on Happy Birthdays

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I’m officially 28 years old.  My phone is currently dead because my 9th charger since having this phone decided to die on me.  I’m sorta complaining, but kinda not because it’s one less distraction.  Granted, I’m on a desktop computer with access to almost everything that was on my phone so.. there’s that.

I have moved states, started a new job with a nonprofit organization, finally let someone else regularly watch my son and have been OK with it mentally, and lost 15 pounds.  But I did eat some pizza today, and for the last few days I’ve been a bit too friendly with bad carbs so I probably gained some weight back.  I’m not stressing about it.

Birthdays don’t really change anything.  It is just another day, and nothing changes if nothing changes.  But I like even numbers better, and SURELY 28 couldn’t be worse than my 27th year of life.

I know I always write about writing more, but I’m going to write more.  I’m not sure about what exactly, but I’ll figure out what I want to do with this site.  I don’t have the heart to get rid of it anyway.  So.. happy birthday to me!

 

On Locks, Love, and Paris

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On a whim I decided to refresh the look of my blog to something simple. I spent days on my last blog layout, and on this– I think it took about 30 minutes at most and aside from changing the CSS to better colors which I’ll probably do after I post this, I really like how this layout is a million times simpler. This photo in the side bar from my trip last year in Malta of a bridge with a ton of locks on it. It’s quite romantic, isn’t it? It almost makes up for the fact that I missed an opportunity to go to Paris last summer and witness the real thing– that’s now been taken down. But not really because I will always be living with that regret for not just getting on that train to Paris from London.

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I still want to visit Paris and it may or may not be my next international trip. It’s funny how taking down those love locks kind of tainted Paris for me. It wasn’t the only reason I wanted to visit, but now I’m kind of looking at the place with a twisted face. Not going to lie. It’s a tiny thing, a very minuscule detail in a city filled with so much more. However, I feel like a little magic is gone, and I know that’s absolutely ridiculous. I get it. But I wonder if things like this translate in how I look at people I date.

My gut answer is yes.

It’s interesting how I hate almost every relationship I’ve been in*, yet I over romanticize relationships I’ve never been in and probably never will be in. And a lot of it is that I tend to have my head in clouds and dream a lot about possibilities and idealism, because it’s much better than the shitshow that was my dating life. Speaking of over romanticizing things, that’s probably why I’ve always wanted to go to Paris.

My friend G keeps trying to convince me to put myself out there, but I told him I’d rather not for several reasons, one of them being I think my judgement of men is just off right now. And by now, I really mean always because I have this conundrum when it comes to guys– I’ll dismiss a guy really early about something, and no it’s not that he likes the horribly awful movie Jennifer’s Body or something ridiculous like that, although I’d seriously question his cinematic taste. It’s more situational. For example, you ask me to the movies for a first date and don’t have enough money to cover both tickets, type of situation because to me it translates to this guy being unprepared in other areas of his life. And yes, this has happened to me, ladies and gentlemen. So I’ll dismiss guys for things like that, but occasionally, I’ll say to myself, maybe I’m being harsh and should be more open. So I’ll date a guy, dismissing vital red flags and then in the end I am left wondering “WTF just happened to me and how did I ever let that person into my life?”

Happens every time, y’all.

I’ll be what I think is overly harsh towards men to the point where I feel like I should be more open for the sake of being open, but in actuality I’m being naive and just end up setting myself up for failure. I think sometimes I’m nitpicking and trying to find the perfect person, but in actuality I’m not really like that.

Upon having an unhealthy amount of time to think about these kinds of things lately, I realize that as I’ve reflected on some experiences, I really start actually listening to my gut (not my heart or my head), even if at first it seems like I’m being harsh and it doesn’t make sense– I’m just going to go with it. I don’t have to explain myself anymore to people.

What does any of that have to do with Paris and the love locks?

I’m glad you asked.

While I think I shouldn’t dismiss the place so easily, I should accept the fact that the appeal it once had isn’t there. Whether it has to do with those locks or something else, but my gut says I’d be better satisfied visiting another place for my next trip. I should run with that thought instead of trying to convince myself of something I thought I had wanted initially, I should accept what my gut is telling me. Does that make sense? Nah? Yea? I don’t know, but we’re going somewhere.

* And if you’re ever wondering, how can I talk so candidly and horribly about guys I date? It’s because I don’t expect any guy I’ve ever dated or been in a relationship with to be reading this blog. If they do, then they should feel VERY weird and ask themselves what they’re doing here. Like, what are you doing here bruh? Go home.

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But seriously, now that I think of it, maybe I’ll just go to Berlin instead of Paris. It’s not as rosy in Paris as I once thought anyway.

On Transitioning in Your 20s

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You know when you’re at that point in your 20s where things just.. change. It’s not even a sudden one, it’s very gradual and one day you catch yourself having an argument in your head about getting up to go out with your friends or staying in and watching Netflix in your yoga pants. Sure some nights you even convince yourself that you haven’t lost “it” and can still hang like you did when you were 21. You throw on some heels that hurt your toes but you’re going to drink soon so it won’t matter because you won’t feel your toes soon enough. You slip on a dress that you know you can’t eat any bad carbs while wearing it because it shows everything– you’ll save that “eating” dress for another night. Then you wake up the next morning, hungover, but it’s a different kind of hangover. A hangover so different you are acutely aware of your age. Things are aching that never ached before and you just can’t anymore. You can not. At least not for another 2 months–I have a slow recovery rate. You’re so hungover that you can barely muster up the energy to forage around town for greasy hangover food.

Of course you find that energy because– food, hello.

Sometimes my mind starts wandering back to those days in my early 20s (as if it was so long ago). A weekend was considered wasted in my eyes if I didn’t go out and the FOMO (fear of missing out) was so real, and now just the thought of that is laughable. Just thinking about when I’d go out back to back nights on a weekend seems like.. a painful task.

But this change in my 20s isn’t just in relevance to going out, it extends to other acivities like working out. Things ache that have never ached before, I have to stretch now.. a lot.. and not just a short fake stretch, a real intense, focus-on-your-breathing stretch. I can’t just DO a cartwheel anymore, I have to stretch everything, and then do it. Then stretch again after, because– ouch. This probably doesn’t apply to you if you regularly do cartwheels, but have you done a cartwheel lately? Try it and see what I mean.

Long gone are the days where I get excited about buying new clothes. You know what I want? I still have my eyeball on a KitchenAid stand mixer in Aqua Sky. Talk about grown folks shit. I barely even bake. But I bet I’d bake more if I had one. Which is probably a bad thing because, another thing about being in my late 20s officially is that I can’t eat the same way. I just can’t eat pizza all day, although I can try, but some days I legit crave a salad. My body will scream at me to eat veggies. It’s weird, but it happens more often than not now.

I mean honestly, just a lot has changed. Last week I got some bananas, and my mother also brought home bananas the same day and sadly–not all of them were used before they turned brown. But you know what I did? I used those brown bananas and made banana nut bread. If that doesn’t say I’ma responsible, resourceful adult then I really don’t know what does, y’all.

On Christmastime and My First (and only) 10K Race

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November didn’t have too many big moments. Or maybe nothing in November really could compare to meeting David Beckham, because let’s be honest that was really the denouement of my year life.

I made my visit outside of London, and it was much needed downtime, because I needed to be in more peaceful surroundings. An old friend introduced me to someone (Joe) that lived in Oxford, so I made a day trip there. I took a bus to Oxford and just enjoyed the quiet ride and beautiful scenery along the way. Joe was a great tour guide, I couldn’t tell you everything we saw but I remember feeling at ease internally out in a serene atmosphere, something I wasn’t getting at the time in London. And it gave me a chance to eat and drink in a new setting, which to be honest– that’s always what I’m looking forward to when I go someplace new anyway. Priorities.

Christmas time–this was one of my favorite memories of my time in London. I spent I think about a week squatting at my friend Richelle’s flat and enjoying the holiday with her family. Weeks before Christmas, she had randomly said to me that there were a group of people who were raising money for victims of the hurricane that hit the Philippines that year by running a 10K through central London on Christmas morning– and in case you didn’t know this about me, hey I’m Lyka, and I’m half Filipina and half of my family lives in the Philippines. So I instantly agreed, because I love a good cause. Mind you, I haven’t ran that far in about 4.5 years, and at the time, my workouts were primarily based lifting and lowering weights so… I wasn’t exactly in primed for running at the time. I ran approximately 4 times in preparation for that 10K, and not a single one of those runs was a 10K run. I do not advise this. To be fair, I was in arguably the best shape ever, you could literally bounce a quarter off my butt. I don’t know if that really has anything to do with anything, but you’re welcome for the visual. I just really wasn’t into cardio at the moment, especially running.

But I digress– Christmas morning rolled around and I remember Richelle and I getting ready for the race. We had porridge/oatmeal with dried fruits that day. I remember because I wasn’t an oatmeal person, but it was particularly delicious and the most perfect thing to have prior to a race. Who knew. I rode along with Richelle’s family to Westminster, which was our start and end point. We warmed up as a group and started on our run around central London. The run proved to be.. pretty useful because I finally could see where things laid out above ground. I took the tube most of the time, and occasionally I’d ride a bus for short distances, but most of my traveling was done on the Underground. Landmarks were a lot closer than I imagined them to be, that’s for sure. If you can imagine a tour of London where you see Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, the Palace, the Millenial Bridge, The London Eye– well that was my run. I surprisingly kept a steady pace the whole time. My legs felt like well oiled machines because after a short while it felt like nothing– in the best way possible, because as someone who isn’t a fan of running, you want that sweet spot where you stop thinking about running and just do it. I’m not kidding when I say I’m thoroughly surprised I didn’t pass out somewhere in London that day. While I spent a lot of time dreading to see if I could even finish, I really liked it. After that day, and realizing I could actually do this, I would just run for no apparent reason around my area. Here’s a video from that day:

And I ran that whole race with my hair down. Because– Lyka Boss.

After the race and the must-needed shower, I recall us opening presents. Lots of Lindt chocolate was involved. Lots. Later that night we went to another flat where Richelle’s extended family was and in typical Filipino fashion, we ate. And drank. I think I siphoned a lot of my alcohol to Richelle because I’m not so hardcore that I can drink liquor straight. Unlykaboss. It was a great Christmas, and arguably one of the best ones I’ve ever had. It’s what I imagined a Christmas would be like if I was raised with siblings and actually had a family that did normal family type things.

I don’t remember much about my time in London in the following month, but it included lots of essay writing, lots of running to avoid working on my theses (plural for thesis, I had 3 to do), and a last minute trip to Spain. Until next time..

P.S.
An old post I wrote was posted on Talking Soup magazine, if you haven’t read my thoughts of forgiving myself and being a single mother– click and enjoy!

On the Struggle

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Niko_struggleIn real life, I’m constantly complaining in a overly dramatic way–usually in my head.  It normally spills onto my social media, but I might as well put it here because I get really real here.  At the moment this is what’s got my brain struggling with answers:

When I’m on Facebook and it automatically puts the order of my feed by ‘most popular’ items.. and I have to manually set it to ‘most recent.’  Am I crazy?  It doesn’t make sense to have it go by most recent posts first?  Really, Mark?  And why doesn’t it stay that way?  Is there some trick I’m not getting?  Am I finally at that age where learning new technology is too much?  Too many questions, I’m sorry.  Not sorry.

When you post an article and someone automatically likes it–and you just know they read about as much as the title of it.  Reading is fundamental.  You are constantly reading on your phone.  You are reading this right now.  Just read the article before liking it!  OMG!!#*@$&*@#()!^&

People who hashtag things on private Instagram accounts.  It completely defeats the purpose of the hashtag……… I’m just saying. The only exception is if you’re doing it to be funny, like with those overly long hashtags that you know no on else uses.  Otherwise, I’m shaking my head at you.

When Niko is taking a longer than usual nap and for whatever dumb reason, I kind of miss him and decide I should go take a peek at him which almost always results in him waking him up.  And then I question my sanity because all I really want is some peace and quiet from time to time.  First of all, I’ve been with the kid 24/7 (except 3 times, for no longer then 2 hours each time) since the day he was born.  Not joking or exaggerating.  All day, every day.  So I really don’t know what I’m thinking.  Maybe I’m just used to the noise, the quiet is a little weird after an hour in a half during the day.  Honestly, if this doesn’t prove I’m a masochist..

And that photo of Niko is so irrelevant to this post other than I feel like it captures how I feel about this post. And in life right now.  He really is my son.

 

That is all.

 

On My Two-Month Old and Work

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A quick update while my little one is napping. He just turned two months old on Thursday and just had his two-month checkup yesterday. He has grown 2.5 inches and has gained about 5 pounds since birth. He’s been wearing his 3-month sized clothing for a couple of weeks now, and I get kind of sad whenever I have to add things to this pile of clothes he cannot fit anymore. Although, on the more light-hearted side, yesterday he ended up smacking his pediatrician yesterday while he was trying to examine his ear. Poor guy. I got a pretty good laugh about it at least. Aside from that, everything is in order and his development is right on schedule. He’s full of energy, and is surprisingly really strong. Maybe all babies are stronger than I originally thought? Since he’s been a couple weeks old he likes to try and stand up. Actually, he does end up standing up– I always have my hands under his armpits so I just hold him up. Sometimes he straightens his legs and ends up nearly jumping out of my hands. Oh this kid of mine..

Niko now smiles a lot, and he still cries a lot from his colic, but the smiling makes me feel better at least! He likes it when people talk to him and he tries to babble back, it’s so precious. He’s starting to stare at colorful things (like my book collection) and really fixates on ceiling lights for some reason.

I cannot believe how much he’s grown and changed since the first day I met him! It’s fascinating to see things through a baby’s eyes because everything is so new to them. I swell up with pride when he learns something new, but then there’s that part of me that gets a little sad because he’s growing up so fast. I’ll be a hot mess once he starts getting older, he’s only two months old for crying out loud!

This two month mark also means I should start looking for employment now, because who knows how long that’ll take. I really do enjoy my time with Niko, but I really need something to do. Taking care of him is something to do, but I don’t think I’m cut out to be a SAHM. I went to grad school for a reason, and I have certain goals in mind for myself. Granted, this whole living in Charlotte, NC threw me for a loop. It’s not exactly an “international” city so I’m going back to the drawing board as far as ideal work situations goes. What I had originally wanted to do isn’t available in this city, and I think I’d move later on but for now I really need to get my feet on the ground. I’ve been looking at jobs for a while but there seems to be jobs that are either along the lines of either “administrative assistant” or “director/manager” and little in between. I really don’t want to low-ball myself into a job that’s unfulfilling and that I’m overqualified for, yet at the same time I have little experience in the field I’ve studied. Over educated and under qualified. So I’m in an interesting conundrum, which I feel will lead to something interesting. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Wish me luck!

On Facebook and David Beckham

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This part of my London adventures really deserved a whole post of its’ own, because this was a turning point in my first couple of months in London– or my life, your call. Of all the people in this world, I certainly was not expecting to meet David Beckham. I just randomly entered this contest on a whim on Facebook, and hell I even forgot about it. As I received that first email that I had won the opportunity, at first I was like huh? What the..

Back to where I left off from the last installment of My Year in London series–the 49ers vs Jaguars game, which was on a Sunday. Now that I think about it, I made a mistake in my previous post, I believe I checked my email that Friday night and got the email about responding to the David Beckham event a day or two too late, but it was Friday or Saturday that I responded. I don’t know. The point is, I had missed the deadline in responding and I remember sending two emails back to back to the sender asking if they still had a spot open and that I had wanted to still attend. It was the football game that I saw that I got a confirmation email saying that it was OK and that they still had a spot for me, and that’s why I was so distracted.

…And because I don’t understand American football. That’s besides the point though.

That Wednesday was the day of the event. It was the first, and to my knowledge the only time, that Facebook was testing out this particular technology where they had a digital book signing all around the world. How it worked was that, they would have David in a studio in London signing autographs to fans’ Facebook timeline digitally with a tablet, while fans from other parts of the world would be able to video chat in with him live and ask questions. The autographs will be posted to fans’ timeline automatically. As for the fans in the audience, we got to stand in line after the taping of the event was over to meet him and ask him questions, one by one.

So the day comes, and I arrive to Air Studios in the northwest area of London, which was in the area where I lived but a much fancier part. The place was actually relatively close to me in mileage, but it took forever to get there by bus. I’m surprised I got there in time and didn’t get lost. God must has been on my side or something. Ha. So anyway, I get there, check in with security and everyone was directed towards a reception room with lots of food. In this room we watched the first part of the interview, and I remember wondering if that was it and if we were actually going to be able to meet David or not. After being there for a while, I whipped out my phone and started Facebooking– you know up until that point not a single person knew where I was or what I was doing. I like being full of surprises–or just secretive, your call.

Finally, after a couple of hours we all got escorted into this studio where David was and we got to be the audience during his interview. Following the ending of it everyone was lined up and got to talk to David and get a picture with him while he signed autographs. You know– I imagined a lot of things to say to him as I was standing in that line, I really did. I practiced in my head over and over because I was in the tail end of the line so I had some time and then he was in front of me and all I could muster up was “Hi”.. and then I proceeded to drooling on him and smiling like an idiot the whole time. I was so frozen, it was ridiculous. And footbal/soccer was actually the only sport I’ve ever played and the only sport I really understand so you would think that I’d have something to say to him but nothing came out. Hell, we even played the same position! Embarrassing.

See, this is exactly why I can’t date hot guys.

Anyway, he was really nice and seemed pretty used to the drooling. If you think he looks good on camera, in person he is unbelievably beautiful. I can’t. I couldn’t even, y’all. I wish my camera was more focused. I wish there wasn’t much space between us in that photo, but I was so disgustingly shy that day, he’s lucky I didn’t pass out on him. I had no words, and I didn’t know what to do with myself afterwards either. What do you do after that?!

We got copies of his new book and a copy of our autographs. Then that day I just remember going to a pizza shop by my flat, got a whole pizza but only ate half of it (like that sounds any better) and a glass of red wine. Because really, what could I possibly do after that? What is life after David Beckham?

Spoken like a true fan girl.

The significance of this though was that afterwards, I started liking London. Finally. I mean honestly, who wouldn’t?