home, sweet home

Everything goes back to normal here, at least it looks like it. 

People are out on the street again, some kids are playing around, some people are running with earphones in, some are waiting at bus station, some are riding bicycles, some are delivering food or other packages……

But every single of them is wearing a mask, even including the baby in the stroller. And they don’t interact with each other but keep distance.

Cars were driven on streets again, public transportations were back as well. Restaurants, supermarkets, malls were reopened. Schools are planning to reopen soon. Even domestic travel has been promoted now.

But no matter what place it is opened, there will be a gigantic obvious sign hanging on the door says “STERILIZED TODAY”, and there will also have a sign right next to it that says “please wait here for the health check.”

PC: timgsa.baidu.com

Disease Prevention Center developed the “Health QR code” to represent the users’ health status at the beginning of February. By now, literally everyone has their own code in their mobile phone, at least in the city where I’m living.

The code has three different colors: green, yellow, and red. Every single place requests to have a GREEN code for entering or leaving. The RED code holder is requested for self-imposed quarantine at home or mass quarantine for 14 days in a row, and shall be eligible to have a GREEN code when he/she has reported himself/herself in normal condition for the past 14 days.

The first free morning after I got out of mass quarantine, my health code didn’t turn into green from red. I had difficulty returning home, the security guard wouldn’t let me enter the community where I live after knowing that I didn’t have the correct color code. 

I thought I don’t need to take my temperature twice a day after quarantine, but it turned out that my temperature is taken about ten times a day now.

Wherever I enter, there will always be someone stop me to take my temperature first and then ask to check my health code.

PC: timgsa.baidu.com

One thing really baffled me: I don’t get it why some people slightly backed off and kept distance from me after they heard I am just released from quarantine. Although I also told them that took two testings, and both of them were negative.

I wrote a blog post about racism after virus two months ago, and now I felt a bit of discrimination in my own country. I think it originated from fear, and I don’t know what I can do about it. 

minty

By the river with the low hanging cypress trees and the strong rapids, down by the field, she was sleeping, 

envisioning God,

envisioning freedom, 

envisioning life. 

But reality woke her from what she knew to be a dream, and not her future. 

she was neglected, hurt, defined by the scar on her forehead. 

she was abused for the color of her skin

she was owned.

she was cheated by the world, just like each of her brothers and her sisters.

photo credit: phoebewahl.tumblr.com

she was alone. 

she waited for an answer, an answer that could only come from liberty or from death. 

so minty ran. 

minty ran far,

one-hundred miles far following the North Star that shown bright in the sky.

when she was lost, He guided her to the river that took her home, 

the river that took her away from the heat of hatred and grimness

the river that washed over her face, cleaning her from the dirt of her “masters.”

in thirty-days time, she felt 

the warmth of acceptance, 

the warmth of respect. 

she stand there,

with the right of her freedom in her grasp,

the sun reflected in her tear-filled eyes. 

Minty felt the freedom embrace her,

she felt her brothers and sisters around her,

she felt the comfort of a home.

comfort food

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

From the smell of fresh baked goods always circulating the house to the comfort of a warm bed, the idea of home sparks warmth and happiness, and I have been so lucky to consider my home in that way.

The white door that creeks and the roof that leaks is where I find home currently, but I have a vision of where I want to be or see myself once I have finished growing up.  

Being a mix of all cultures, the Philippines in itself represents me. Living in a higaonon hut on one of the several islands, I would devour salty chicken adobo and lumpia.

Settling into my home, I would write in my journal about the culture that I experienced that day while looking out from my hut into the orange sunset reflecting off the ocean. 

With beams of warm colors bouncing off the water, I would feel my late grandmother and her mother, wrapping their arms around me with their soft, delicate arms. Eventually, I will feel a sense of comfort and understanding of my surrounding culture.

Living the simple life and knowing my roots, I would sense closure and be able to flee to my new home in San Fransisco, California. 

Even though I was not born there, my roots are in California and more specifically, San Francisco. Like my little Filipino grandmother, I would come from the Philippines and go to the Golden City.

My fate would bring me to the perfect two bedrooms and bathroom apartment on the seventh floor having an auburn red door. Decorated with poems written by my father, my apartment would have the smell of essential oils embedded into the walls, specifically lavender representing my mother’s spirituality.

This would be my sanctuary where tears would be shed, laughs would explode, and love would be felt. 

The Mission district, where my brother was born, would give light to the art forward theme that I created in all the rooms but made sure that every area had its own distinctive flair.

Wanting to explore more about my culture and ancestors, I would travel to the plains of Africa. Settling down in Nairobi, Kenya, where the lifestyle is filled with the history of the Bantu people and the Swahili language, my home would be in a Kikuyu house with no rooms.

Compared to my other homes, I would be connected with the earth where elephants and antelopes have carried their children on their migratory voyage.

This home would give me insight to my African heritage before Europeans came into their territory, before slavery, and before segregation. Instead of learning about the hardships of my culture, I will learn about the rich tradition that the country brings. 

I have always been a homebody. I find extreme comfort with the idea of my home and enjoy its atmosphere. I am excited to see where my future home may be.

photo credit: pinterest.com

homecoming…

After three months wandering around back home, we went back to campus for a brand new school year. 

After more than one year recovering from the Thomas fire, we finally had an all-school camping trip in the first week.

After the protracted and exhausting travel from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the busy packing unpacking and packing back, putting everything in order, meeting new people, I got so tired but still tried to make myself look energetic.

An opportunity came up, a chance I could escape from all of this. 

Then I was on the bus with my day pack which had my lunch sandwich in it sitting beside me, my huge camping bag with a sleeping pad, bag, clothes and almost everything I need sitting under me in the luggage hold. 

3 days without my phone, what a challenge. My phone became a part of me, like an external organ, it stayed with me every single moment during the summertime. 

“I will be fine,” I kept telling myself before we departed. 

But as it turned out, I was really more than fine without it. I really enjoyed the time spent with my friends. We played card games, went to the tide pools, played volleyball on the beach, watched the sunset, ate s’ mores, brushed our teeth in the dark and so on. 

These days, with no phone, feeling isolated from the rest of the world, but closer to what is really around me. 

photo credit: trailhead.gsnorcal.org

Wanderlust

I want to study abroad.

I don’t mean in the literal sense of going with a program affiliated with my college. Not for a set period of time with a specific set of courses.

I want to get on a plane and leave. Travel to beautiful destinations around the world I decide to go to right before I get there. I want to study the ancient artwork in museums and the architecture of the untouched, historical buildings. I want to go to small concert venues and listen to local music, but also try all the food the country has to offer without being a picky eater.

I want to meet the people who live there and leave being friends with them or at least leave knowing a part of their story even if I never see them again.

There’s a feeling called sonder: a sudden realization that each passerby has a life as vivid as your own with their own experiences, quirks, and interests. I don’t want to know they have them; I want to live them.

I want to be a tourist in the streets someone has grown up in their whole life, but, soon, find myself a local even only for a couple nights. I want to go to a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I may never return to, but is someone’s favorite place to go every night. I’ll learn a few words in every language of the countries I visit, a language that might be someone’s only language that I now have a very small understanding of.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

When I went to Prague and Vienna over spring break, my favorite part was the free time in the cities. Though we were always in the tourist areas, I sometimes caught a glimpse of what life was like for the people who actually lived there every time I walked into an ice cream shop or passed someone on the streets heading to work.

This world is so big. There’s so many countries to explore and I don’t know if I’ll even get close to covering half of it, but it’s also so small. It’s a ten hour plane ride across the Atlantic and a simple text message to talk to someone across the globe. It’s both incredible and horrifying, but I can’t wait to explore it all.

This Blog was an English Assignment.

“At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.”  (Thoreau) Write a description of your “home” or your many “homes.”  You may write about the home you have or the home you dream of having in your future.

Photo Credit: afterorangecounty.com

I’ve lived in one house for my entire life, nestled in between two mountain peaks that form the Ojai valley. There are only seven houses on my street, but it was an entire world to explore for my neighbors and me when we were five. We used to walk down to the end of the street and admire the sunset illuminating the overgrown grass and painted white fences. Home, to me, is the smell of the pepper trees that lined the end of the road, forming a green and red arch, as if to welcome me to the end of the cul-de-sac. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days, when time passed so much slower, when it felt like summer all year long.

For as long as I can remember, the ocean is where I find peace. I can’t exactly describe why, but Solimar Beach is a magical place. Home, to me, is poking my toe in the center of a sea anemone, giggling as it squirts water back at me, as its turquoise and bright green tentacles stick to my skin. Home is my dad lifting me up onto his shoulders, then scouring the tidepools, searching for different creatures. As we wade further out into the shallow water, he teaches me about the tides, then we stop for a while to watch the sun sink below the horizon. Solimar is the place I will always want to return to for the rest of my life.

I like to think that, someday, I will make a home everywhere. I’ll sit on the balcony of my tiny apartment in Madrid or Barcelona, peering through my neighbors’ laundry, hung up to dry on clothes lines, down at the bustling city below. I’ll enjoy the morning sun as I sip coffee with condensed milk – a flavor that I despise now, but I think, someday, I’ll come to enjoy. I will smile, knowing that I’m there alone. I’m not sure how long I will be there for, probably not more than a year. After that, I’ll move on to somewhere new. I’ll live in a rainy forest along the Oregon coast, then I’ll go work at a school in Argentina or Chile. I’ll work on a ranch in Mexico, outside of a small fishing town. I don’t really care where I go; I just want to see the world.

It is true that home is where the heart is, but my heart is everywhere, I think. Growing up in a tiny town has made me appreciate the things that are routine. I love the fact that I could probably draw a map of my hometown purely from memory. It’s incredibly comforting to know a place so well that it becomes a part of you. But it has also instilled in me a desire to leave what is comfortable, to explore and to experience every place, culture, and way of life that is different from mine. A home is a place where you can come back to time and time again, and know that you belong, where you would go to without any hesitation. I’m lucky to have places like these.

Bucketlist

There’s so many things to do when life is so short, but here’s a list of thirty things I want to do at some point in my life.

  1. Study abroad.
  2. Go train-hopping through Europe.
  3. Sing on stage during “Time Bomb” with All Time Low.
  4. Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
  5. Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef.
  6. Cliff dive.
  7. Go skydiving.
  8. Write a song.
  9. Solve a mystery.
  10. Go to a college football game.
  11. See Phantom of the Opera.
  12. Get my driver’s license.
  13. Jump four feet on a horse.
  14. Start a meme.
  15. Go to Tomorrowland/Nocturnal Wonderland.
  16. Go on an African Safari.
  17. Get a tattoo.
  18. Fall in love.
  19. Graduate from law school.
  20. Go down a black diamond slope snowboarding (successfully).
  21. Go to a masquerade ball.
  22. Live in New York City.
  23. Learn a third language.
  24. Go on a road trip across the country.
  25. Sit on someone’s shoulders during a concert.
  26. Become flexible.
  27. Learn how to ice skate.
  28. Get a dog.
  29. Write a book.
  30. Do karaoke in public.

Photo Credit: dazesummit.com