Jitters

Today I went to the Dr’s clinic for some appointments and I was honestly scared to walk in. As I pulled into the parking lot, there were several marked “Reserved for Respiratory Patients.” This made me a little nervous.

Then, as I walked in with a face mask on (a requirement in most places,) a nurse standing by the door was prepared to ask me a series of questions. They were similar to the questions we were asked upon check-in at Guam prior to boarding the flight for Korea:

Have you had a fever for the past few days?

Have you experienced any shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.?

Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID19?

Are any of your family members positive for COVID19?

Then, she took her thermometer and placed it near my forehead, and scanned for my temperature. After that, I was given an orange piece of paper that said “Screened 6/9/20.”

The app I have on my phone allowed me to check myself in but I still had to check in with the front desk person on the floor I was going to. After that, I was called in pretty quickly, as I noticed they limited the number of patients to be seen per day.

They had a few new rules such as taping my face mask at the bridge of my nose since it fogs up the Dr’s lens. Also, no talking while Dr and the nurse are checking the eyes. And, basically, just keep the mask on at all times. It was hard to breathe during some points of my appointment, but I definitely have more sympathy for the Drs and nurses as they have to wear them for their entire shift.

I just wanted to document this day, because it has been different from all my other appointments. And, it’ll probably be this way for awhile.

Hello Blog

Hi guys! Its been a while…A few updates:

  • We got selected to be delegates for an International Convention in Berlin, Germany. This will be my first EVER and Winfred’s second.
  • We started working out again. We both signed up to this small gym that does 30 minute full body workouts using kickboxing techniques. We have been loving it so far.
  • Our pioneering is going strong. We have an assigned location every other Sunday for the Special Metropolitan Public Witnessing in San Francisco.  Last weekend, we had the wonderful privilege of being a part of the Special Preaching Event at the Cherry Blossom Festival. We feel truly blessed to be used during these exciting times!
  • Brutus is still our only child. These past few days he has been having the runs. We finally took him to the vet today and they prescribed him something that will hopefully help him out. The cutest and most humanest thing he’s done yet…he went poo poo inside our bathroom…not once, but twice! I seriously think he’s part human… or he’s just really smart.

Other than that, our lives have been running the same way…

Its been hard for me to keep up with this blog because I’ve truly been super busy… but I also feel like I’ve been conflicted of what I want the content on this blog to be. I initially started it after I lost my job. I wanted to keep my mind busy and possibly make money out of it. That then changed…and it just became a way for me to document things and offer my point of view. I now have a job, outside of this blog, and I just want this to be an outlet for me to write and to be expressive; but also, a way for my friends and family to experience our adventures outside of Guam.

What should I write about? What do you like reading about?

My Part 1 Color Factory Experience

Let me just start by saying this:  In order to have a Color Factory experience, you must first sign up for their newsletter. The newsletter will alert you to any upcoming ticket sales and when to purchase the tickets. This will allow you to mark your calendars and set a reminder (that is what I did.) Please note, this is a very important step! If you miss the date (let alone the hour) these tickets go on sale…you can just kiss that experience of yours good-bye.

An hour before the ticket sales, I consulted with my friends to choose our dates. I recommend having a few dates in mind because, more than likely, your first choice will be sold out! I didn’t really have a plan on who would be going with me, but I just sent out a mass text and waited to see who would reply amongst my friends. A few of them did…and I ended up going with Sarah. THANKS Sarah! (Please note: at least one name has to match the tickets purchased and they do check ID’s twice.)

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I had my credit card and computer ready…and I was pumped! Five minutes prior to ticket sales start time, I had the site up and just continually refreshed. Once I was in…I waited until I was next in the queue. Once I was up, I went directly to the dates I had in mind, but all the weekends were taken. Also, the most you can purchase is for four people. But, even with that option, you’re better off looking for tickets that can accommodate at least two people. I was able to secure a spot on January 19, a Friday, at 12 noon.

So, as you can see, securing tickets was a whole big task on its own. You’ll have to plan ahead and follow through. Some ask, is it worth my $35? In my opinion, I say absolutely, YES! I don’t even remember the last time I was in a ball pit…actually, I do. It was probably when I was 8 years old and my parents took me to the McDonald’s in Harmon, Guam. The McDonald’s was still new at that time…and I remembered how fun it was! Now, as a grown person with responsibilities, I crave that freeness I once had as a kid. So, if I have to pay $35 to be a kid again (in an adult body,) and take all the crazy non-sense pictures for my IG…i’d do it! As an extra perk, you do get a few snacks along the way: macarons, charcoal lemonade, and a small soft serve in the end…so, tell me…WOULD YOU GO TO the COLOR FACTORY?

I also did an insta-story the whole time so if you’d like to see Part 2 of my Color Factory experience, please check out my IG account. The whole experience and all the rooms we entered were captured on my Instagram Highlight Stories. Please follow my Instagram @islanderinheels.

 

 

Nightmare Flights

Have you ever experienced a flight or airline/airport crew gone wrong? And it went wrong not because of your own doing. Well, a while back on my NOLA post, I mentioned the nightmare of a flight we had on our way to New Orleans. I didn’t elaborate then…so this is my follow up post on what I’ve learned and what I would recommend in the future.

  • For starters, I recommend flying direct to your destination. (Flying back home on a connecting flight is not so bad…after all, I’d rather start a vacation quickly and end it slowly.) There’s nothing worse than starting your trip on the wrong foot. That flight we booked to New Orleans had a connecting flight in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, because the grounds crew or the airline crew didn’t want to shut the airplane door, we waited on the tarmac for more than an hour. Then, the door was finally shut, we pulled back a little, but as unusual as this was…we pulled back to the gate and stayed there for another 45 minutes! At this point, I was already getting anxious and upset simultaneously. I had a feeling we were going to miss our connecting flight and NOT make it to our dinner reservation that evening. Thankfully, our story had a semi sweet ending…We did miss our connecting flight, however, I was able to push back the dinner reservation and  we made it to GW Fins.
  • Check the reviews on flights and airlines. Do their planes typically have mechanical problems? Are they known for always being delayed? What’s their reputation as an airline as a whole? Certain airlines have received a great deal of bad press lately, however, some rightfully so.
  • Choose the lesser of the two evils. How much money do you want to save by booking a connecting flight? Are you using mileage and don’t have much options in choosing which airline to fly with? Is it really a big deal if you miss your dinner reservation? These are things to consider.
  • Lastly, file a complaint. I am one to say that I dislike complainers (especially petty complainers), however, when NONE of the events that transpired were due to your inexperience and/or ignorance on your part AND you paid a fare (pun intended) price, then you ought to speak up. Some airlines are generous in compensating their clients for their mistakes, others are not. You win some, you lose some. But, you can’t win any if you don’t speak a plenty.

How about you? What did you learn from your nightmare flights and what can you recommend to me?

 

Responsible Pet Parenting

Many pet parents have their views and ways of proper pet parenting. And, I’m not one to impose my views on others. However, I do find two things of utmost importance, and I  hope you do too!

  1. Always pick up your dog’s poop. No matter what!  I’ve used plastic bags, sandwich bags, and other items to pick up Brutus’ poop. Once, I walked up to a complete stranger and asked for a doggy bag. He gladly handed me one.
  2. Commitment. Having a pet, like a child, comes with great responsibility. It takes time, money, effort, and lots of patience. At one point, Winfred and I decided to end our lease early and move out of our place because our previous landlord gave us an ultimatum to either get rid of our dog or leave. We, of course, chose the latter. And, during that time, Winfred and I went through one of the most stressful episodes in our lives because we had to find a new place fast and lose such a bargain for our apartment.  However, it was unimaginable for us to abandon or put our dog up for adoption for the sake of pleasing her; even though we were greatly mislead. Anyways, with that being said, it is VERY important to know beforehand whether you can own a pet, and if so, if there are any weight restrictions or breed restrictions at your current place. Knowing these things will help you in becoming the committed and responsible pet parent that you possibly could be.
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Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas, a place where you can travel the world, yet remain on a strip. This past September (which was perfect weather), I accompanied my parents, and their friends, for a four day getaway.

We did NOT rent a car, but we did take advantage of the shuttle services, monorails, lyft or uber (whichever wasn’t surging at the moment…,) and the occasional taxi cabs.

We stayed at the Rio, which wasn’t as I remembered it to be, but it did OK. Every morning, we took advantage of the overpriced coffee at the Starbucks downstairs because there was no free coffee in the room (also, they charge you $0.75 for iced tap water!) The Rio isn’t on the strip…but isn’t too far away either. At that time, Rio provided a free shuttle every 30 minutes that drops you off to the strip. However, we didn’t have the time or the patience to wait each time…so we would either grab a cab or a lyft.

What parts of the world can you reach from the strip? Well, lets start at the U.S. You can go to NYC, and see the Brooklyn Bridge, have a bite of their famous burgers in Shake Shack, ride their roller coaster, and then head over to Europe. You can get a piece of these European cities: Paris, Venice, and Rome. Then head to Africa by going to the Luxor and feeling like you’re in Egypt. By the time you’ve ventured through at least three of these countries, you’ll feel exhausted and would want to retire to the comfort and coolness of your hotel room.

If you desire to venture off the strip, there is the Hoover Dam, that is about 50 minutes away. Hoover Dam has been featured in many movies such as San Andreas, Transformers, and Fools Rush In with Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry. Definitely worth checking if you’re tired of the same scene.

Another advantage to Vegas is, it’s also not too far off from the West Rim portion of the Grand Canyon. The West Rim belongs to the Hualapai (WALL-uh-pie) tribe, and isn’t part of the national park. That being said, the West Rim is still a beautiful and unique experience. We were able to see Eagle Rock and get on the Skywalk. It was truly a Magnificent experience! (I can share more about the details of the West Rim on a separate blog post.)

Overall, Vegas is a great thrill! You don’t have to be into gambling or casinos to enjoy the place…because no matter what you like, you’ll find something for yourself in Vegas!

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Sweet Treats from NYC

Part II of my list of food places to try in New York are sweet treats. Whether it be doughnuts, cookies, or rice pudding…here are my faves:

  • Momofuku Milk Bar. Who thought someone can be so happy with cereal and soft serve? Its like comfort food on another level. And, don’t even get me started on their crack pie…
  • Doughnut Plant. I’ve always been a fan of tres leches and theirs is a must try! A few others to add to your box: Peanut butter and banana cream, vanilla bean, red velvet, crème brûlé, Peanut butter and blackberry jam…heck, just try everything!
  • Rice to Riches. If you grew up with a Filipino mom, you know what chocolate rice is. Rice to Riches is just that… but better! There are other things added to the rice other than chocolate. They have rum raisin, french toast, mascarpone, banana coconut, and the list goes on and on… Sample a few to taste what you like because it is filling and not so cheap. Then reward your belly with some yummy goodness!

I hope you get to try at least one of these three places, and let me know what you think. I have other places I want to try that I have not ticked off…such as, Levain Bakery, Cookie Dō, and others. Always gotta have a reason to come back to NYC.

New York Food List

Prior to the trip, I had this list of food places I wanted to try. I got through most of it…and wanted to share it with you:

  • Russ & Daughter’s – A great New York bagel experience. I had a Plain bagel with Lox and Scallion Cream Cheese. Yum!
  • Julianna’s Pizza – Granted, I was pretty full already from my burger at Shake Shack…I just had to try a slice of their Buffalo Mozzarella pizza. It was delicious!
  • Shake Shack – To be completely honest, I had reservations about this place. I mean, California has some pretty legit burger joints that I’ve already tried…But, disappoint it did not! I truly enjoyed every bite of my Smokeshack burger.
  • Sabbia, formerly Baita, in Eataly’s rooftop. A little overrated for the food, but the experience was wonderful. Beautiful rooftop and great drinks!
  • Katz Deli – one and done! Meaning, one visit for me is sufficient enough…the food was meh! And the lines are crazy! To top that off, you must keep your eyes peeled for a table to be vacated, and once you find one, hope no one else grabs it before you.
  • Smorgasburg – A great place to try a variety of different foods. Eat your heart out…literally!
  • Yuji Ramen- A new take on ramen. Its all seafood base. Unique yet surprisingly good. Also, a tiny hole in the wall place, so be prepared to be in close proximity with strangers.
  • Chelsea’s Market – A wonderful place to people watch, listen to live music, shop, and eat great tacos! Yup, I had tacos and quesadillas at Los Taco’s #1 and boy were they delicious! I had the carne asada taco and the adobada especial…I highly recommend trying them!
  • Pies & Thighs – A good option for some southern food. A nice plate of chicken and waffles to make you feel that nice southern comfort; and don’t forget that smoked pork collards.

After going through this food list, I want to do an 8 mile hike or longer. Happy Noshing!

Happy Decade!

Last month, I officially lived a whole ten years off the little rock I once called home. This little rock was the island of Guam. I remember vividly my aspirations of being able to live somewhere far away, on my own, and achieving my goals. I didn’t think I was going to be away this long…yet, it went by so quickly!

I graduated and earned my bachelor’s. I married a good man. I actually like my job and enjoy going to work every day. I can honestly say that I’ve achieved my goals.

The first year was admittedly the toughest. I had no friends. I didn’t know how to take care of my skin. I broke out so bad because I didn’t know how much I needed to moisturize during the dry and cold winter months. I didn’t like my job, but I did it anyways. I had no idea how to dress in cold weather, so I always looked awkward and would either be too cold or too hot.

Over the years, I met people who filled the void that I once felt as a newcomer. I made close and lasting friendships. I sought the help of a dermatologist to help me get my skin back to the way it was. And, I started browsing Japanese fashion magazines and watching Youtube for Winter Fashion ideas…that really helped! It made me realize that my cowboy boots had to go as they were not winter fashion friendly, as I thought they were (Imagine…I  wore those to field service and meetings!)

As a former newcomer, these are things that helped me plant roots in a new place:

Make new friends. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to people. Spend time with those whom you gravitate to the most and have common interest with.  Invest time and feelings. If you do so, you will make friendships that will prove its strength through good and bad times.

Try a new job. I always worked in Hospitality when I was in Guam and never thought I’d go into a different industry. When I moved to California, I went straight into Banking. Later, I realized it wasn’t what I was looking for and found a decent job in a whole different industry.

Explore your city. I found all my local favorites in the area. My favorite Persian restaurant, my favorite Crepe place, my favorite Nail Salon, etc. Also, check out the local hiking trails and any outdoor activities your area offers. You’ll be sure to have a good time!

What are things that you did to make you feel more at home in a new place?

Training Tips that Worked for Us

Update: I drafted this post a few weeks back and just this past weekend Brutus was attacked by a Pit Bull while he was about to go on his walk. The Pit Bull broke free from his home and came at Brutus while my husband and him were about to go for their morning walk in the in-law’s neighborhood. We are observing Brutus and he is scheduled to see his vet this Friday.

Tip #1: Be consistent.

This is key for potty training and any type of training in general. When he was a pup, we had made sure that he always went outside right after a meal, before we went to bed, and right when we woke up. He knew that this was the routine and, although he had a few accidents, he quickly learned to potty outside. Also, we taught him to “ring the bell.” We made sure that before we opened the door for him to go outside and potty, he had to ring the bell. This, in turn, taught him that to get our attention to bring him outside…he had to ring the bell. And, it still works until now. He no longer has his bell, but paws the door stopper or anything near the door, to get our attention.

Tip #2: Be firm and let him know who is boss.

This doesn’t mean you have to be a tyrant. But, when he’s bad, You have to give a firm,”NO!” Don’t be giggling or laughing or smiling…because they will definitely think you’re playing with them, and not giving them a command.

Tip# 3: Praise him when he’s good.

Reward good behavior. Don’t emphasize so much on the bad behavior but know that when he makes you happy and proud…say the words, “Good Boy/Girl!” or even a gentle pet on his head or a treat.

Tip #4: Have play time.

This is part of being consistent, but when your dog knows he gets to have play time, he doesn’t get too crazy. For instance, he won’t run away from you or try to escape the house because he knows there’s no better place than being home with great masters.

These are the tips that worked for us…there are great dog trainers out there, haven’t tried any of them yet, but the way I see it…most of the dog’s behavior is a result of how the owner handles them. How much time we spend with them, how much love we show them, and the interaction we provide for them.