Happiness Definition

We shouldn’t have to ask people we love to choose between Family and Self when they tell us what makes them happy. It can be both. If that’s an impossibility, then no one will be completely happy. Everyone loses. No amount of pretending and substitution will fill the void when someone irreplaceable leaves.

Happiness and contentment, so near yet so far. Simple yet complicated. Free yet never enough nor easily accessed. If I can define Happiness, it will look and feel like this picture captured by my iPhone camera. Happiness however, can’t truly be defined in words until we experience it ourselves. Happiness constantly changes, comes and goes like the Seasons. No one owns it nor can contain it, not even the richest person in this Planet. Big Sur, CA 2021.

Observing the people around me, I see different faces doing both similar and different things in search for the same, Happiness.

We travel. We take road trips. We love spending time at the beach Summer or not. Why? We may come up with many answers but can be summed up into one word, Happiness. Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, May 2021.

It’s easy to be numb. It’s easy to lose sight of self and be swept in with the seemingly never ending demands of work and people. It’s easy to feel nothing. Even easier to get hurt, feel sad, angry or frustrated. So we do what we do to see and feel Happiness. It doesn’t matter if it’s swift and fleeting. It doesn’t matter if we are to lose it as soon as we find it. What matters is we get to have it again and again. Like air to survive, the heart needs it to know it’s still alive. Like an addicting drug, we crave its euphoric effects and go into bad withdrawals when we run out of it.

I go to places both familiar and new. I hike on top and edges some consider dangerous. People call them adventure. I always thought it was just a way to cope and survive. End of Laguna Beach, May 2021.

A life without Happiness is not living at all. This is true for every Human being. Acknowledging this truth sets apart the Contented and the Miserable, the Pessimist and the Dreamers. No one is better than the other. Happiness is not a competition. It’s not about who gets the most. It’s personal. It’s unique. It’s genuine. It’s natural.

All of whats left of the Mermaid was her tail because everything else were taken away piece by piece. She was too trusting, generous and selfless she forgot she needed to love and protect herself too. Our stories are not that different from hers. Siren’s Cove, 2021.

The need and search for Happiness will cease to exist only when we are dead. I don’t think it’s overrated nor an exaggeration. It’s a basic right and freedom for all. Everyone deserves to enjoy it, rich, poor, middle income, ordinary, famous, the forgotten, friends and enemies.

Birds fly because they can. So why can’t we? Nothing to do with having wings.

Happiness yesterday was a family road trip. Today, a walk at a Rose Garden Park. Both beautiful but the Happiness didn’t feel the same. I guess, the heart has preference or maybe the moment just didn’t feel right because I didn’t get much sleep. Whatever the reason, Happiness took more effort and I’m still craving for it. Oh well, Happiness reset begins again tomorrow. Perhaps it will feel just right.

We are beautiful because we are happy and free. The moment they are taken away, we fade, wither and eventually die from within. Many are alive but don’t feel that they are. Once they were beautiful too. Can be again if our love is bigger than our pride and anger.

“The greatest of them all is Love.”

Mom, know you are missed, loved, thought of and appreciated everyday. Happiness will never be complete without you. If you see me smiling in those old social media pictures, it’s for the world. Was never real. Know I am still your Son, that never changed, only silenced with lies. Just thinking of you now made me happier and that is a luxury not a normalcy like it used to be. My heart smiles both with joy and sadness. Still haven’t accepted the fact that this is the definition of our Happiness forced by people and circumstances. May my deep Love, Longing and Prayers find you. May it be more powerful than the scars and the Demons. We may not get our Happy Ending on Earth, but perhaps in Heaven we will find our forever Happily Ever After.

2015, a dream came true in California. I was so happy but there was still a void because of someone irreplaceable. People assume I am okay because I smile a lot and make people laugh or make their day better. A person can still give happiness to others and still not having it themselves because it’s their nature to keep giving while supply last. Especially close to the Ocean, I often catch myself dreaming, hoping that everything the heart wished for will find her. Point Lobos, Monterey 5 years ago.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. May Happiness finds you. May Happiness finds us. I Love You Always.

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River Inn Big Sur

Old town charm, new exciting Nature adventure discovery. This is what to me describes River Inn Big Sur.

The secret to its magic is to come closer and just be lost in the moments that follows.

Few images pop up in our Google search every time we search for places to stay in Big Sur but it never captured our curiosity until the day we decided to stop by to check what it is that draws travelers here. Lo and behold, we were missing something magical for so long.

Anyhow, never too late to dip our feet in cold river water while drinking apple cider and margarita.

How it feels? Like placing our feet in a bucket of ice water.

Nature so intimate it’s like we’re in a romantic lovebirds spell sipping sweet love potions.

Chill and chilled.

So, next bucket list, stay over night or two. We want to dip our feet in that magical refreshing river water just a bit longer. We did however get to take home a bit of it’s magic, and it made us happy…very happy.

Oops…almost! Slippery river bed and alcohol, not a safe mix but they are so fun together.

Let Nature surprise you this weekend.

Definitely going back for more.

Be curious. Be creative. Give in to the magic, relax and let go.

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Fatal and Tragedy, We’ll Never Know When

Wild Superblooms waving and smiling to drivers to stop on the roadside to celebrate Spring. So we did.

It was a very short hike but it was more than enough to be thankful.

Acrobatic Kite Surfers dancing and flying in hypnotizing synchrony with the tumbling Ocean waves, inviting people to stop and watch a spectacular show for free. So we did.

Some wait, others just do it. Others remember the good, others only think of regrets. Everyone are given the opportunity to change down to their last lifeline. Not everyone uses them wisely.

5 minutes of stop near the road cliff, a very long non-moving traffic happened on both sides of the coastal highway. Emergency siren lights visible from afar, alerting all vehicles to halt. A gut feeling that something bad happened follows.

After 30 minutes of waiting and confusion why fire trucks and police cars haven’t left, a thoughtful driver who turned back told the other drivers, “2-hour wait. Fatal accident.”

Bikers are easy to miss. They sometimes just zoom dangerously close on the side of our car or cut us off but it’s NOT an excuse to loose our focus and not see them nor drive mad on the road. If we are angry or distracted, we stop, take a deep breath and try to calm down. Not worth dying or killing someone accidentally.

No one can explain how, but close to the entrance of Waddell Beach where normally drivers stop or slowdown, a woman driving her car and a man on his motorcycle had a head on collision. The man died on the spot. The woman survived but wounded with guilt, trauma and blame that may haunt her for the rest of her life. It was something unimaginable, dreadful. No one saw it coming.

If I didn’t stop, I wouldn’t have experience this.

We’ll never know when fatal and tragedy strikes. In a split second, a dream can turn into nightmare. Minutes to hours of fun could end with horror and regret.

Her seasonal allergies had been awful this year but she faced discomfort to create a happy memory with me and our son.

Wife the next day after Googling more information about the incident told me, “The time you stopped and took pictures was about the same time the vehicular accident happened.”

I want to see and feel ALIVE so I go repeatedly to places where I can find them with the people that helps me dream them constantly. Sitting on a folding chair at one of my favorite spot in Big Sur, where ALIVE comes to LIFE. Spring Break 2021.

Fatal and tragedy could have been me with my family. Perhaps it wasn’t my time or theirs. Perhaps God was telling me something and giving me another chance to do whatever it is he wants me to accomplish. Perhaps, it was just a coincidence and has nothing to do with my decision to stop and appreciate a moment.

Fatal and tragedy, the when and the how only God knows. We can only pray we have enough time to prepare and say our goodbyes. We can learn from the events that we witness or shrug them off as nothing.

For now, we try to live meaningfully well.

For now, we try to catch as many sunsets and dance with nature and people who matters in a beautiful harmonious surrender.

We can’t afford to miss on life anymore nor ignore it’s signs.

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Pfeiffer Beach Purple Sand Nature Wonder

Adventure starts with trying not with wishing.

After finding the challenging one way narrow road with no name, we were led to a hidden secret Nature wonder, Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur.

Wife said, “No.” Husband said, “Yes.” Son gets to break the tie. In the end, everyone was glad adventure and spontaneity won.

Purple Sand? Is that even real or possible? It is in this California Dream.

People can’t help themselves. They step on and ruin what is beautiful.

Purple minerals from the mountain rocks find its way into the shore mixing it with the golden white sand.

We picked some pebbles and threw it back to the Sea. I drew a heart. He wrote a word that starts with B. Told him it’s not nice nor appropriate. I was laughing however while erasing the word because it is true that people act like it in the real world.

Some sand areas looks ordinary like any other beach we’d been, others magic. Settling is not an option.

The last several months, he became my adventure Buddy. He became my best friend that I could trust wholeheartedly. Something I don’t have much nowadays except my wife.

It’s our comeback visit after 5 years. First was visually more incredible because almost everywhere was purple. Second, not much. So finding more purple needed more walking, climbing and discovery which means more adventure. Thrill wise, much better!

It’s feels good to still be surprised and be lost in a moment that reminds you magic is real and possible.

We climbed the sharp rocks and steep sands. We dreamed and had nice Father and Son conversations while sitting on the safest top. When he smiles and laughs, it outshines everything around him. We made each other happy. This place made us happy. This is why Family Roadtrips matters to me and him. These are what my happiest moments and memories are made of. I will never trade it for the World or people, not after what they taught me.

Got few cuts and bruises but the experience, moments and memories are so worth it. No pain, no joy.

Happiness and Freedom are one of the best gifts we could ever give to those we love. They are rare and precious as the extraordinary Purple Sand. They are also the hardest to give and let go.

He is beautiful and he doesn’t even know it. He gives me and his mom happiness like it’s the most natural thing to do and give. Children are a wonder because they still have that genuine generosity, kindness innocence and purity many adults have already lost. They are a vision of hope and goodness. They are the real angels and heroes in this very messed up, broken World. Always protect and love them no matter what. Never exchange them for anything or we will regret it for the rest of our lives. That’s guaranteed!

But don’t we owe it to ourselves to discover and try happy? Don’t the people we care deserve them? Don’t we deserve them?

Keyhole Arch that turned into a door. Nature saw the need to be bigger to welcome everyone. Many Humans saw an opportunity to use and abuse Nature like it’s inexhaustible. Common, we all did it!

Our life, our choice. Our story, our magic.

It only took 2 days to remind me how selfishly cruel and stressful people can be after a week of being away from work. Then I look at the pictures and remember the good and the blessings. I do still dream to win the lotto or a skyrocket stocks jackpot, so I can quit a system that just enslaves people with unhappiness and misery. Nothing wrong in wishing to be free to do what we love and answer what God has been calling us to do. We may feel like slaves to something or someone, but we are not. The promise land of everything we hope is better is real and possible. At the right time, all it needs is our choice to take another leap of faith. Don’t let the lie and fear be the truth.

Our time, our adventure, our new beginnings.

Never settle for less for what makes us happier. We deserve what we believe we deserve. We stop worrying of what others may say. Our heart, our joy.

No stress life is a constant work in progress. To say it isn’t? Hello?

Like Nature, we are meant to be free. Like the Purple Sand, we are a beautiful wonder, every grain of magic and imperfection.

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17-Mile Drive of Pebbles on the Sand

When the Sun is out to play, 17-Mile Drive transforms into an Oasis of beauty and escape.

We can go back to the same place and experience everything differently. My son was 10 when we drove to 17-Mile Drive. It was raining. The Sky was crying all day and the Ocean grieving with it. So depressing that we lost interest to come back. 5 years later we decided to give it another go and this is what we saw…and exactly what we felt…Oasis like no other.

On a rare day, a portal into the realm of Pebbles, a multi verse like our own opens up revealing its hidden history of secrets and life lessons as valuable as every grain of its sugary soft white sands overlooking sparkling emeralds and sapphires of the Pacific.

For a fee, our scenic adventure through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove gave us a glimpse up close of what rich people do for fun and relaxation. We get to enjoy their beautiful beaches, and marvel how huge their houses are. Mostly, it was Nature that got us all excited.

People have Doppelgänger Pebbles on the Sand. Some resemble their human persona, others their extreme opposite.

“I was here.” These pile of stones I built with my own hands. These flowers I picked myself.

Some Pebbles are alone by themselves screaming invincibly or living in blissful quiescence on purpose. Some Pebbles claw each other down dragging, drowning one another whenever they notice a bit of good and sunshine in the lives of other Pebbles.

Every Pebble has a story polished and shaped constantly by the ever changing elements of Nature.

Some Pebbles help each other to reach the top to experience together the light, joy and the best this World has to offer. Some Pebbles gives hope with act of kindness just the way Nature intended. Other Pebbles drain dry hope every opportunity they get.

“I am myself when close to the Sea.” A restless person can so relate with The Restless Sea and what calms it.

Some Pebbles will throw a rock to another Pebble because hurting and destruction is what they do. Some Pebbles will just watch because they do not care or are too afraid.

If only someone pointed to Joe how to get a land title so he too can own a piece of this oasis, he or his children probably would still be here welcoming tourists.

Few Pebbles will sacrifice their lives to defend and save other Pebbles. These Pebbles are the rarest and are near extinction because good Pebbles are being hunted and eradicated. They are a constant threat to Power, Politics and Earthly Riches.

Only Golfers and their Caddies can step inside this beauty, everyone else watching behind the fence. View actually better from afar.

The kind of Pebble one becomes is not written in stone. It is written on sand, constantly changing to give as many chances and choices for change.

Beautiful is seeing and accepting everything in their entirety. Beautiful is appreciating all parts and not just pieces we find pleasant, safe, easy or comfortable.

A Pebble is free to stay stuck or it can can evolve into something magnificent the way God envision a Man and Woman should be, in his image and likeness.

Bird Rock is where all kinds of birds are welcomed to rest till their next flight.

A Pebble can inspire other Pebbles to also enjoy the good life or take it away because of Greed, Egoistic Grandeur and Apathy.

“One Life. Spend it right.”

One day, a young Pebble ask several questions many Pebbles just accepted as okay, “Why so much land and water that stretched beyond what my eyes can see but only a few can have them? Why is there so much space only to be made unaffordable and unattainable? Why is sharing and equal opportunity so difficult? Why only a few enjoy God’s gifts of creation when he made them for all?” No Pebble was able to answer his questions because everyone was guilty for allowing them to happen.

The famous Lone Cypress. Strong, resilient, brave, content, simple, generous, honest…beautiful.

Life will never be fair for as long as the Laws of Men holds dominion and supremacy over the Laws of God.

A Pebble thrown into a body of water creates a ripple effect. What ripple effect are we making? How do we wish to be remembered?

We take Family Roadtrips not just to discover places and feel happy. We do it to discover ourselves and each other. Great Family bonding and memories are everything so I’m investing on them. One life, so I’m trying to spend it right the way I want it to be right.

Do we shine to give light or are we responsible that there’s no more light?

Are we Takers or are we Givers?

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Cherry Blossoms San Francisco Japan Town

We went for our son’s Pokemon cards but San Francisco’s Japan Town gave us more and a lot of first.

To my Blogger Friends, thank you for helping me see, appreciate and celebrate the many seasons. When I take a picture, it’s not just to remind me that I was there, but that we all were there. The picture becomes more, because it means more.

First time to see it’s beautiful Cherry Blossoms in full bloom.

Never miss this year’s magic and surprises. Take a break and find your joy however you want it. Next year is too far and things don’t come back exactly the same…if it comes back.

First time to see the Japan Town square turn into a festive park where friends and families are having picnic and tea party.

It’s nice to see different people coming together. I can see their smiles through their eyes. Laughter filled the air. It was nice to witness Happy.

First time to taste authentic Takoyaki. Whatever’s in it, we love it.

Delicious knows no culture. If it’s good, it’s good.

First time to experience the unraveling of delicious flavors and texture of mango ice cream wrapped with peaches, corn flakes and green tea crepe. So good, we ate it down to the tip.

We felt guilty eating this. Too cute and adorable.

San Francisco wasn’t in our bucket list this weekend but our nature hike led us to it. Glad we did because everyone had a great time.

Best view from our morning hike overlooking Golden Gate and Bakers Beach. This flowers are in full bloom, also our first. It’s possible, the flowers were already there during the time of the original settlers, the Native Americans of the Ohlone Tribe. Other than historical pictures, there’s no trace they existed nor have local descendants in this melting pot city.

PS. Just want to thank all the San Franciscans and Californians for still following the mask mandates. Everyone I saw was wearing mask and the only time it was off was when people were eating. A sigh of relief in comparison to places where masks are already being burned and caring for other people’s safety is gone. The rest of the seasons are promising for Californians and it’s because they earned it. It’s a relief. It’s hope that soon we will get our normal back. Summer will feel like Summer once again.

We haven’t had a long hike together for awhile. He prefers to stay in the car with his mom during unplanned stop overs for quick nature hikes. Recently, he got into fitness and diet to loose weight. Lucky me, more Father and Son bonding adventure time. Huge parental opportunity because he is growing up fast and the times I spent with him will never be enough.

Adventure is a choice. It is free. It can be anything we want to escape the ordinary.

So, take one or a dozen now. I assure you, what we have today will not happen exactly the same tomorrow. Time machine is not yet available…or is it?

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Mask, People and Demons

We all have our masks. We wear them everyday at work and places we can’t show who we are and what we feel.

People see what they to want to see. People believe what they want to believe. Never really about me or about you. That’s the world we are born to whether it’s family, acquaintances or strangers. Hasn’t really changed, just modified to keep up with the times. We evolved to adapt. Take off the layers of masks in history and it will reveal the same faces just more acceptable in the present.

We wear that mask to hide and protect our hearts from the familiar, repetitive pain, judgement and rejection. We wear it because of fear and anxiety. We wear it to fit in. We wear it so we won’t get shamed, beaten or eaten emotionally, psychologically and physically by the angry, the jealous, the wicked.

We don’t have to explain, justify, make excuses nor compromise the mask we wear. It is enough that we wear it because of them.

We wear a mask because we value privacy in a world obsessed with “tell all, show all, gain all.” We wear it to protect our secrets, choices and rights that others will always see as a threat or find difficult to accept.

My wife may not like how I want to celebrate my birthday or my days off from work but love made her follow my heart. That is enough to let my guard down and take off the mask.

Many times, the mask doesn’t even feel like a mask because we wear it so well. However, there are triggers that instantly reveal gems of realness and vulnerability during unguarded moments.

Where I’m happiest, many will never understand including people who think they knew me since I was a child.

So, just because I’m laughing doesn’t mean I’m happy. Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean I’m okay. Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I’m sad or lonely. Just because people assume my world looks perfect doesn’t mean it is. I never pretended it was. People made assumptions and created a picture that fits their narrative. The mask worked.

I don’t need a big cake. Too much calories and to much fuss. I’m good with the simple as long as the view and the moment makes me happy. Isn’t that what a Birthday should be? Should be all about the celebrant not pleasing the spectators.

Imperfection keeps me inspired to strive and thrive. Imperfection keeps me humble, appreciative, connected. Imperfection is the true face, the mask just a mirror of what people want to see, think or believe.

My favorite spot and it was all mine. No need for mask here.

People who genuinely care are willing to experience the hurts and your scary unknowns so they can see, understand and know the real you. They are willing to listen to what you are going through and stay to help you find solutions to your problems. They are willing to risk themselves for you. They are ready to fall in love and fight for love with you.

I was alone but I never felt more connected to everything around me.

Until we find that person we are willing to expose and reveal that hidden part of ourselves, we keep wearing the mask and we wear it confidently well.

We should not be afraid of danger. We should be thankful we were warned so we stop wasting whatever is left of our time.

On a busy Monday, few days before my 50th, co-workers surprised me with a birthday song, balloons, cheesecake and a gift just before I started my shift. The mask just fell off. Their thoughtfulness and caring gesture had me off guard. I was smiling, laughing, out of words, blushing even because I was really happy. They took time to create a real powerful moment stronger than the why’s of the mask.

My unguarded moments either look or feel like this. I share it to those ready for them…and ready for me.

For a day, it felt great to hit the golden milestone. It didn’t feel as scary. I didn’t have to face getting older alone nor eat that delicious cheesecake by myself. Friends became Family and that was one of the triggers.

On our way home, we picked seasonal wildflowers.

It’s okay to have a mask to protect ourselves but it’s also okay to show the beautiful, sensitive, amazing person behind it every now and then. We do what we do to survive our purpose. We do what’s necessary.

Told her it’s worth getting out of the car.

Look around you. Look at the mirror. Who is that incredible person? Can’t wait to know you. Can’t wait to know myself.

Adventure Partner did this flower arrangement. Best things in life are free and beautiful.

“Some people run away to escape their demons. Some let it consume them because surrender is easier. Some wear their mask to overcome, be invincible and win their life back victorious.”

I made my wishes. Wife and son blew the candles while I enjoyed and captured the moment. No mask because they deserve it. No mask because it is a day that was about me and how I wanted it to be.

Until people are ready for the all, they will only get the usual that fits their comfort. The best they will never know nor experience because they never proven themselves deserving of it.

I see details on things people don’t even notice. I see something good where others keeps whining, stressing or bitching about. They have no clue how lucky they are or may be they are that miserable and bitter. Whatever, life is too short to waste on negativity and pessimism.

In case people haven’t notice, everyone is wearing mask now, just took a global pandemic to expose the truth and the need for it.

Blessed are the ready and the grateful for they will accept both the good and the bad events in their lives and those around them as an opportunity.”

California Dreamers knew this place well. It’s a favorite roadtrip must stop for everything strawberries for decades. It sells some favorites but all that sits in this vacant space to welcome hungry travelers are gone. It’s like these in many small owned restaurants, stores and cafes. It happened because people allowed it. That is the true person behind the mask of many.

Greatness doesn’t simply happen. It is a unified effort made by all for all. To feel it belongs only to a worthy few will be its downfall. How deep the fall? The higher the pride.

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Capitola, Greece without the Passport

From door to sand and sea, rows of pastel colored square houses at Capitola Seaside Village brings back child-like curiosity and imagination.

It’s our secret little Santorini, Greece in this surfer beach lover playground of Santa Cruz County California.

It’s the times we got lost in a beautiful moment that we remember how good life was not the times we got lost impressing people and chasing the world.

So, why spend thousands of dollars on International Travel when you can just drive and pay for gas.

Why travel stressed from origin to destination and repeat because of the pandemic restrictions and its what if’s when we have options for quick relaxing beach escapes .

Why not a day trip or overnight getaway that takes you to another country without the hassle of applying for a passport and proof of COVID-19 vaccination?

The California Dream saved us when we needed it the most but we made sure it’s a story about us, the joy and struggles, the beginning and the work in progress. We made a huge mistake listening to other people’s dreams before, NOT happening again.

We are now at the corner of having COVID-19 in control through vaccination. Why can’t we just wait a bit longer doubling down safety measures until the other half of our fellow Americans gets vaccinated from the more infectious, deadlier variants like the B.1.1.7? What’s a few more weeks or months of patience when it means everyone gets to enjoy visiting other countries where everyone are also vaccinated and protected? We can’t be in this vicious cycle of countries infecting other countries then blaming everyone else except oneself with anger and violence.

61,000 more Americans mostly unvaccinated and at the prime of their lives will die by July 1st as Governors after Governors lift all safety mandates including the effective lifesaver mask wearing. Together with full reopening and mass gatherings, that hopeful corner may turn around towards disaster.

It’s okay to revisit places and moments where we are most happy for as much and as long as we need.

December to January death peak of 3,000-4,000 a day wasn’t that long ago. Unless we are God, we are not certain that this won’t happen again. Pride, ignorance and no protection are what fuels COVID-19 surges. The constant mutations just made it easier to increase hospitalizations. The pattern of surges had been like that and all are preventable.

Global travel now sounds liberating, but experiencing our best years ahead is a better long term investment. We get to have our fun moments again and again and not just only once or twice.

Signs are there to remind us to slow down and be more cautious. Age never a guarantee.

Greece without the passport? Why not.

If we can imagine it, then it’s real enough.

Take a picture because you want to capture and relive an amazing moment NOT so we can please others and present a lifestyle that was never real. There’s more to life than Instagram and Facebook. Best adventure is no social media. Delete the app before it deletes the real you.

There are a lot of great adventures and destinations from minutes to hours around us. Being a local tourist in my side of California made me discover gems and treasures otherwise I wouldn’t have known if my idea of vacation is flying out somewhere new. It took a pandemic for me to realize the blessings I already have. So Amen to that and wishing all an Easter full of life and lots of happy new adventures.

“Imagination is magic that can take us anywhere.”

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God’s Miracle of Second Chances

2015, 8 days after our 2 weeks Summer Road Trip in California, we left Texas that was home for 9 years and move to California to follow a dream. We left everything behind, bad memories included except 9 luggages and our son’s favorite Lego Star War’s Ship that I carefully hand carried with me in the plane.

We get brainwashed that having more and bigger will make us happy or feel good about ourselves when having less and simplicity are the secret needed ingredients.

We have no idea what the city looks like nor knew anyone but there’s this profound calmness that everything will be alright, that this will be our new home where we can start fresh with everything new, kind and beautiful.

Room is where I sleep, Home is where my adventures comes to life.” Pacifica, CA 2017.

5 years after, wife showed me the picture of our son in our first one bedroom apartment kitchen eating cereals looking so happy and excited. It made us remember how it felt the first year of discovering our very own family adventures in California. It was exhilarating and fun. It’s like being reborn and life is presenting itself more colorful, positive, inspiring.

Watching him see the world is like looking at my own heart when it was young and pure. Dream your dream and never be afraid to pursue it. Montara, CA, 2016.

Not everyone gets a second chance much more, several chances to have miracles happen in their lives. Not everyone who has fallen is able to rise up and have things turned around to something even better. Not everyone gets so lucky to be given their dream job among hundreds in a National Government Job listing at the right time at the right place beyond what the heart has prayed for.

We gave up the big house with everything in it so we can build a real home where we can find our heart and soul again. When we dream for ourselves, happiness and freedom comes easier but if our dreams are about wanting to have what others have, we we will never be happy nor find contentment. We will miss out on what we really love that matters wasting 30 years of time and youth enslaving ourselves for Bank & Mortgage Lenders. Until we have the home & property fully paid, it’s never ours. It’s one of the biggest lie created by capitalism. We chose apartment living to have more quality time and be close to everything we enjoy doing together. We chose our dream life over the dream house. We chose us. Carmel, CA 2018

Just when everything felt hopeless, just when I’ve lost everything I worked hard for, I found God and the dreams we will venture together. It was powerful. I felt dead, but he brought me back to life. I was lost, super lost but his love and mercy found me no matter how undeserving I was. God saved me and helped me fight my battles. We won over pain, loss and impossibility together.

He is my miracle. When I needed a reminder of what joy and hope feels like, I just look at his face. Carmel Mission Church 2015

Remember and appreciate the many miracles in our lives. Second chance for restart is just a dream and prayer away.

“Innocence is like an addicting euphoric drug for the trapped and the miserable.” Never too late to go back to what you really want, not what your influencers are telling you what you should want. It’s your life, not theirs. Don’t let them corrupt or destroy the authenticity and pureness of your dreams. Monterey, CA 2015

We are worthy of saving. We deserve blessings of happiness, love and everything better.

2015 Summer San Diego. The vacation turned into a permanent staycation. Why experience only a few days of happiness and when everyday is an option? Find the right person, place, job where we can have more chances for being happier. Never let anyone place you in their box, it’s called imprisonment. Get out while you can.

“The journey will never be easy nor it will be boring. Enjoy the good times, dream stronger during the bad times. Never stop fighting for what you believe will bring you happiness. Don’t be afraid or be ashamed to ask help if you need it. Rejections will be plenty, but few acts of kindness are all we’ll ever need to create a life that we are awesomely alive.”

I started writing this story the day we flew out of Texas. So many things happened since then both great and not so. Overall, no regrets, just very thankful that I took a leap of faith for myself because now I am free.

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The Other Karen

Until last year’s rise of Anti-Racism Movement, I didn’t know Karen is a widely used name to label a female person who commits Racial shaming, assault or prejudice to a Person of Color. Videos of them were all over You Tube, Social Media feeds like Insta and FB. It was all over the news and was the start of people getting concerned ( NOT authorities nor our government ) with the increasing trend of Asian and Pacific Islander Hate Crimes, Pandemic Essential Healthcare “Heroes” included.

Art has no price tag when it comes to how it meant for the Artist.

Personally, I think the label is offensive, degrading, insensitive. Karen is a common name around the world, and many person named Karen had been a victim of Racism, Inequality and Discrimination themselves.

So today, I’m sharing a different Karen. A Karen that is selfless, brave, kind, just, wonderful , humble, generous, caring, an inspiration to those who took time to know her. A Karen that is a wife, mother, daughter and sister. A Karen that is friend and family to all. A Karen that sees people for the goodness of their hearts and not by how people look or their social status.

Rich girl, boy with no bank account but has big dreams. Love doesn’t discriminate. Love is hope and courage against all odds and unfortunate events that will try to break it apart. Love heals. Love help us see life as it should be…beautiful, colorful, happy.

The Other Karen Series

I haven’t painted for more than 10 years, but my wife kept asking me to make her one. She has this favorite artist that she wants me to get my inspiration from but until weeks after I was done with the painting did I realize the face of the woman is her.

What the heart knows, the hand holding a paintbrush simply follows. She is my Karen, the loving wife who carried my heart when pain and sadness was too much that giving up on life was an easier alternative. She is my Wonder Woman who fought for me when no one did. She believed in my dreams jumping from one country to another, State to State, city to city not knowing what awaits at our destination.

Behind a man still standing is a strong woman who supports him through his worst and when he is most vulnerable.

Karen is not a label nor a tool to be used for a movement. She is a person. She is a human being like you and me. And right know, she’s preparing my coffee with lots of love to make sure my day will be more than just okay.

She’s a homebody who would rather do kitchen and home stuff but does not think twice when I asked her to go to the beach with me knowing how much I needed the ocean. The Karen I know will choose first what makes me and our son happy before her happiness. This is the Karen I want people to remember because she is truly a beautiful person with a beautiful name.

“True richness and beauty of people are not measured with money, power, popularity or aesthetic superficiality but how rich and beautiful their heart is with genuine acts of love and kindness.”

#StopAsianHateCrimes …Stop Violence on Women.

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Disney Thrill Rides: To Scream or not to Scream?

Can’t sing, laugh or scream? Still the Happiest Place on Earth? May the thousands that were laid off be able to go back to work soon and experience once again the magic in their lives. When workers feel their magic, Disney visitors feel that magic.

Multiple choice. Which activities of daily living spreads the most COVID-19?

A. Breathing

B. Talking

C. Eating

D. Singing

Disney without live singing is not a full Disney experience. “Remember me…la, la, la, la,” on lip synch? Nooooooo!

E. Cursing

F. Shouting

G. Huffing and Puffing while exercising

H. Screaming

Scream with your heart not with your mouth.” Interesting safety concept. Can the heart really contain those 90 degrees drop and 360 degrees loop without making a sound? Is that even heart-healthy?

Imagine riding a roller coaster and NOT being able to scream? Imagine riding a roller coaster where everyone is screaming with mouths wide open while the COVID-19 contagious droplets are being passed around from one mouth to the next? One scenario is funny and unrealistic, the other may extend the thrill ride to the Emergency Room.

I miss seeing people genuinely smile. I miss seeing faces that are truly happy. We took so many things for granted until COVID-19 came. Realistically, it will take years before pictures like this will happen again without safety restrictions and paranoia. For now, they are beautiful memories that I will always be thankful for. Practically, I stopped making bucket list & just following the heart in the present. Surprise is not planned but comes spontaneously.

It’s nice to be able to laugh now about the pandemic and the many crazy things it did to our lives and lifestyle but just not too much. Laughing is choice letter I.

Our last Disney parade February 2020. No one was wearing mask then. Traveling made “It’s a small World,” possible but it also spread the virus so quick that we were in total lockdown 3 weeks after. We love saying, “Believe,” but we didn’t believe the warnings of other countries like Italy and by CDC until it was too late.

Laughter is the best medicine…with a mask and 6 feet distance, vaccinated or not.

“I got rhythm, I got music
I got my family
Who could ask for anything more?
I got daisys, in green pastures
I got my life back
Who could ask for anything more?

Science hasn’t changed on the ABC’s of COVID-19 spread and prevention, only our beliefs to justify our actions.

No such thing as a “Happy Ending,” just a “Happy Moment.” Moments are better because it’s infinity and beyond. Ending, is just it, “The End.”

LOL Weekend because we all need a diversion from the constant bad, sad and shitty news. Too much I’m silently screaming “A Whole New World Please,” to let it all out. How about you?

Our family loves food. So yes, we miss indoor dining fun big time. But it does not feel worth the risk yet and we kind of got spoiled with the convenience of Door Dash and Uber Eats.

Hakuna matata? Sure!

I don’t have to see the fireworks to believe the magic is still there.

“And can you feel the love tonight?
It is where we are
It’s enough for this wide-eyed wanderer
That we got this far
And can you feel the love tonight
How it’s laid to rest?
It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds

Believe the very Best.”

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Stop Racial Hate and Killings…Asian Lives Matters Too.

All Lives Matter Is A Lie

A country where its vulnerable citizens are afraid to leave their homes is a country that failed in its promise to serve and protect.

Until a year ago, I didn’t realize people have to worry for their life and safety for looking too Asian in America, even in the most diverse tolerant State like California.

Not all of us knows Kung Fu and we all don’t look the same. We are NOT responsible for people’s actions, behavior and attitude that made the U.S. No. 1 in the World for COVID-19 cases and deaths. We are just easy prey for blame, harassment and abuse.

My wife is concerned that I stand out looking too Chinese when we travel to places where Racial Hate Crimes and Violence has increased like San Francisco. Ironic because SF has one of the biggest Chinese American population in the U.S. Terrifying because more than ever it is dangerous to be culturally different and ethnic in a country that used to take pride as Land for “All” Migrants and Dreamers. All has been replaced with “some are welcome, not everyone.

I wanted to visit San Francisco this weekend but my wife told me no and texted me this instead. This man was beaten in broad day light at the business district. No SF for awhile. Tourists for their own safety should boycott the city until it proves itself non-hostile. It only takes seconds to become the next victim.

Times have changed. Today, new migrants and refugees are treated like pests including children. Aren’t we doing this now to Latinos crossing the U.S. Borders?

What kind of person hurts children and women like it’s the most natural thing to do? What kind of society looks the other way knowing it is happening?

It’s scary to see more people losing their humanity because of supremacy and entitlement. To show kindness and mercy to those seeking refuge are now considered weakness and being unpatriotic. So we treat the new arrivals like animals, dehumanizing them. We take away their dignity. We break their dreams until they are no longer recognizable. This is what we’ve become when greed and self interest are threatened.

It took a year and 8 lives for people to have the courage to stand up and fight for those who can’t.

What is happening to us Americans? Aren’t we suppose to protect the oppressed? Aren’t we the leader and protector of Democracy? We can’t claim greatness when we are not really great. We can’t pretend to be a hero when our actions are those of a villain. We can’t claim to be good when we’re not.

A real Hero of our times. She fought back and gave back so what happened to her may not happen again to others.

People see us for who we are. The world sees us for who we are. Trust and Respect are earned. Bullying and harassment does not work.

A law enforcement body reveals its preference and prejudice by the words and actions of its officers that represents it. Informing the public why shooter killed the victims, first cop said something like, “He had a very bad day.” Second cop said later, “He had sex addiction.” Even justice treats people and cases differently because of Race. Same reason why many choose not to report Racial Hate Crimes.

Racism is just one neighbor away.

Anyone who allowed Racist remarks like “Kung Flu” and “China Plague,” be spoken irresponsible in media to poison minds are just as guilty as the one who committed acts of Racial Hate Crimes. We condoned it. We made fun of it. So, here we are trying to make sense of the heartbreaking consequences.

I can’t forget my wife’s words when she told me, “I was lining up to order burger for our son when I noticed people were looking at me from head to toe. It made me very uncomfortable.” I asked her why. Her answer made me angry, “Because I was the only one that looked different.” I asked her, “Did you say anything?” Her response, “No, I hurriedly left after I got my order because I felt really bad and embarrassed.” I’m reminded of her experience every time I see the burger place on my way to work. It is unbelievable that Racism is just one neighbor away, but it is!

“We all know hate when we see it.” – Senator Raphael Warnock

Violent Asian Hate Crimes are rising alarmingly but not treated seriously. Defenseless old people being shoved to the pavement even to their death. Asians being shot randomly senseless. Asians being beaten on their lunch break. Children stabbed because of misinformation that anyone who looks Chinese has the “China or Chinese Plague,” a label that screams Racism yet allowed to be spoken repeatedly on National Television by no other than the former President Trump himself. It isn’t a surprise that Asian Hate Crimes are increasing. We know it’s coming. We are just shock fellow Americans in our own communities will act on it. Who would have thought people you cared for will turn on you?

We don’t want to be known as a Nation that is weak in protecting its elderlies or selectively protecting only those whose lives we believe are more important.

Racial Hate Crimes and Violence are inhuman, cowardly, horrific, appalling, evil, unacceptable. They are the real present threat. A domestic terror that needs to be eradicated. A disease as fatal as Cancer and the Pandemic.

How many of us must be killed first before justice and change happens? Enough warnings were made last year, no one took it seriously other than the victims and their families.

I’m showing America we are more than its stereotypes and labels. We are your frontliners risking our lives and health every day for you.

It’s bizarre how Healthcare Workers are called Heroes during the Pandemic by the Media but many are disrespected and threatened when they walk the streets in their scrubs. Now that hospitalizations are up again from COVID-19 in some States, TV commercials about “ Our Heroes,” will sure fill the airwaves. It is NOT making us feel better nor make our working conditions better. Never did.

We are your Doctors, Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, Paramedics and Pharmacists who helped you survive COVID-19 and help you get vaccinated so you can have your normal life back.

We took care of your sick families members like they were our own family when you can’t. We held your love ones hands till their last breathe and treated them with love, dignity and respect.

Don’t just call and shout “Nurse, Nurse.” We have names. Remember them like we remembered yours. We have hearts, love them like we loved yours.

We are the faceless unknowns that helped built, maintain and clean your homes, business establishments, parks and streets. We are the people that prepares your food and everything to make your life easier.

We are the unappreciated, the undervalued, the unseen, the unspoken who contribute with our blood, sweat and tears to make America Great possible.

If only we love people of other Race and Culture like we love their food. If only we are capable of loving our neighbors like we love ourselves. Isn’t that what the Bible and our Churches are preaching? Deflecting with anger and hate will only make the guilt from our sins worse.

Racial Hate Crimes perpetrators are serial violent offenders. They are the real pest and threat that needs to be stopped. No place is safe for our elderlies, women and children until it ends.

Equal justice and opportunity for all…that’s our new American Dream.

Until we speak and do something, we will never know if change and hope are possible.

We chose California as home because we thought it’s the safest place to raise our son but now I’m not sure.

A crime to one of us is a crime to all. The pain inflicted to one of us is a pain inflicted to all. Shame one, shamed all. Harm one, harmed all.

I normally walk alone by myself but today I asked my 15-year old to walk with me. I shouldn’t be afraid, but I am now. Terrorism in America is out of control.

Please #StopAsianHate and Killings.

Death is death, loss is loss, harm is harm, but why do we feel different and respond differently when it happens to a Race different than ours?

#AsianLivesMatter too like everyone else and till that truly happens, #AllLivesMatter is just an elusive dream in America.

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