Sunday, July 5, 2015

Let me tell you something….

Let me tell you something…i've been thinking a lot about you lately.  How we met, how we became friends, how our kids became good friends and playmates.  Let me tell you how I enjoyed our play dates, mommy dates in Starbucks, donuts and coffee, shopping, and those occasional dinners on the rare mom's night out we had.  Let me tell you how I miss our ranting, our talks about heartaches, our chit chats about people who's done us wrong.   Let me tell you how much I miss summer, fall, and winter, because those days reminds me of birthdays and special occasions that I got to spend with you.

Let me tell you what I don't miss.  I don't miss Spring.  I don't miss the time I left.  I don't miss the sadness, the disappointment, the loss I felt when I moved away.  I don't miss the anger, the hopelessness, the wishing and wanting for something that I can no longer have.  Let me tell you that the choice was hard, but that it was something that I had to do.  Let me tell you that I wish I was a better friend, but that I was not.

Let me tell you…that I miss you.  Let me tell you that the only thing that is standing between you and me is pride.  My pride…and maybe yours too.  But I want you to know that I'm working on it…I'm working on my pride.  And someday, I want you to know, I will reach out to you, because I care about you.  Let me tell you that I am afraid that you will reject me.  But I hope you won't.  So let me tell you this, friend:  I love you.  Always.


Gigi

Monday, June 15, 2015

Home is where the heart is

It's exactly 2 months to this day since Sam and I moved to Hawaii; about a week for Josh.  Now that Josh is here, I can safely and completely say that we are home.  In the past 2 months, I have had a myriad of emotions.  Most days, especially when Josh was still in Manassas, that I wish I could still go back and pretend that the move never happened.  Now that he is here, it finalizes the fact that Manassas is no longer our home.  Home has always been where Josh and Sam are.  Now that we are no longer apart, we are definitely home.

So let me tell you what the past 2 months has been.  I went back to work April 27, doing part time job as a day program nurse for my previous employer.  I work from8 am - 2:30 pm.  During the times that I am at work, either my sister Jenny, my dad, or my aunt watches Sam.  It has been an adjustment.  He initially resented the fact that I went to work.  He did not understand why mommy has to go to work.  There were days when he would tell me that we should go back to Virginia because when we're there, mommy doesn't work.  It was difficult and painful knowing that a greater part of my day is spent away from him.  It was much harder to know that it bothered him so.  At the time, I don't think that he really understood that this move is permanent.  That going back to Virginia was no longer possible.  Over the past few weeks, he has learned to adopt, cope, and at this point, I think he now understands that this is home.  In a month and a half, he will be starting Junior Kindergarten.  I am looking forward to that.  I am excited that he will be meeting new friends.  He misses his friends in Virginia and talks about them from time to time, but I am excited for him to meet new ones.

Doing work was not difficult.  It's like riding a bike.  I think the greater challenge for me at this point is trying to balance work and home.  Now add being a wife to that.  I fear that I won't be good at it.  I say that because before Josh got here, I have days when I am just too exhausted I refuse to deal with Sam when he is being difficult.  I get so tired that I usually fall asleep during bedtime routine, way before Sam falls asleep.  Now add being a wife to that equation.  Then add being a home maker.  I am getting exhausted just thinking about it.

On the plus side, I have found a church for us.  All my life, I have not been to a church where I felt excited to go.  Maybe it's because those church have been chosen for me?  I don't know.  But in all these years, I don't remember ever looking forward to Sunday and going to church.  In fact, there are Sundays in church when I felt that the service was getting too long and I wished for it to be over it.  I don't feel like that with this church.  Now, I feel that the service was too short.  I feel satisfied when I leave.  Sam enjoys Sunday school.  He got his first bible and constantly asks for us to read the story of Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, and Samson.  It is a joy to see him talk about God and asks questions about God.  We are growing in spirit and maybe this was God's purpose.  Maybe this is part of why He directed us to move back.

Our new journey has just begun and I am sure that from here on out, it will be a rollercoaster ride.  God has been faithful and through our struggles with this move, He has been generous in providing us our needs.  I miss my home in Virginia, I miss my friends.   I will never forget them, and I hope that they will not forget me.  I hope that someday, I will get to see them again.  As the bible said in Ecclesiastes 3:  "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens...a time to tear down, and a time to build."  This is our season to build a new life.  And with God's grace, I know things will be alright.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Being Brave: Here and Back Again

Yesterday at MOPS, we talked about being brave.  Being brave and trying things that scares us.  As a cautious mom, I always tell Sam to be careful.  I'm always afraid that he might get hurt.  Because of that, I don't let him play with things that are dangerous or could potentially cause him harm.  I've thought about this all day yesterday, and I realized that maybe i've been a little too uptight with him.  Learning comes with mistakes; learning comes with pain and hurt sometimes.  In the end, no matter the pain or difficulty, we learn something.

While thinking about being brave for Sam, I am also thinking of ways that I am trying to be brave about our current situation.  How are we being brave in all of these.  How am I being brave.  I have to tell you, the decision was not easy; not for me, not for Josh.  We prayed for an answer; I knew I leaned towards staying, but when I prayed, I didn't asked for God to answer one way or another.  I asked Him to lead the way.  When I didn't get the answer that I wanted, I was sad, angry.  As the days passed, God made a way to set the path.  We got our plane tickets for dirt cheap.  Our finances stabilized a bit so we can plan for our move.  We are blessed with friends who will be renting the house, and who will love and take care of it while we're gone.  He paved the way so that the transition will be smoother.  Easier.  So that even in my hurt of leaving the home that I had started to love, He told me that it will be okay.  That we will be okay.  I WILL BE OKAY.

I can't tell you that I am no longer angry about our situation.  Really, I wanted to stay.  But it's not about me.  It's about our family and what we determined was best for our family.  In a previous blog, I talked about the pros and cons of staying here vs. going back to Hawaii.  That's my perspective.  But Josh has another.  Over the last four years that he worked, i've known him to try not to take his work home.  And that's hard.  The stresses he go through, I cannot imagine.  All I know is that when he has a bad day, it's easy to tell.  Our decision to go back to Hawaii does not solely rely on the fact that we needed to be close to family.  Sure, that is a big factor.  But until recently, I never knew how much his job consumes him.  Our goal was for him to be compensated enough for his stress.  To know that even with the hardships he deals with at work, that he is being fairly compensated.  And with the job offer that he was given, it was not enough.  Oh, it was a good and sensible offer in my opinion.  But i'm not the one working.  I'm not the one feeling the pressure and stress.  So I tried to be brave.  I am being brave.  I am supporting my husband's decision to walk away from a good paying job so that he can find one that he can be happy with.  To find one that doesn't consume him.  Sure he will still have stress.  You'll find that in a job.  Sure he will still deal with people that will make his life hell.  At the same time, I wanted him to make that choice.  I didn't want him to feel stuck because it's what I want.  I am submitting to him just as the bible said in Ephesians.  Because in return, he loves me.  And I know that he will not knowingly put me and Sam in any jeopardy.

Today, being brave is looking through my Facebook and seeing something that hurt me.  My first instinct is to strike back.  But I chose not to.  Being brave is accepting that not everyone will understand me; not everyone will understand the decision that Josh and I made when we decided to move back to Hawaii.  I don't feel that I should justify it to anyone, or constantly explain why. All I can say is that we are moving to be a better family.  Being brave is moving on with our lives.

In all of this, I have one regret:  deciding to walk away from a friend without seeing her or saying goodbye. That hurts me.  She's probably not aware she's hurt me.  But I still love her and I will always care about her.  And I hope someday, she will be able to care for me again.

In the midst of the chaos in my life, God showed me love and compassion through friends.  Many of whom offered to buy things or take care of Sam so I can pack.  Many of whom took time to show how much they care by putting together a small gathering at the winery, coming and hanging out, or a simple dinner out.  So many friends who gave me hugs, encouragement, and well wishes.  So many of them happy for my next endeavor. I am so grateful for that.


As the day of our flight comes closer, I feel more and more sad.  But while driving, God whispered this verse to me:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I know that God has a better plan.  Yes, an opportunity presented but it wasn't what God has planned for us.  If it was, Josh's job offer would've been exactly what we had prayed for, right?  God is faithful.  And yes, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 14:3



Thursday, March 26, 2015

And the Answer Is...

Sometimes, we pray for God's answer; the quicker, the better.  In my 30-something years, God seemed to have taken His time to give me His answer to my questions, desires, and needs.  It has not been easy waiting.  I am impatient and untrusting.  And since I am human, when I don't get the answer I desire, I get angry, sad, and frustrated.

The last 3 months have been hard.  The last 3 weeks have been especially agonizing for me.  I'm sure that it was for Josh too.  A year ago, we have come to a decision to move back to Hawaii.  I started to plant the seed in him that it will be best for us to be closer to family.  I have to admit that when I planted the seed, it was for selfish reasons.  I was sad and depress.  I missed my family.  At the same time, I was tired of traveling back and forth between Hawaii and Virginia.  I want to have and feel at home.  I wanted to set roots.  I wanted to have friends and be committed to something.  I want to stop feeling like a transient.  With the stress mounting and frustrations with work, Josh agreed.  In addition to being close to family, I would also be able to go back to work without worrying who will take care of Sam.  We will be more financially stable.  Yes, with the cost of living in Hawaii, that might be a little hard to achieve.  But with both of us working, we felt it is possible.

As mentioned in a previous blogpost, Josh was given the opportunity to stay.  He just had a job interview recently, and he was offered the position.  He set an amount that he felt would be a fair pay based on his experiences, education, and overall abilities.  He did extensive research on how much a company would pay for someone with his resume.  When the offer came, he felt it too low and countered a reasonable pay based on his research and what he knows of the position that he was offered.  Unfortunately, his company refused to negotiate and stuck to the offer, which is below our expectations and what we felt was fair.  So last friday, Josh declined the offer.  And now, we're moving.

The initial reaction was of shock.  In the last 3-weeks, I have stopped thinking about moving because it was giving me anxiety attacks.  At the same time, Josh's manager was very encouraging and so sure that he will get the pay he desires.  He seemed very reassuring that I had thought that the possibility of us staying was almost a guarantee.  I should have known better to believe that.  There are no guarantees in life, no matter if you're at 99.9% probability.  There is that little 0.01% that it will still turn the other way.  Then came the anger.  How unfair is that?  I believe Josh works hard even with the low pay that they gave him (he was already underpaid for the job he was doing).  He worked hard to get things organize and to the point where things are smooth sailing.  He worked hard to make sure that everything is being done right and efficiently.  He has saved the company money at times because of that efficiency.  I felt that his manager and the HR was completely unfair and insulting.  They are looking at what Josh is currently making and not his resume and what he should be worth.  Since entering the company, Josh has completed his 2nd masters degree in Instructional Design (which is basically his current job).  Prior to working for Lockheed, he has an MBA.  He knows the product that he works on because that was his job in the Navy.  He is considered an expert on the products and systems that they are producing, making him very qualified to teach sailors.  He fits the job perfectly; but when all is said and done, it didn't matter.  What mattered is how much the company can save by underpaying my husband, who's done nothing but to work hard for that company.  It is frustrating.  I am angry for him.  I am insulted for him.  I am sad for him.  They don't deserve him.

I must admit that my initial anger was not for Josh.  Over the few months that we waited for this, I decided that I no longer want to move.  I wanted to stay.  And when I found out it didn't work out, I was floored.  And it wasn't easy to accept.  It's still not easy.  Over the past week, i've been trying to come to terms with it.  To see the good in the situation.  I mean, I did ask God for an answer.  I didn't asked Him for Josh to get the job or the pay.  I asked for an ANSWER.  And He did.

It took me a week to write this blog post.  I read, re-read, changed, erased, wrote, then change again.  Each time I started to write, I was in different moods:  I was sad, angry, accepting, calm, frustrated, anxious.  It's hard.  But as my sister told me tonight, everything is temporary.  Including this life.  Change is inevitable.  She told me it's okay to feel sad, to feel hurt, to feel that impending feeling of doom and loss.  Despite all the bad feelings, there were also good.  With the loss, I also gained:  wisdom, the chance to see my son grow, gained good and wonderful friends.  She told me that all things, in the end will come full circle.  And that things will be okay.

I started this blog as we were moving to Virginia 4 years ago.  And here I am, full circle, as I start my way back home to Hawaii.  My family's sojourn is not ending here.  We've only just began.  There will be more changes to come our way, who knows where we will end up next.

In all my 4-years here in Virginia, I am so grateful.  Thankful for my time, my travels, my home, my friends.  I will miss my friends.  I will miss the home that I made here.  I am also thankful that even though I am leaving the home that I made, someone will be here to take good care of it.  In a few weeks, I will say goodbye to my Virginia friends, and say Aloha to my friends back home.  As they say in Hawaiian, "Ahui hou."  Till we meet again.  Love to all.

Gigi







Monday, March 23, 2015

Roots and Wings

On nights when I perform bedtime routine with Sam (Josh primarily does bedtime), I sing to him a song I learned from high school choir called "Roots and Wings."  It is such a poignant song that it always brings tears to my eyes every time I sing it.  Even more so last night when Sam started singing with me.

Roots and wings, are precious things
It's all I have, it's all you need.
One day you'll fly, and wave goodbye
I give you roots and wings.

A place to grow, safe and strong
Where I will always be.
And when it's time, to try your wings
I will set you free.

Roots and wings, are precious things;
It's all I have, it's all you need.
One day you'll fly, and wave goodbye
I give you roots and wings.
Fly, fly away.

Sam asked me why he's going to wave goodbye.  I said, when he's all grown up, he will have to leave mommy and daddy and live your own life.  And he said, "mommy, I will never wave goodbye.  I will always be with you."

In those days/nights when I feel that I have failed as a mother, I think of this song.  I think of what kind of lessons (roots) I am instilling on Sam's young mind, so that someday he will be able to spread his wings.  And I always think to myself, tomorrow is another day; tomorrow I will do better."  And in my son's wisdom, he made me feel that I must be doing something right if he wants to stay with me.  That he loves me despite of my shortcomings.  And that someday, I will not be afraid to set him free because he knows how to love and care.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In Case You Were Wondering...

In case you were wondering why we are not back in Hawaii yet...well.

After the holidays, we have tried to keep on schedule about the time frame of when we will be moving.  Josh and I agreed that it would be best for Sam and I to fly out to Hawaii in February, get settled, find a pre-school for Sam, and I can go back to work.  Sam and I were to fly back to VA at the end of May to pack up the rest of our things, drive to California with Josh, visit family on the way to Cali, and then fly back to Hawaii.  In the in between, Josh was supposed to keep working until the end of May, get the house ready to be rented out, then go back with us to Hawaii around beginning of June.  Sounded simple right.  I was okay with it.

Then came the discussion... what would it take for us to stay?  Good question.  Many times over, we've talked about the pros and cons of living in Virginia and Hawaii.  Many times over, the conclusion is that we needed to be close to family.  We HAVE to be close to family to keep our sanity and to begin to be a couple again.  We need to go out on dates, have time for each other.  Josh and I felt that we don't spend enough time as a couple.  The advantage of having family is that we will have someone to watch Sam on those date nights.  We will have "couple" time again.  On days when it gets stressful and too overwhelming, I can have my parents watch Sam so I can get a breather.  I can go back to work, be a career woman again. We will improve our income if we both work, and being with family will allow that.  We will be more comfortable financially. We won't be "alone" during holidays.  Sounds good.

 But if we move to Hawaii, I'll be working.  Instead of Sam having a parent at home everyday, he won't have any.  I won't be able to spend as much time as I can, watch him grow the way I want to.  Public education is not as good, so therefore if we want to provide him with good education, he will have to attend private school.  That's costly.  If we buy a home, it will be smaller than what we have now, and probably 5 times more expensive.  He won't get to watch the color change in the fall, play in the snow during winter time, see the cherry blossoms in the spring, and eat ice cream at Nathan's in the summer.

I can't even begin to tell you how often this played in my mind.  How agonizing it is to choose.  I've thought about it over and over.  The more I thought about it, the more that I didn't want to move anymore.  The more that I just wanted to stay.  The move will prove costly not to mention time consuming; we'd be starting all over again.  Josh said that I've had a lot of time to think about it and he's right.  In one conversation with a friend, she asked me what is the most important reason why we're moving.  I said it's because we want to be close to family.  She asked me, "what about YOUR family"? Meaning Josh and Sam.  What about them?  She asked, "what would be best for YOUR family?"  It's interesting when you put it that way...My family back home are and always will be family.  But I also have MY family now.  And the way I see things changes when you put it that way.

Staying here would mean better opportunities, not only for Josh's career but for Sam as well.  Sam will have a better education, more opportunities to explore (I'm not saying he's not going to get that from being in Hawaii, but it will be more costly), more possibilities.  If and when Josh gets frustrated with work, there are many job opportunities here.  I can always go back to work when Sam goes to school.  We can experience many things:  the culture, the history of this place.  We can just hop in the car and drive somewhere, as opposed to spending so much time traveling via airplane.  This is home now, it has become home for MY family.  We've made friends, set roots.  I have book club, and dinner club each month.  I know women who are amazing and loving, and selfless.  And part of me is having a hard time letting it go.

So going back to the question:  What would it take for us to stay?  Financial stability.  An income that will make us financially comfortable that will allow us to travel back to see our families, for as often as financially feasible.  That way, we can still see them, visit, go there to spend the holidays.  Josh and I want to be able afford not only a babysitter,  but also to afford going on a date.  I think it would be pointless to have money to pay for a babysitter and not have enough for dinner and a movie, right?  In my mind, it's that simple.  But it's only in my mind.

Josh has been given an opportunity.  He just finished an interview with his company for a job that will basically be a promotion.  If he gets the job, and he accepts the offer, we will be staying.  If not we will be moving sometime in the summer.  The next couple of weeks will be tough.  It is already hard on me.  I am having anxiety attacks as I type this.  It is hard waiting.  In our married life, Josh and I have lived mostly in limbo.  And here we are again.  But God is faithful, and I know and pray that He will lead us to where He wants us to be.  So in case you were wondering, this is where we are.  I hope and pray that we will have an answer soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Open your Bible

A busy life is a poor excuse to neglect ones spiritual life. I am guilty of that. Last year, certain events have kept us from returning to church. It's so easy to say that faith should not be placed on the leaders of the church. That they are also human who falters. They also fail. But how can you trust the church, if the people that is supposed to lead you, does the very thing that he preaches you not do?

I am not good with words, and maybe what I just said didn't make sense. Since the Senior Pastor from the church we used to attend failed to lead by example, Josh and I have stopped going. And we just stopped looking for a new home church. I've always believed that what is most important is my relationship with GOD and how I live my life according to His will. I constantly pray for His guidance in every aspect. Lately, i've been having this feeling, this tug in my stomach, that what I am doing is not enough. Something is amiss.

 I keep thinking and wondering what that missing part is. What am I looking for. What will help me settle this uneasiness that I am feeling right now, with all the many uncertainties that my family and I are facing. Then I realized, that despite my praying and asking for God's guidance, I am not looking at Him. That my prayers are not as sincere. That I am distracted. I need more. I need to focus on Him. I need to go back to Him. But where to start? Last week, I came across something on my instagram that planted a seed in my heart. I pushed it aside, thinking I don't have time for it. A nagging part of me keeps saying, make time for it. If I have time to read books for book club, crochet my hat, play with Sam, look at FB and instagram, then I have time for this. I still put it off. Today, well something came over me. Something made me type the web address. Something made me decide that I have time today to look and see. As I was scrolling on the webpage, I saw a study that says "Open your Bible."  The website:

http://shereadstruth.com

 I have to confess it's been a while since I opened my Bible. But today I did. And I read a few scriptures. Sam came to the room and asked me to read him something. I told him that I will read the story of Samuel to which he was named after. Before I knew it, I was in tears. I was overwhelmed. How did I come to this? How did I forget? So today it dawned on me, maybe this is where I start again. Maybe it's what I need to find that part missing in my life. And all I had to do was open my bible.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139: 23-24.