Cherish Encouraging Tee

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My husband and I had a flower shop business in the small town of Moraga, California for 9 years. When my 2 girls were young, we were able to take care of them while running the business together. As the kids got older, my husband ventured to real estate business while I work for the corporate world.

There is always the creative and business side of me that wants to explore the market trend through the lens of the millennials. I am thankful to my co-worker who mentioned Amazon’s initial Merch by Amazon program mid last year. The Print on Demand tee shirt line of the company allows me to conceptualize and design on my spare time.  Voila! cherish encouraging tee has been my baby ever since. Now that my husband and I are empty nesters, this is a perfect avenue to discover myself once more.

Nostalgic Filipino treats bring back childhood memories

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We love turkey, but we miss our Cow Label!

cowlabel

With all the thanksgiving meal: turkey with ginger cranberry sauce , ham, mashed potatoe with gravy, candied yam, stringbean casserole, cornbread…we miss our  childhood treats from the Philippines.  Popular snack items when I was a kid like Filipino version of beef jerkey Cow Label, without a doubt the best tasting Philippine Dried Mangoes , Spanish shortbread polvoron from Goldilocks,  chocolate peanut treat  Choc Nut, comfort food cracker nut Nagaraya Crackers,   garlic flavor cornick SELRES_2037d869-28f4-4663-8ae1-a83858fbe765SELRES_36d8f89b-6b4e-4dfa-8667-46ec6950ef5dSELRES_26fbb1a8-c097-45d6-844c-e566048353d9SELRES_444c6c50-a7f9-4a82-99f1-678e567cba13SELRES_b9af441c-2bc9-4eb8-a6e2-9895d2dcfc89SELRES_a0669526-ae72-4cdc-8c2f-1ab36e88aec3SELRES_bafde6b7-2ca8-47e0-a1d9-4132da348f6dSELRES_1aaaf760-8c63-4b7f-9cf8-93b673042eacSELRES_c7465c6d-6bc4-467c-a5f1-714ca8266807SELRES_9b4a5905-6af3-4baf-8eae-4d519d38fd6aSELRES_2b9b7806-3bcd-4cf1-86a7-3259192660e9SELRES_ee59fff0-d3dc-4417-afbc-912ec9490e71SELRES_b4dbd3b5-782c-45d2-81af-918410d9f0a0SELRES_0ff4645e-2bce-4da9-a74d-6410025bba0dSELRES_c6c9c274-4589-4f1d-b022-141399ba625fSELRES_9881251c-3823-4517-93ab-15b48bf4155eSELRES_e48d23ed-635e-496d-9c15-5793b3d13449SELRES_909c86bd-ab55-4f4c-985b-a98a4ee407f1boy bawangSELRES_909c86bd-ab55-4f4c-985b-a98a4ee407f1SELRES_e48d23ed-635e-496d-9c15-5793b3d13449SELRES_9881251c-3823-4517-93ab-15b48bf4155eSELRES_c6c9c274-4589-4f1d-b022-141399ba625fSELRES_0ff4645e-2bce-4da9-a74d-6410025bba0dSELRES_b4dbd3b5-782c-45d2-81af-918410d9f0a0SELRES_ee59fff0-d3dc-4417-afbc-912ec9490e71SELRES_2b9b7806-3bcd-4cf1-86a7-3259192660e9SELRES_9b4a5905-6af3-4baf-8eae-4d519d38fd6aSELRES_c7465c6d-6bc4-467c-a5f1-714ca8266807SELRES_1aaaf760-8c63-4b7f-9cf8-93b673042eacSELRES_bafde6b7-2ca8-47e0-a1d9-4132da348f6dSELRES_a0669526-ae72-4cdc-8c2f-1ab36e88aec3SELRES_b9af441c-2bc9-4eb8-a6e2-9895d2dcfc89SELRES_444c6c50-a7f9-4a82-99f1-678e567cba13SELRES_26fbb1a8-c097-45d6-844c-e566048353d9SELRES_36d8f89b-6b4e-4dfa-8667-46ec6950ef5dSELRES_2037d869-28f4-4663-8ae1-a83858fbe765 and many more.

Thanksgiving reminds me of being grateful for my family; extended family I have here in the united states, and my family I left behind in the Philippines. But my childhood memory treats are little things that brings me back home and makes me smile and happy!

Who are you?

Liu Jiang Cun, Jinjiang, Quanzhou, Fujian, China, February 25, 2017.

Liu Jiang Cun in Fujian Province is close to the sea and is 100km away from Xiamen a popular port city in Fujian.

My recent adventure with my friend to my dad’s hometown in Liu Jiang Cun (mandarin) or Lao Oh (in minnan dialect), speaks of memories of when I was growing up in Manila, Philippines. As a part of a second generation Chinese immigrant family in the Philippines,  my parents’ generation brought with them many behaviors and traditions from China that did not make sense in my everyday Filipino reality

While stopping to inquire whether the town had a restaurant we could stop for lunch, I noticed the same creativity & resourcefulness as the Chinese from my parents’ generation. This grandpa had set up a makeshift bed using two chairs and a plank in the middle of his small store for his afternoon nap.


Having no luck finding restaurants in the small town, we happened upon a window with steam coming out. We thought it might be a place where we could at least get a bite to eat. As we peek through the window we were warmly greeted by a middle aged woman cooking buns in large bamboo baskets to sell at the market the next day. Upon hearing that we were looking for a restaurant in town we were told, as we had already gathered, that there are no restaurants in the small town. We offered to buy some of her buns for a simple lunch but were instead were pleasantly surprised as she hurriedly rushed off to her kitchen and came out with bowls of simple rice noodle & vegetable dish she had just cooked for her own lunch. Her eagerness to share the little that she had reminded me of the importance my parents stressed about being hospitable and sharing your food with whoever walked into our home.

I got to taste the same food as my mom’s cooking with Cha Bihon

 

As we speak with the “auntie” in Minnan dialect it suddenly dawns on me that I have found a root for this language that has always seemed foreign whether I was in the Philippines or in my new adopted country the US.  It just dawned on me that I have always been a foreigner in anoother’s land. For a few precious minutes,  I finally understood what it feels like to have a “home”… even strangers immediately feel like family.

“Auntie” likewise treats us like family and comes out with more food…her fishball cabbage soup to warm us during this unexpectedly cold and rainy April day. The taxi driver that drove us from JinJiang train station to the town (himself a migrant from a different province) benefitted from our host “family’s” generosity.

I reflect upon my parents’ hardworking nature as I watch “Auntie” sweeping her backyard while waiting for her steam buns, not having a single idle moment.


We wait to watch her take out her steamed buns ready to be sold at market the next morning..

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After visiting my dad’s hometown it reminded me that even though how big the world is, distance doesn’t stop a person from discovering family roots. In understanding my family background, I began to also understand myself. With all that I have gone through, all the things I’ve had to adapt to in different cultures, I am comforted to know that some things remain the same and I always have a part of “home” in me that time and place cannot erase. The same value and attitude towards work, life and relationship is an essential part of who I am now. Who are you? Where or what is your “home”?

When I was feeling….MEH

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It is Mother’s Day. I should feel happy with all my family members intact. But despite their efforts, I carried the weight of disappointment from my idealized expectations coupled with other worries:

  1. I received amazing chocolate covered strawberries, yet I was disappointed that my family did not prepare me breakfast.
  2. I got a savory crepe treat for lunch, yet I couldn’t get over the fact that I was not asked where I wanted to have lunch.
  3. My family spent the afternoon cleaning up the house and did laundry to prepare for my brother’s upcoming visit, but I was hoping to spend time with family doing what I wanted for a change.
  4. I had a free day to do as I wished but I use it to be preoccupied with worry about a colleague.

Instead of being grateful for what I was blessed with : a family that cared enough to prepare something special for my day, a job that allowed me to spend time with family enjoying a nice meal, a home that I could share with visiting family and instead of lifting up my worries up to God in prayer, I took away my family’s joy with my emotional pity party.  It reminded me that I had control over the outcome of this day in the way I chose to see it.  As Linda Dillow quoted (Corrie Ten Boom) , “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of it’s sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” My worry and my perspective not only drained me of my joy but also my family’s.

Minnan Hua 

Minnan hua or Southern Min (閩南話 bân-lâm-ōe) is the Chinese dialect of the Southern part of Fujian province where it is referred to as Taiwanese (臺彎話 tâi-oan-ōe). Another variant is also spoken widely in the Philippines where it is referred to as Lan Nang Oe (咱人話 lán-lâng-ōe). In Singapore, Malaysia and Medan, the Minnan dialects excluding Teochew are called Hokkien (福建話 hok-kiàn-ōe), the Minnan pronunciation of ‘Fujian’.

faith and junior high school

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-picture taken during a stop over after visiting two colleges,  UC Merced & UC Santa Cruz.

This year embarks new  beginnings for once the child that I cradle in my arms.  She is starting to drive this year that gave me a realization that she is gaining her independence and freedom, she is off to the a world that comes with changes that are fast and furious.   2017 is a pivotal point as she spends her last year in high school and with me by my side. I want to make the most of it before she heads off to college.

Lord, you know I have been praying , teaching her social &  emotional skills throughout her life. Book like “How to Stay Christian in College”  and other self-help reading may prepare her for the challenges she’s about to face.  Is she ready for the real world?

 Lord, teach me how to continue to lead her with gentleness and kindness.  It’s my fervent prayer that she will be reminded of my hearts desires and direction for her throughout her life!