It’s still quite a learning curve for both of us in how we work both independently and together.

He kept asking me who I am and where do I see myself in the next 6 months, 5 years, etc. I told him that I’m just a really simple, straight forward person that is very passionate about what I do. I don’t aspire to be a manager because I don’t want that responsibility. However, I see myself as a strong influencer and leader where I can help guide my team and educate folks within (or outside) the organization. I constantly want to grow and learn which really won’t change in the next 6 months or 5 years. In this industry, it is constantly evolving and you have to be able to keep up and adapt or else you’re screwed. There’s really no time to kick your feet back and be comfortable.

I spoke to him passionately about how I am constantly reading, engaging with folks in the community and figuring out solutions to solve the many issues that we have at this organization. I’ve told him how hard it’s been on me and how I’ve sat at my desk many times being so upset because I care so deeply and I’m frustrated to the core that I can’t solve the problems and fix anything. He heard me loud and clear. He told me how he sees my passionate and all and simply reminded me to not give up any hope in this process. That literally almost made me cry during the video conference. I was very raw with my thoughts and emotions and I’m glad he saw that. I told him I want some recognition for how hard I’m trying since it’s not like he sees me on a daily basis or anything. I showed him the notes I’ve taken, the books I’ve read, mentioned of discussions, etc. He totally gets it which I really appreciated. He actually just finished reading a book that I had just finished reading as well so we bonded through that.

He wants to have 2 1:1’s a week with me to keep the momentum of these discussions going. He told me how the 2 other guys on my team gets UX, but don’t have the passion like I do. He reassured me that he has my back and told me again to not lose hope in what I’m trying to accomplish. It was great to be supported and to have my voice heard. He told me that I should hold him accountable for some of the feedback as well and trust and believe, I have no problem to put his ass in check again…and vice versa. Our 30 minute scheduled 1:1 lasted for over an hour. It was almost a therapy session for not just myself, but for the both of us. The next few 1:1’s will be more about getting to know each other, which I’m cool with. I’ve been really slammed with work and it’s been really stressful for me. To have this discussion right before this work week ends and the company shutdown kicks off, it was definitely good timing. I can start off my vacation time on even better terms with my boss and to be reassured once again that I am not alone.