Falling in love with stars

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Source: IMDb

Have you heard of and watched the Korean drama “Goblin”?

If you haven’t, look it up and watch it. You wont regret it, trust me! (I watched it with English subs)

But I’m not here to write a commentary about the drama.

I’m here to write about how I’ve fallen in love with the actors Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun.

Yes, I’ve fallen in love with movie stars after a long long time.

Gong Yoo. Where do I even begin. Let me just say that I didn’t find him attractive enough, not until I watched the second or third episode of Goblin. The same goes for Kim Go-eun. It took me a while to see how beautiful she is. Her beauty has a simplicity to it that draws you in slowly, especially when she smiles and wrinkles her nose at the same time. And when you’re in, you can never turn the other way.

See, I don’t know Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun (I don’t follow news about Korean stars), so it’s easy enough for me to associate the actors with the characters they portrayed. And I think that’s when trouble begins.

For example – I haven’t seen “Train To Busan” or “A Muse”. Someone who has, but hasn’t seen Goblin, may have a different perception of Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun in their minds.

Another example – When news comes out that the actors did something “out of character” in real life. Some would react violently, scream their disappointments (cry?) Who says it was “out of character”? What was that judgement based on? Is it based on how they personally know these people? Or maybe on how they perceived them based on the characters they portrayed?

Like that one time when Kim Go-eun posted a selfie in Instagram, where she wasn’t wearing any make-up (I think she was lying on a hammock then, while on vacation).  She received a lot of flak for it, from comments about how very unlike an actor she looked to how ugly she was.

Come on, people! These actors are normal human beings who happen to work in front of the camera for a living! (For the record, Kim Go-eun is beautiful, with or without makeup.)

But that’s not the crazy part. The crazy part is how we (yes, including myself) let our minds keep thinking that Gong Yoo = Kim Shin and Kim Go-eun = Ji Eun Tak. (Or whatever character). It IS difficult to separate the actor from the character he/she portrays, but at some point we draw the line.

I try my best to do just that when I realized I fell in love with stars again. I know that by drawing that line, I will be able to love their work more, rather than just how they look. I’ve already started making a list of Gong Yoo’s and Kim Go-eun’s shows/movies. Yes, I plan to watch them all.

But after my rescreening of Goblin. I’m not ready to let go of Kim Shin and Ji Eun Tak just yet.

HAHA! ♡

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One out of four

I still can’t put my thoughts into words properly today, but I’m less emotional now than 3 days ago.

We thought we had turned our little girl into a big sister. After the third checkup, doctor truly confirmed that there’s no growing fetus in the sac.

The doctor confirmed I’m pregnant. But the pregnancy is not viable.

It happens in one out of four women. It’s not unusual.

It happened to my mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. I know of friends who miscarried halfway through the pregnancy. And there are those who had a stillborn.

But knowing these things still doesn’t make me feel better.

 

The pregnancy test yielded positive results. When the nurse at the OB-GYNE clinic checked, she confirmed I’m pregnant. I am still going through “morning” sickness (I feel it almost the entire day).

It is such a cruel joke.

Some might say “Hey, at least you already have one child.”

Or: “You can always try again. You’re still young!”

Or: “At least it happened early on, when you’re not that far along yet.”

Even if I’ve had 10 kids before this, even if I know we can still try to conceive again, and no matter how far along in the pregnancy it happened, a loss is still a loss.

It still crushes my heart and my spirit. It is…was going to be our second baby.

I do hope and pray that God will help us accept the reality of the situation and help us deal with the pain we are feeling.

One day, we will be okay.

 

Pre-pre-school

My little girl and I visited a nearby daycare center who accepts kids as young as 2 years old. With her second birthday approaching in a little more than a month, it was just right for us to start looking for a good daycare center.

The facility looked good. Kids in Isla’s age group are in a separate classroom with little chairs and tables. Her group normally consists of 10 children, with one teacher and one teacher’s assistant. As a child grows older, he/she is transferred to another group.

The daycare center follows an academic philosophy, but they do have a time for naps and play after lunch. The “academic” part of the day is from 9AM to 12NN. I’m mostly worried that Isla will be too headstrong and won’t do anything she doesn’t want to, but the 3-hour “academic” activities doesn’t sound too bad! And, according to the director, it will be like playtime for her.

The best part about our visit was seeing Isla’s curiosity. When we took a peek in the classroom for her age group, she stared at all the kids and wanted to go in. She couldn’t, of course (not yet, anyway), but I hope her curiosity stays with her for when the time comes that we are able to enroll her.

While I’m worried about leaving her in the daycare center, without me or her Papa, I’m excited for her to begin making friends and learning new and interesting things! We have more than a month to prepare her (and myself! LOL!) to introduce her to a new routine. I’m optimistic that this will be a very fruitful year for our little girl.

Sexist and you don’t know it

You’ve heard of how sexism is prevalent in our society, but it’s different when you experience or hear it firsthand. Other people are intentionally sexist, but I think it’s sadder when someone doesn’t even realize he or she is being a sexist. I think that goes to show how sexism is deeply ingrained in us.

Sample scenario: While talking about a future sibling for Isla, someone says he hopes it’s a boy so that he can learn (insert sport involving a ball, like basketball or tennis).

My immediate reaction: Hey, Isla can learn that, too.

Well. It’s true! Whatever she wants to learn, she can. She’s a human being with a functioning brain and, as far as I can tell, a strong physique. She can certainly learn anything she puts her mind and heart into, and she can excel in them.

I admit, I’m guilty of sexism at times, too. And I beat myself up when I catch myself stereotyping women or men. But I do hope that our daughter (and our other kids in the future) understand that their gender will never define what they can do.

“Remember who you are”

That was what Mufasa said to grown-up Simba, who ran away from home when he was a cub. It may have taken a baboon and some “strange weather” to help Simba remember who he is, but I don’t have those.

In 2012, left everything and everyone I knew in the Philippines and moved to New York City to be with the man I love. Instantly, I became a wife in a new country. I had to adjust to the four seasons and to my new role as wife. Fast forward three years later, I became a mother.

While these two roles are just that – roles – I realized that they have started to define who I am. Don’t get me wrong. Being a wife and a mother are the two most important roles I play in my life, and I don’t mind being identified as a wife and a mother. But, somehow, along the way, I lost who I am.

My recent trip to our Motherland helped me remember who I am. Or was. Being with my rambunctious family, hearing them speak our dialect – These reminded me that I am a woman who loved to have fun (with or without alcohol), who loved spending time with family while sharing a delicious meal, who loved relaxing by the beach. It reminded me that I am a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt. While those are roles in themselves, those roles reminded me that it’s ok to ask for help from time to time; that, while I’m growing up, my parents are growing old and spending as much time as I can with them is the most precious gift I can give them; that the most loyal and dependable people around me (besides my husband) are my siblings and cousins. Being with my family in our Motherland reminded me that I am strong, dependable, resourceful, patient, fun, ambitious, humble.

Trying to emulate this image of a Superwoman/Wonder Woman Mom is not only damaging to my psyche, but also EXHAUSTING. It also makes me too proud to ask for help when I need it the most. Being with my family reminded me that I can still be the Wonder Mom even if I ask for help, or accept help when offered, and no one will judge/curse me for that.

It was refreshing to be back in our Motherland. It felt like a reset to my whole being. I feel like I can be a better wife and mother now that I remembered who I am before assuming those roles. I’m so glad I took that trip before the end of 2016.

Isla’s first trip to the Motherland

Our little girl was asked to be a flower girl in my cousin’s wedding. In the Philippines. And Ed didn’t have enough vacation hours to make the trip.

So, on Dec 7, 2016, Isla and I took the more-than-half-a-day trip in a glorified tin can by ourselves FOR THE FIRST TIME.

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Our LÍLLÉbaby Complete carrier with its lumbar support was a life-saver! (not sponsored)

I had to make sure I packed only one suitcase for both of us. With her stroller on top of the suitcase, I wheeled the whole thing through airport check-in while she was strapped in front of me and her diaper bag on my back. It would have been nice if a stranger offered help, but I was able to manage (the people in Davao City, Philippines are different, though. They don’t ask you if you need help. They just immediately help you with your stuff! Bless them.)

I had these visions (or nightmares, if you will) of Isla’s first intercontinental trip – tantrums thrown while on the plane; food getting thrown and landing on people’s heads; diaper blowouts; missing our connecting flight. Those kinds of stuff. I was pleasantly surprised that none of those visions came true! Isla was such a darling during the flight. She didn’t scream (except for that one time before takeoff from JFK when she needed to nurse and I had to stow our stuff in the overhead bin), and she didn’t throw any tantrum. She just watched her favorite nursery rhyme videos on my iPad or watched an in-flight movie. If you didn’t pass by our seat, you wouldn’t even know I had a toddler with me. Hihi! I was lucky! And I’m so proud of how behaved she was during our flights.

While we were in the Philippines, she mostly clung to me for security and comfort. The new environment and the many relatives who wanted to hug and kiss her were too overwhelming for her. She did play with some of our relatives, if you count holding hands with them while dancing to karaoke songs (while I carried her). We took her to two different zoos – The Philippine Eagle Foundation and Crocodile Park. We took her to the beach, which she absolutely loved! The best part of the trip is spending time with my parents and my two aunts whom I haven’t seen since 2012.

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I’m so glad I was able to bring Isla to our Motherland. Sure, she’s too young to remember anything, but we have many pictures to show her. And this definitely won’t be her last trip.

 

Stigma

Physical ailment is easy to understand. It’s relatively easy to gauge your physical health – blood pressure, weight, heart rate, among others. And there are a variety of tests to measure how healthy you are.

The reality: Most of us focus on our physical health only and often neglect that one other thing we need to take care of – our mental health. It’s not our fault, of course. I feel like there’s not enough resources on mental health available for everyone. Because of the lack of education, there’s a stigma on mental health/disorder that prevents people from admitting that they need help.

 

Believe it or not, even the strongest, the happiest, the most productive person in the world may suffer from anxiety and depression. No, they may not want to kill themselves. Yet. Those numerous days when you don’t feel like going out or doing something you used to enjoy (running, reading, watching a movie, whatever), that may be a sign that you’re going through something. You will never know unless you become more aware of your own thoughts. I think that self-awareness is a very important tool in navigating your way around mental health. Meditation and reflection are techniques that we can use to stay mentally healthy, the way working out in the gym or running outside keeps us physically healthy.

I hope that day comes when we’re able to talk about mental health the way we talk about physical health – no judgements, no stigma. Wouldn’t that be a happy world to live in.

 

For more information on mental health, please visit NAMI. (Disclaimer: No, this is not a paid ad, and I’m not a spokesperson for NAMI. I feel strongly about this topic. The more people know, the better their chances at admitting they need help and getting it. )