Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life in living color

I dedicate this blog to my friend Melissa who inspired me with her own blog to reinvigorate mine...

One of my best friend's husband Ray told me this. "Your life is like in black and white. Once you have kids, your life is in color. Its beautiful."

I dreamt of a brand new house for me and my baby in Dallas. His own room. His crib and nursery decor. Life was perfect. But not real. Like the movie Pleasantville, life was perfect but life is not about perfection, its about being real.

Here in California, we are in living color. Real. Alive and kicking. Surviving? We would rather thrive.

I am so lucky to have decided to have my baby in California and raise a bonafide Berkeley baby!

Going back to the true nature of the theme of the blog, I wanted to share the main differences between having a child in Texas vs. California


In Dallas, the natural birthing world is small. Everyone goes to the same labor coach. Everyone knows the same doulas. My prenatal doctor coincidentally goes to my church.

One of the things I loved about Dallas is that when you are a liberal upper middle class citizen, you fit in. You eat at the same restaurants, know where to live, you all hang out at the same places. We all flock to the same people and places. You fit in. With the ease of life, you easily become part of a bubble and you almost don't notice the surrounding fast food restaurants and religious/political controversies that stereotype Dallas as often filled with obesity, rednecks and close minded attitudes. You drink a beer outside. Life is good.


I never delivered in Texas so I don't know. I did visit the hospital once and saw a cockroach. Maybe it was an omen?

I delivered in Berkeley, CA. I was so excited, the hospital was very modern- even had rooms with jacuzzis. I had 2 doulas. I was ready and in heaven to have a natural birth. Due to circumstances not under my control, I was given a c-section pretty much without my consent. There is a huge rise of c-section in this country and in this world and its sad. Doctors get scared. They don't want a liability if the natural birth doesn't go well. They also want to make a lot more money. Boo on doctors! If I could do it all over again I would have had a home birth! And are doulas in your corner? Not really. They are great labor coaches but when you are stressed, sleep deprived and need their help standing up to the doctors they coward in fear since they don't want to be banned as doulas in that hospital in the future.

Day Care and Education

Loving the options of day cares and preschools in SF East Bay. Montessori, Waldorf, Jewish play based- you name it, it's here. It's not bad in Dallas - just missing a bit of diversity. And the closest Waldorf school to Dallas is 3 hours away in Austin.

As for public school systems? SF East Bay on the most part rocks. Until you get to high school and the ratings drop dramatically. Its the opposite in Dallas. I am sure it has something to do with how cray-cray Texans are about their high school football. Friday Night Lights anyone?

Walk, run baby run...

I love the Dallas heat. I miss the thunderstorms and the snow. But I drove everywhere in Dallas. How would I spend time with the baby outside? How will I deal with the heat when breastfeeding? In the cool breeze of the SF East Bay, I love the daily walks with the baby in the stroller and in the ergo. I also love the public transportation which was never ideal in Dallas.

Update on Me!

As a new mama, I am super sensitive to women's and children's rights. Because of legal reasons, I cannot say much but let's just say women and children's rights are near and dear to my heart and I have found a new passion in helping other moms and other children that are at a disadvantage. I hope to be a role model for other women and will dedicate my life to helping others in need.


Do I miss Dallas? Yes. Will I ever go back? I have no plans. California is my home now. Dallas was a great experience and I am very proud of what the city has done especially when I left with the new Perot science museum and the new kid area at the Arboretum. California has its pros and cons but I have found really amazing people here through joining new mom groups. Nothing is perfect here. Nothing is easy. But there is a realness here that shows the nitty gritty of life that juxtaposes the amazing beauty and perseverance of moms dealing with life. The vulnerability and the candor that holds a common thread of moms everywhere.

I feel welcomed. I feel like I belong. I feel humbled. And most of all I feel my son has a bright future ahead here.

I am me again.

We are home.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Privacy Unleashed

Privacy Unleashed
I remember when I first found out I was pregnant. I was so elated! Could this miracle be happening? How lucky am I to get pregnant when yes it was an accident, and girls all around me were having issues getting pregnant.
Then it really hit, I told the father of the baby and since then he has resented me since and really put me on a tail spin to thinking the worst. But the reality is we are not dating and we are not married, which makes me think of how alone this process really is for me.
In order to better understand my situation, I am finally coming out of silence. Here are top questions/comments I have been getting, avoiding and why:
  • Is Brian excited?
Several people have told me the journey for a Father to Be is very different than what I go through. For a good 10 months, I get to feel the baby in my belly every second of the day. I have been thinking about it nonstop from nausea and body pains to the joys I feel. I don't know what Brian feels. We barely talk. I think there is a lot of fear in both of us and we both end up hurting each other in the process so long story short I do not know.
  • Don't you think Brian is a "*****" (sub in your word for a bad person) for not being there for you?
No but I am a nice person- too nice maybe some people have said? How he reacts or how he treats me, that's his own prerogative. Sometimes I wish he would have more compassion for me as a pregnant single mom to be. But this is something very hard to explain to any male so I don't expect him to understand.

So no I do not think Brian is a bad person. But I do believe when people are scared, angry and feel little control over a situation have the potential to say mean and do hurtful things. Evil things. Bat shit crazy things.
  • How will you do this?
How will I do what? How is my situation any different than yours? I have gotten lots of "I am sorry" or "You will need help". Thanks, like I needed that! Judgement from society as a single mom is harsh. Or maybe its all in my head and I am projecting my failure in society. I do sometimes think because I don't wear a ring on my finger, I have indented on my forehead a Scarlett letter A. As if being a single mom is a crime. I forever have felt like crawling into a cave because I am so embarrassed to do this alone. I wonder if this how divorced people feel like after a failed relationship...

I wish sometimes people could be proud of me. No offense to the following people- but I am not one of those girls that got pregnant just so my boyfriend could propose to me. I also did not get pregnant just so someone would feel bad for me and marry me. So no I did not do it on purpose to keep Brian or to force anyone into marriage or child support. I might sound naive, but I believe things happen for a reason and this baby is no accident. It is my fate to have this baby. Joy and love to come! Do I want to get married? Of course, but not out of convenience, i want to marry someone who is deeply and madly in love with me and my baby, even on our bad days.
  • Whats the gender of the baby?
Its my body. Its my baby. For some reason some people get bent out of shape that I want this to be a surprise. I am waiting 10 months, at least give me this surprise and incentive to push. Just because you want to know for your purchasing ease, I don't care. :) Yes this is the bitchy pregnant side of me.

Plus those who know me, I don't believe in gender classification by color. Who said boys can't wear pink and girls can't wear blue? If I have a girl, I expect her to try football. If I have a boy, I expect him to try ballet :)
  • Do you have any names yet for the baby?
I did until the word leaked out and my brother said "thats a ridiculous name". Thanks! So I am not revealing any names until the baby is born. No one ever tells you your name is ugly, that would be hurtful...
  • Legal, custody, money questions, etc.
Oh boy, this is a tough one. I have gotten in so many heated conversations around this. Will Brian pay for child support? Will Brian help out? Will Brian share custody? Honestly I do not know. All I know is I love my baby and willing to do this on my own if needed.
  • How is your nursery going?
What nursery? I am a single "mom to be" in a tiny apartment. I rather save money for the baby's college fund.
  • Is Brian's family going to help out? 
Honestly I don't know Brian's family well enough to comfortably depend on them. I can only imagine the speculation and the confusion they must all feel when Brian and I barely talk. Imagine you are divorced, how much can your in-laws love you and your baby especially in a "he said, she said" type of assumed communication?
  • Why aren't you more public? Why don't you use Facebook anymore?
I though about taking belly pictures. I thought about why I don't use Facebook much anymore. I don't know with the imaginary Scarlett A on my forehead I just have become a very private person. Plus this is only the beginning- I have turned into a very protective mama bird lately. Have you heard of all the creepy child predators on Facebook? Our child will remain pretty private. Plus if you are truly my friend you will get to see the baby in person or you can always email for a picture. Sometimes I feel like Beyonce and how hidden her child Blue Ivy is. hehe
In summary being pregnant has been very bitter sweet. Yes its been lonely. Yes its been something a lot of people cannot relate to or worse, judge you for it. But worst of all, a lot of it I wonder how much is projected from my own insecurities and doubts...
My good friend Braden told me once when women start setting boundaries, people start automatically perceiving you as a bitch. I was once an open book. I still am. But this quote sums it up for me...

"I try to keep my boundaries high, expectations low and my big and loving heart open"

In my time of inward reclusion, I admit I have alienated many people in the process but I don't really care. Lately, I just do not have the energy to please everyone (which is tough because I am a people pleaser). The true lesson learned is to love myself the most and the friends that stick around? Those are your true friends.

Today, the joy I live for is the baby kicking me in my belly. Its such an amazing feeling. And feeling it hiccup. Its not born yet but I feel like it already has so much character and personality.

On a final note, yes this is my child. Its also the worlds. All I can do is be the best human and mom I can be and give the world this amazing gift for all to share. No longer a Texas Cali baby but a worldly baby at that!

Until next time.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Movin to the Country...and why I changed my mind.


As some of you know I moved to Wylie, TX (25 miles outside of Dallas) about 3 months ago. I did this for 2 main reasons. To follow love, and follow my heart. And there was always a part of me that wanted to live the more simple life. To have chickens and wake up to my own fresh farm eggs. To be able to make my own artisan cheese. Unfortunately, reality hit...Read on to find out why.

Honestly for those from California, I was thinking moving to the country in TX would be like moving to Petaluma. That I would be able to easily find cute little farmer stands at the end of the road. Or there would be that simple mom and pop restaurant I would frequent every weekend for the best homemade food and fresh pies...

Yes I am idealistic. Yes I was dreaming. Yes I am me.

Wylie - my take...

You will find some of the friendliest people in Wylie. I remember the smile and graciousness I found when paying at a gas station once. Or when I walk my dog every morning, and how people stop to wave and say hello. Raising kids seems good here. Kids as young as 6 years old are walking home from school by themselves. Its safe. Its simple.

Wylie even has a brand new library, you can tell they are really trying to add more culture to this town. They have a good high school and opening a movie theater soon.

There are no dog parks. Maybe I am spoiled. I do like my dog having dog friends. I walk my dog every morning and no one else walks their dogs. This is a sleepy neighborhood where dogs are yard dogs. Nothing wrong with that. But a little cosmopolitan girl like me appreciates the thought of getting ice cream with her dog on a sunny day and walking through a park. Boo!

There are only fast food restaurants nearby. Fast food nation here we are. Obesity? Yes. Convenience? Yes.
Obama voters probably do not exist. I am not big into politics. But diversity of opinion, right or wrong I think is healthy.
Raise a kid to be simple and kind is easy here, but how about cultured and open-minded? But then again, who am I to judge. Most Dallas kids that go to public schools are hispanic and African American. Only white and Asian kids can afford to go to private schools.
Commute. I know traffic. I lived in LA. I drove 3 hours a day sometimes in traffic. But there was never any permanence around since my job was project based. Now that I was living and commuting 60 miles round trip, I felt it sucked the life out of me. I was too tired to cook, to dance, to do yoga, to see friends. Not just that no friends, yoga or dance in Wylie. I commuted 7 days a week to be able to attend church, work, dance, etc. I was exhausted and unfulfilled in life.

I always frowned upon the "uptown" folks. As if being rich was a crime, I looked down at how pretentious they were. And that was not me. But now that I have been on the other side, I realize that life is not so "black and white". I don't want to judge people in Wylie and to stereotype them as "red necks" nor do I want to do the same about uptown folks being "rich and snobby". All I know more than anything I learned a huge lesson. I am not defined by where I live, but I cannot deny who I am. I am Asian, I am French, I am Californian and I am a Texan. Though Wylie is not for me, and neither is uptown, I realize I am somewhere in between. Where I need to be close to work, to dance, to my friends, to my religion, and to have easy access to simple things in life be it food or organic groceries. Yes I am a hippie at heart. Yes I am different. And I am proud to be who I am - unique and learning every day, to not judge others and to keep an open mind.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dallas, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Hi blog!

How I have missed you. Did you know this year, the year of dragon is suppose to be lucky? Well so far so good, my amazing man Brian has taught me so many lessons on being human, to appreciate and honor both the good and bad. I now have a beautiful puppy named Evolie Lucky (named after evolution) and oh man, is she teaching me lessons in patience and how to be more nurturing. We are definitely constantly evolving but I am finally starting to learn to be more human. You are probably thinking what does that mean? I am learning to accept things the way they are- the good, the bad and the ugly. To just "be" despite the pain and my decision to suffer. Most importantly, to keep giving and smiling and that the world won't stop just because I am pouting over a bad day. Its not just all about me. That love needs to be practiced daily. That we still have issues of poverty, racism and discrimination in this world. Stay tuned! More to come on my negotiation and coping skills with living life...I have more to write later on this interesting phase in my life right now. 

In the meantime, here are my top ten things I love and things I wish I could change about Dallas.

Top 10
  1. Men actually open doors! Chivalry is not dead here in Texas and I love it
  2. Central Market...Whole Foods, but bigger!
  3. On that note, did you know Whole Foods is based out of Texas?
  4. Spirituality is huge here, they don't call this the bible belt for nothing. People truly believe in a higher calling and I would like to hope more people here work towards being a better person.
  5. Street festivals galore- not just BBQ, but crawfish boils, beer festivals, the list goes on. People will drink and eat in the streets even in 100 something temperatures! And the best part, not care how they look even with a few extra pounds we are one happy culture here.
  6. Fresh eggs- I have had the best tasting fresh eggs here, local farms in Texas rules...
  7. Old School Values. I love how hippie and bohemian California is. But I will have to say being in a more conservative state like Texas, people really have good family values that I adore.
  8. Southern Belles. In California, you blend in by wearing flip flops and organic tees. In Texas, you get to play dress up. I never owned as many dresses as I do now :)
  9. I love fresh meat! No hormones, no cages...nice to have friends that hunt and give you fresh wild boar sausages or venison patties.
  10. Last but not least, this is home for me. A hidden gem...a little of everything but most of all, a slow down. Here we are not too righteously hip, intellectual like Cali or NYC. We are just here living. ps Did I mention there is an In n Out here finally now? And they are bringing Trader Joes here soon too. I am one happy girl.

  1. Allergies are the worst here. Well worst than Cali. I have an air purifier that I have on when I sleep. I take Claritin 365 days a year. Yikes I know.
  2. Do you dislike Dallas? I don't blame you if all that you have seen is our DFW airport. For such a major city, we do have an ugly airport. And I noticed there are no handicap ramps or elevators for those who park far away? What gives!
  3. For one of the "richest" states with all the oil and gas dudes, we really have ugly malls here...
  4. On the topic of shopping, nope there is no La Perla (no pretty lingerie) here
  5. And nope, no Prada here either...sorry my devilish shoe lovers!
  6. On rainy days, no noodle or ramen houses. The revenue margin for selling noodles must be huge, so why doesn't someone start this?
  7. Oh yes, there are bugs. Big ones. Ones I don't know the names of. But on the flip side, June bugs here make me smile they are so inspiring.
  8. Sadly, people don't do enough recycling here.
  9. The use of guns here is a commodity here. Believe it or not, I am not anti-guns. I just have heard horror stories of things going wrong. I vote for better gun safety education. I think each gun that folks purchase should have a huge warning label that says "guns can kill". Very similar to cigarette labels. I recently went to a women's shooting clinic and the only safety chat was around ear and eye protection...common! How about don't aim at your backyard and shoot your neighbor by mistake? Or hey, your 8 year old daughter can find your gun when she is having a bad day and kill herself. Yes all true stories mind you. 
  10. Dallas schools is very sad. I volunteered for one when I first moved here. Not a single caucasian. What are we telling our kids of tomorrow? That only white kids can afford private schools? And what do we tell them when the ones I have met say, they don't believe in college since college is only for white people?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lay back, lay low...

As some of you may know I hurt my back, almost 4 months ago now. I have tried acupuncture, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, massage therapist, a rolfer, pain killers, an epidural, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and an ergonomic chair at work. After pulling a ligament while stretching in dance class, I had an MRI to find out I have a bulging disk. On the negative side, my nervous system has been on high alert- I have had my first panic attack, frequent headaches, intermittent sleep patterns. I grieved and said goodbye to a full time hobby of dancing and found out I am anxiety prone when it comes to MRIs and needles. So what have I learned from this experience? How do I stay hopeful and optimistic throughout this new challenge in my life? Here are my top 10 things that I have learned and still to this day delicately feel my way through.

1. Posture and rock ass abs.
I wake up a good 30-45 mins early every day to do core and back exercises as part of my physical therapy. For someone who is a dancer, I was not connected to my body. I asked the universe for connection and this is what I get. :) I now understand more about kinesiology more than I ever asked for. I now understand how hard my back works to keep me up straight and how the littlest change in posture and the way my muscles work to support my back makes all the difference. I am a little taller. A little thinner. And I get nice abs, not bad!

2. Food and weight.
So there is pressure on my bulging disk, so if I lost weight I ask myself, wouldn't that help relieve some pressure on my back? When I am determined I become obsessive. When I can't dance or workout, I watch what I eat like a hawk. Just one of the little things I can control. So I have lost 7 pounds through this ordeal. Honestly, its probably more stress related but its a nice perk I can't complain about.

3. Morning sunrise.
Walking is one of the few cardio exercises I am allowed to do all the time. I have been waking up early (the only time of the day where the Dallas heat isn't hard to handle when outside) to walk for about an hour. Its required a new level of discipline (I am not a morning person) but I get to experience the beautiful Dallas sunrise, the birds chirp and feel at peace before I start my day at work.

4. Settle for a slow down.
I have had to slow down. A lot. Stress aggravates my back. Too much dancing hurts my back. If I work out, my back hurts. If I sit or lie down, my back hurts. Honestly there is not much I can do but learn about moderation. I moved here to slow down and I got my wish. Literally :)

5. No more labels of being a Dancer.
I was recently asked to teach a Dallas flash mob. 8 hours of dance rehearsal. My back was screaming at me. I got a Charlie Horse in my left calf so bad that it left a bruise. It was a reminder to me that pushing myself over the limit lost its luster. I still love dance but when you become engrossed in it, addicted to the endorphins, you forget why you love it. Needless to say I did horrible during my flash mob because of exhaustion. I have to remind myself I love the art of dance. I will always have dance in my life but for now, my calling in life is not as a dance performer. In the meantime, it's actually a nice break. I try not to live for my accomplishments anymore. I don't go by labels- that does define who I am. I go by what I feel and how I contribute to society and what counts with my limited time and energy now.

6. Not just a bucket list.
I have done so much in my life. It was always about pushing myself harder. Reaching Higher. Bigger. Smarter. Faster. More. I have danced with the best dancers in the world. I have had so many auditions, I should be over my stage fright. I taught over 4o people in a flash mob. I feel accomplished. Now what? I realize life is not about an endless to do list or a bucket list. I am learning to be complacent and happy with the little wonders in life. I love it.

7. It's just life.
I get a lot of "sorries". I get a lot of "I feel bad for you because of your back". I won't deny it's been a challenging experience but its taught me so much and has made me who I am now. I am stronger, more patient, more disciplined and more laid back then ever.

8. Connections are juicier.
Because of all my free time, I can look into someones eyes and really feel connected. I am not in a rush to go anywhere. I am not in a rush to go dancing. Its nice to touch humans and humanity again.

9. Standing is fun. Especially in heels.
It hurts to sit because it puts a lot of pressure on my lower back. I actually stand 50-75% at work now. I actually have more energy standing. If you have never tried it, I highly suggest it. What's even more fun I get to do in heels. Because wearing heels puts less pressure on my back injury, its actually been heavenly wearing heels. This is coming from the girl that collects nice heels but never wears them because in fact I am a tomboy. Finally I get to be a girl and put all these nice heels to good use!

10. It could be worst.

When I started talking to people about my back, I realize how many people have back issues at a young age. Honestly, I have been spoiled my whole life. I never broke a bone. I never attended a funeral until recently. This was my first brush with the meaning of mortality. While this is happening I realize people around me are being diagnosed with tumors, cancers and more. It really could be worst. Life is unpredictable. I am happy for what I have and yes it could be a lot worst.

Doctors says this is something I might have to manage for the rest of my life. It might take months or years to get better. I have good days and bad days like everyone else...In the meantime, I am still getting to know the quircks of Dallas.

Stay tuned for my next blog when I got back to talking about Texas. Why I still love Texas, my love hate relationship with guns, prisons, rednecks, and the slurred but endearing Texas slang...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Almost a year!


How time flies. It's almost been a year since I have moved to Dallas. # 1 question I get...Do I eat BBQ all the time? Honestly I have only eaten it once since I moved here. Is it just for tourists? Or down hard country folks? My life is the same in California, but fuller...

I still eat at Whole Foods (based in Texas might I add). Eat organic when I can. Meditate, do yoga, dance, run. The California in me will always be there.

Lately I have been living a life of extremes. Such as no fried foods. No boys. No forcing love. No superficial friends. How I try living in black and white and for once, I am loving living in the gray. All in moderation. As long as you don't try to hurt people along the way.

Anyhow my new mantra flavor is "Feel" before you "Think". Follow charm, what feels good, what makes your heart beat, what is your gut feeling saying and then say, what does it mean? How should I proceed to act? But don't judge too early, the answer might be evident later, or never.

Life is good my friends. And if you move to Texas, the allergies are horrible here. And Dallas is only a step away from Austin. Spread the love- from California to NYC, there is us Texans in the middle. Come visit. Come evolve. Make the world a better place.

In a year...I fell in love with a church. Made a new best friend. Will be a youth adviser for 13-18 year olds and continue to weekly bruise my body and quench my soul on the dance floor.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear diary...

Dear diary...

I mean blog! Wow I have missed you...

If you ask me was I sad or scared when I moved to Texas, I would say no. I had no room for fear or any emotion but to stay focused to find a job. I was in survival mode literally sleeping on the ground, eating fast food and frantically job searching at Starbucks (I had no internet in the apt I subleased when I moved here). Then I found a job. And a boyfriend. I was on cloud 9. And then it all came crashing down. I would wake up at night with anxiety attacks 3 months into living in Dallas. What was I doing here? Who is this boyfriend of mine? Friends who I became friends with here started crackling. Not cracking, but just started to lose its luster and momentum. I started to miss my friends and family back home.

Now that I have just celebrated my 6 month anniversary here in Texas, I look back at my transition in my life- the tears, the joy, the beginning of my new life here. Looking back, I was on shaky ground. I hung on to every new friend, new compliment, new adventure, and to new love like white on rice. I was vulnerable. I was easily impressed upon. Within the 3-4 months being here, I fell in love. He told me he wanted to marry me. He told me, yes ladies, "I love you" first. He told his family about me and was ready to move in. And then he disappeared. Houdini act. Cold feet? PTSD (he was in the war for 4 yrs in infantry)? I will never know. One day I found myself on the floor in my apartment crying as I have never have before.

Not only did I go through a broken heart in such a short amount of time, I delved into new friendships that didn't fulfill my integrity and value system. Looking back it's all a blur. Who was I? But I don't regret a thing.

When people say moving to a new city is hard and it takes about a year to feel normal, they are not kidding. My first few months here was emotionally draining. But I was strong, I was lonely, I was open. Today I am so happy and very lucky. In only 6 months, I am starting to make quality friendships, I joined a church (I figured if you can't beat them, join them- after all I am in the bible belt), I am me again. I am finally making my apartment my home with used mid-century furniture. I am 34 and I finally got the Ikea kick out!

Maybe people are probably wondering what happened to my boyfriend Ryan. I truly believe people come in your life to learn a lesson. He is an amazing man and he was an amazing boyfriend. I do not regret a thing except I really was not in the place or right piece of mind to accept him fully. I am as much to blame for us not working out. Though it was short, him and I shared a very special bond. I have not heard from him but a short text response on my birthday.

Today, I am happily living my new chapter of my life here in Dallas, TX. Doing my usual thing- dancing a storm, daily meditations, food and street fair explorations, making connections and appreciating serendipitous moments.

For more info on my church:

Sending everyone light and love.