Monday, June 22, 2015

Los Angeles - June

Flower District

Grand Central Market
CHEESE! | Lamb burger from Belcampo Meat Co.

Pellicola Pizza
Movies while you eat!

Ham and Eggs Tavern
My sister and her band, Abraham Lincoln, played here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Play Ball! - LAD v STL

I love a good baseball game on a nice evening - sun setting, breeze in my hair, and cool air on my skin. I can't say I'm the biggest sports fan but I do tend to enjoy live games - cheering, singing, and dancing are always fun. I would much rather go to an actual game than watch it on a TV screen. I was so excited for the Dodgers game yesterday!

Yesterday was the first Dodgers game I attended, not only for this season but, in three years! These baseball games in Los Angeles remind me of Trenton and all of our adventures we used to take in the city before I left for Africa. It usually ends up being an all day adventure with lots of eating and strolling around Los Angeles before getting to the game. I love it. So I was super excited when his friends planned a game for us on Jackie Robinson Day!

This picture cracks me up. This guy was hilarious walking up the stairs, purposely trying to photo bomb my picture! ^
Our plans to eat before the game fell through but I didn't really mind! Although Trenton was a little bummed that his surprise didn't work out (I know now! :p) I couldn't stop thinking about the infamous garlic fries at Dodgers Stadium, not to mention the nachos and ice cream and other really bad food that I enjoy at games. :) With me being sick all week and trying to get over the flu (the flu won't stop me from watching Ethier!) it was a nice venture out, mid-week. Plus, did you know that garlic is a natural decongestant? The more reason to eat those tasty garlic fries - my favorite! We parked at Union Station in Patsaouras Plaza, took the Express bus straight to the stadium, and got dropped off right in front of the gates. Because it was Jackie Robinson Day, we all got #42 jerseys and I actually really like it. Even though it's a little big on me I felt like I was channeling those Sandlot days and finding my inner Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez in my gear. He's so dreamy. haha We even had time before meeting his friends to look in the club store and eat some food. (Thanks for my hat Bub!) I haven't seen his friends in a long time so it was nice to hang out, eat, and sing/cheer/dance to the three-second musical opportunities they give you at baseball games. haha Dodgers ended up winning (woohoo!) and it turned out to be a great night. Can't wait until the next game! (hint, hint Mikey)

Us in our Dodgers gear!
We had way more food but those garlic fries though... mmm.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Would any of you believe me if I said I was still readjusting from my life in Africa? Ever since coming back from my Peace Corps service, life has been hard. I know it has been almost six months but it doesn't matter. Nobody tells you what it will be like when you get back and they don't tell you that readjustment back to American life is harder than adjusting to your new host country. That's because everybody's experience is different. For me, I came home with a heavy heart and heavier decisions. I was glad to be back and happy to see everyone I missed so dearly but I had decisions to make and I had to make them quickly.

I came back and was overwhelmed by everything. The day I landed I had one of my first meals that I had been craving. That didn't sit well in my stomach. The next day I bought a new phone. I didn't even know how to use it or what LTE meant. Later that night I had a welcome back party that my sister threw for me. I was overwhelmed with emotions and missing my friends back "home" in Botswana. For me (and I presume, many volunteers) I had to hit the ground running and think about jobs, bills, cars, and life in a completely different, fast-paced environment. I'm from LA after all.

Being jobless for a few months really made me depressed. I would literally be searching for jobs every day, researching online and asking friends for referrals. I've been so used to working at least two jobs since I was 16 years old. Sometimes that was accompanied with going to school full time. It's funny because I didn't stress about these things in Africa, I didn't have to. Life moved much slower there. But now I was back and I was stressed again. Living paycheck to paycheck is normal for me. I am great at saving, any of my friends could attest to that. But once money goes into my savings, I never ever touch that. That is how I was able to travel a lot in the Peace Corps and how I was able to stay afloat for the months that followed my Peace Corps service. But I had to break that rule since I've been back, unfortunately. I've had to dip into my savings and my OCD hates it.

I'm rambling now but the whole point to this is that I just had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life, again (following joining the Peace Corps of course!). I finally got to test and interview for Los Angeles County as a Children's Social Worker. I've been waiting and waiting for this for a long, long time. I studied for this, I dreamed of this...having a job helping people with benefits and paid days, man! No longer having to worry about money and being able to live decently and comfortably, being able to help my dad, I can't pass this up, right? And then I got into graduate school. With pretty high honors too. And I can't let that go, can I? Do I work full time and push my education to the back or do I go to school full time and continue to stress about money? For months this bothered me. I didn't know what to do. Getting into the county is hard enough and I had the opportunity to get my foot in the door before obtaining my Masters degree. But education in important to me and actually something that I enjoy and would work towards something bigger anyway.

I had to make the decision by today and I have officially decided to go to school full time and work part time.  It is hard for me to think about not being able to support my dad as much as I want to or helping Trenton out as much as I would like. But I know in the long run that this decision will eventually make me happier and I have the best, most supportive people in my life. I've always said I wouldn't end up in a job that pays well just because it pays well. I have to like my job. I don't want to be one of those people working and making money only to be unhappy with their life and dislike what they do. Yeah, the county job would get me great experience and might even give me opportunities to move up but I don't think it would make me as happy as going to school and focusing more on the mental health side of things in social work. That is where my passion lies. With continuing my education, it comes with continuing to work part time with the kiddos I have become attached to. I love working with them and helping them build their skills. It's still a pretty new experience for me and I enjoy it. It is intense but rewarding. And school will open up doors for me as well. Maybe I could even focus on finding a way to help people with Trichotillomania, something I've struggled with for almost 20 years now. That would be great!

So this is my decision. Like anyone who makes a big decision in his/her life, I hope that it is a good one. As scared as I was about going away to the Peace Corps and contemplating whether it was the "right" decision or not, I did it and it has already given me opportunities and helped with the job application process and graduate school acceptances. So I don't want to worry about his being the "right" decision or not because I would never know that. What I do know is that it feels right, right now, and I'll go with it.

Thanks for reading my rantings. Sometimes I like to be honest because it helps me feel better about things and is a way for me to deal. Just writing it out makes me feel better already! Giving my journal a break ;) 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thailand 2015 - Part II: Bangkok

After spending a few days in Phuket, we came back down to Bangkok to spend the rest of our time there. Because we really just explore when we're in the city, we don't do much but just be with my dad and walk around and take lots of free buses when we can. Sometimes Trenton and I will go wandering on our own and that's always fun. Honestly, I think it's really fun exploring a city. Even if I've been there before, there's always something new I learn about it and more beauty to discover. We were excited to see more things this time around like day/night market locals, Muay Thai fights, and public parks. It was a very relaxing holiday for us.

I have to warn you, there are a lot of pictures in this post. You'll see how different it is in the city as opposed to the south.

Hualamphong Train Station

New Noodle House opened | "Long Live the King"
fresh crab | a lot of siting and talking in Thailand

ferry ridin' to get to the other side of the city across Chao Phraya River

I don't even like coconut but man... yummy!
CentralWorld - high-end mall

I think my dad likes when I come around because I take him to Burger King. haha

street food - always worth the wait

^Trenton hanging off the bus like a true Thai, not even scared.
This famous restaurant has been opened since 1909! Of course we had to get duck mouth here.
Lumphini Park

Som tum (papaya salad) | Pad Thai koong (shrimp Pad Thai) | A literal ice cream sandqich! haha

Best buds in the city
traffic - more people than LA

getting ready to fight | pre-fight rituals | ouch...
my dad on facebook in the background...aye.

Bringing the 90s back | Buddies dining at Sizzler!

Late-night, bus-riding adventures

Like I stated in Part I of these Thailand posts, I really enjoy visiting Thailand. It doesn't matter that we don't spend money and go on tours every day. It's nice to see people in their culture, living the way they do. I'd recommend Thailand to anyone. Go for the food, the poeple, the beaches, the city...just go. Experience it and tell me what you think. You may not be biased like I am but I guarantee you you will find it interesting and beautiful in all of its ways.

*Daddy, if you're able to read this and learned how to use "the google" by now, then I am very surprised but proud of you. haha Can't wait to see you again. Remember, don't talk to strangers on facebook. Until next time! Love you.