Dad turns 60!

Dad turns 60!

My dad turned 60!! On Sunday, our church family surprised him with lunch, cake, random singing, and lots of fun and hilarious games. It was really nice to see him being celebrated by such a loving community. They even projected a really sweet video compilation from many other church members who had moved to other countries, wishing my dad a happy birthday and recounting their memories together. On Monday, Ian and I brought more cake and food over for dinner and enjoyed quality time with my dad and mom at their home. We had a great time talking stories about all the crazy things they did while growing up in the Philippines! I’m so glad I finally get to spend more time with them… I am feeling exceptionally blessed that our family can still find our health and safety intact, and that we are surrounded by love and warmth.

He’s nacho average dad. He’s got all the qualicheese that make him the best dad in the world, and taco bout 60 – he just gets cheddar with age! I’m so blessed with such a grate dad! Love you, and happy birthday🎂

Settling, social media, and snaps

Settling, social media, and snaps

Yay, my mail came in! Just got my bamboo lap desk that I ordered from Amazon, and I am loving it. Now I can comfortably use my laptop in bed, even while lying down. Still waiting on my memory foam pillow chair which will soon upgrade (downgrade?) my WFH setup to be the comfiest it’s been all quarantine.

I’m currently lying in bed airdropping my favorite snaps from this week on my iPhone. I took a bunch of photos on Three, but the raw files are still in my Lightroom waiting to get edited.

For now, an unrelated serious but not too serious soliloquy…


Am I “settling” because I don’t—at this present moment—feel super career driven or like I want to throw all my efforts into something?

I ponder this to myself whenever I see friends and strangers posting their squares of accomplishments on instagram. Good for them, I think, as I double tap and continue my scrolling habits, not thinking much else about it until later when the comparison game plays on in my mind, and I wonder if I’m not living up to whatever goals I allow society to place on me?

On the one hand, my own instagram grid is full of curated images that show only the best sides of my life–salty, sunny, and happy, I guess.

Not I guess like I’m lying about being happy, but I guess because I too am putting out what I believe others want to see from me. Come to think of it, a friend or stranger scrolling on their phones might also think these same “grass is greener on the other side” thoughts when they come across my photo…

Thank goodness that I have a decently healthy relationship with social media. I’ve seen how it affects some people who only see surface level obsessed with trends, filters, photoshopped faces, and unhealthy body image, and it’s so unfortunate.

On the other hand, I could be doing more. Surely, there’s always something bigger, brighter, better out there that I could aspire to do. It’s human nature to never be fully satisfied, no? And yet, life at home for me, amidst this global pandemic, is everything I want and need right now. I don’t feel like I need to do anything more, but simply be.

I don’t remember if I wrote this in a previous blog post but I recently came across this quote by the Dalai Lama that said:

“We are human beings, not human doings. Stop doing, and just be.”

That perfectly sums up my conclusion to the earlier thoughts on settling. I’m not “settling” because I do have other dreams and goals for the future, even though I’m not actively working on it right now. I’m reading Swell by Captain Liz Clark and feeling fueled by wanderlust to buy a boat (unlikely as it is), and I still have dreams to make it big one day with a creative pursuit even though I have no idea what and how…

On that note, I’m certainly content with my now. I must reiterate that I love my life, and I am sincerely happy with where I’m at at this stage of my life. There’s more to explore out there, and I’m thrilled for what’s to come as I rest and relish in this moment of waiting. As for what’s next, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed, and praying to God for a propitious journey.


Hope you’re safe, warm, and well friends and strangers of the interwebs!

Oh and here are some photos from a few days ago when I actually left home, feeling safe in the fact that we still have no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID, and joined Gabby for her work day location scouting with Land Grant for photos for their project proposal.

The day was so hot and humid that even the weather service was reporting higher than usual temps. Our first location was at an agro-forestry farmland somewhere in the A`asu mountain. I left my phone in the car, so photos from my camera to come later.

Thankfully, the next location was Nu`uuli waterfall.

My skin drank in the delicious light mist all around us from sparkling streams as we made the short hike to the first pool.

Gabby and Deej discussed photo concepts and tested angles, while I sat on the large boulder asking Tony, a forestry employee at the Land Grant, to identify all the trees around us. He knew them all by common and scientific names, and I was impressed and wanted him to write it all down in a guide book so I could recall their names later on.

I wished we could have stayed longer but Deej and Tony had a meeting they were late for, and since we carpooled, they were our ride back. We snapped some photos and started the jaunt back.

Quarantine Diaries: Sun and salt

Quarantine Diaries: Sun and salt

Quarantine photo diary: From 03.15.2020

Ian and I wanted to get out of the house and move our bodies. The tide was at high noon, so I lathered up in reef safe sunscreen and put on a large hat for extra SPF. Ian picked up our paddle boards, and we head to the mostly empty beach.

We had to check first. We wouldn’t have gone if there were lots of people around… social distancing at work.

After much excitement and barking, we decided to let Yodi come with us. It was her first swim in about a month! She has just a few more days to go to complete her heart worm medication before we can start re-introducing her to higher levels of activity. She was a total champ, and only used moderate energy when she jumped in the water for a swim. She seemed to know that she wasn’t supposed to be swimming too much too hard, so she got back on the board after a few minutes at a time. She looked so happy!

Last week, we had record setting hot temperatures in American Samoa… 92 degrees. The king tides (meaning higher high tides and lower low tides) also occurred at the same time. The reef flat was exposed to the scorching midday sun so I was nervous to see how the coral looked when we jumped in to cool off. Thankfully, it didn’t look too bad! There was definitely some bleaching in the shallower flats, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed they stay resilient for the rest of the summer.

What are you doing for your quarantine weekends?