Who am I?

S vintage star
S filipina now living in california
S obsessive-compulsive... make that compulsive-obsessive... no, obsessive-compulsive
S cold all the time (literally)

current terror alert level
Terror Alert Level

Why is Life Cold?

i actually have a very happy life. i just saw this graphic one day and got an inspiration for another blog. why not write about the stuff that makes life cold? from the huge, catastrophic, life-altering events to the seemingly trivial, little incidents that rub you the wrong way. it doesn't have to be a personal experience, it can be something observed.

on writing these down, my intent is to learn to appreciate life more and have a better handle on things when life throws you a curve ball. i want whoever will read this to contemplate, not get depressed. hopefully, you'll share with me your experiences as well so we can learn from each other.

p.s. it doesn't always have to be cold

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Where I Go When I Feel Life Getting Cold

S Memento
S Jo's Forum
S Shai Coggins
S pinayexpat
S joyceline
S piehole (a very funny girl)
S Din's World
S pinayhekmi chronicles
S Linnor
S Tin
S kwentong tambay
S deja brew
S denden
S mushings
S Junkville (never fails)


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9 1/2 Weeks

I had a doctor's appointment today. My stepson was so excited about this - he woke up at six, took a shower, then woke us up to remind us that we're going to the doctor. Yep, he wanted to come with me to the doctor.

At the doctor's I went through the usual height, weight and blood pressure measurements, then waited in the examination room. The doctor arrives and asks me the usual questions, then begins to examine me.

She tries to look for a heartbeat but, after about five minutes of probing, couldn't find any. I can sense that she's starting to worry, and so is my husband. She asks me if I'm sure of my last day of menstrual period, and I said positive, but I am not regular. "That explains it," she says and excuses herself to get the ultrasound equipment.

After prodding me with the ultrasound wand, my husband and I get our first glimpse of our baby:

The second picture made us laugh because the baby was moving its tiny limbs like crazy. The doctor said it's happy in there. The doctor pointed to us a plus-like object in the middle that was flashing, and says "See? That's the heartbeat right there. Everything looks great!" I was speechless as I watched his/her heart beating away. When she measured the baby on the screen, it confirms what we thought - we miscalculated the age, the baby's younger than we thought.

I'm nine and a half weeks pregnant.

After the consultation we stepped out of the doctor's office to find my stepson with a sad face. He thought we were going to call him in so he can see if he'll have a baby brother or baby sister. I told him we won't know the gender for at least a couple more months. To cheer him up, I said he could help us name the baby once we do know. He had this wide smile on his face, but made us laugh when he said "okay, I'll wait until we see if the baby's white or brown, so I can give a fitting name."

We're being really careful and restrained, especially after the last time. I know that I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm so happy I can't hold it in. I want to shout it out and celebrate this baby!

Please include us in your prayers.

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 6.30.2005 12:05 AM. |

Colorful Past

I embarked on some spring cleaning a couple of weeks ago and started filling out huge trash bags with clothing for disposal or Goodwill. As I was rummaging through the back of my closet, I came across this:

I can't believe it! This has been my favorite jacket through the years. This is also probably the last remaining article of clothing that I have brought when I moved here from Manila nine years ago.

I used to love this jacket. Now I realize it's hideous, loud and outdated. No matter, I found myself clutching it close to me and sitting on my bed while the memories came rushing back. I have worn this from the time I was with my first boyfriend up until I got married. Here in the States, I have been stopped several times by girls asking where I purchased it. I don't really remember. I somehow think it's from my Mom (as most everything I own was) and that it came from Singapore. I have a friend who would borrow it all the time. Aside from liking its unique look, I also loved how it is perfect for almost any weather – not too thick and heavy and not too light and flimsy. Because of the plethora of colors (my husband used to kid that a kaleidoscope must have thrown up on me), I found that I could wear it with anything. And wear it I did! Those of you who know me have most probably seen me in it (and snickered behind my back).

Since I have resolved to get rid of as much clothes as I can, I reluctantly put it in one of the trash bags. I foolishly pluck it back and run to my husband, asking for his advice. He said I should keep something memorable around, especially since it's from the Philippines. When he saw what I was planning to keep though, he asked if I had a t-shirt or purse instead. So I dejectedly put my colorful jacket back into the trash. I console myself that someone else will get to enjoy it and take care of it, while her friends snicker behind her back.

On a side note, I also realized I had 12 khaki pants:

This part of my closet looks like a veritable Gap store, the branch where the folders have slacked off. How many khaki pants does one need? I tried to go over them and see what I can discard, but I found that they all still fit me and are in good condition, with different styles and fit, so I ended up keeping them all.

Don't even get me started on the jeans!

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 6.22.2005 1:34 PM. |

More Goodies

That are not so good for you.

Last week, our company had visitors from our manufacturing plant in the Philippines. Now everytime someone visits from there, I get excited because of the stories from back home, the chance to speak straight Tagalog to someone again, the excuse to take them to the wonderful places in the Bay Area and the inevitable pasalubongs (gifts from the homeland).

This time around, I wasn't that excited because the visitors were three young Engineers whom I've never met before and, since they were male and there's three of them, I just surmised that they wouldn't want to hang out with an "older" kabayan (compatriot) and prefer to be by themselves. However, when they gave me the pasalubongs from my friends in our Philippine office, I was blown away.

Here's what they brought me:

To enumerate:
Conti's ensaymada
Tobi mix nuts
Flat tops
Prima toast
Pili nuts
Cloud 9 (made me smile!)
2 bags of chicharon (my favorite!)
cans of Kraft cheddar
Conti's food for the Gods
banana chips
Conti's and Goldilocks polvoron
more polvoron
Filipino CDs
Haw flakes (haw haw haw!)
assorted cooking mixes (hmmm, they know me too well)
turrones de casuy
The girls of FHM magazine
little boxes of tamarind
knitted purse
tops from Folded and Hung and Kamiseta
and of course, packets and packets of dried mango

I could open a Filipino store - one with a weird mix of merchandise. I've been giving some away to friends (except for the chicharon, hee hee) but there's more. If you fancy any of it, just let me know (except for the FHM magazine, which my hubby has sequestered).

What's your favorite pasalubong from back home?

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 6.20.2005 10:04 PM. |

I've Got Mail

Last week, I was excited to receive two things in the mail:

First, this from the Garcias of Vancouver, BC:

Thanks Aan, Raffy and Andro! How'd you guess we like salmon? :)

Then, I got these which I bought off of eBay:

These tickets are my Father's Day gift to my hubby, who loves the Eagles.

He thinks I'm only getting him this (because I "accidentally" let him see this in my closet):

I can't wait to see his reaction on Sunday!

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 6.13.2005 7:07 PM. |

Citizen Vain

When I came to work this Monday morning, this is what greeted me:

You see, I became a U.S. citizen two weeks ago. I have been hesitating on writing about it, though, because I know I would offend Filipinos, Americans, or both. After seeing my cube, though, I knew I had to write (and share the pictures!), if only to educate those who might be interested in going through the process or just learning about it.

I was asked to attend the oath ceremony at 3:00 pm. My hubby, stepson and I roll in there at about 2:57. We see throngs of people just starting to be let into the building. My hubby told me that there was already a lot of people there as early as 10:00 am, but I heeded my friend's advice that they only let you in near the appointed time (thank you, friend!).

I somehow picked the best queue that I ended up in the group that's seated in the center front rows. There were some speakers urging us to fill out the registration forms to vote, which I did. One thing I noted about these speakers. There were four translators - one Spanish, one Chinese, one Vietnamese and one Filipino. One by one they spoke their native language, diligently pointing at the sections of the forms, obviously explaining the parts and how to fill them up to their countrymen. When it was the Filipino's turn, the young man didn't even bother to bring a form, he just said in Tagalog something to the effect of "we don't really need an interpreter because we know English, we just want to show them that we're a big group and need to be reckon with." This made me laugh, and the Indian and Vietnamese next to me are probably wondering what's so funny with a registration form.

Then we had a roll-call of countries, which I found neat. They would call the country, starting with Albania and ending with Zimbabwe, and the people from that country are asked to stand up. You get a feel of the distribution of people wanting to be Americans. I thought the Philippines would have the biggest contingent, but from the rustle of the seats it was obvious Mexico, India and Vietnam had us beat.

The guy standing next to me, on my left, was from Bahamas. I asked him - "you want to leave Bahamas?!?!" He laughed.

The master of ceremonies was Filipino. With his Spanish-sounding name, I was initially not so sure, but when he said "ceremony" with the stress on the second syllable, I had not doubt. There was a speech from a recently-naturalized ex-Australian CEO of a semiconductor company (hmmm, maybe I should get his contact number), extolling the virtues of becoming a U.S. citizen. A couple of speeches and a video later, it was time for the actual oath-taking.

This is when I suddenly paid attention. I have always regarded getting a U.S. citizenship as no big deal, I just wanted that blue passport to avoid the hassles of immigration or the necessity of visas to some countries. The voting and jury duty, I can live without. So I thought I will be in and out of there, looking forward more to the dinner afterwards.

When I started repeating the words of the Oath of Allegiance however, I got choked up. Especially on the part about renouncing and abjuring all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign sovereignty. I have always planned on having dual citizenship but these words really hit me hard. Am I really turning my back to Pilipinas Kong Mahal? I shamefully admit my heart was feeling cold while all the people around me were clapping and rejoicing, becoming a part of the greatest nation of the world (okay, maybe I'll offend not just Filipinos and Americans). I know this is just the practical thing to do and millions of Filipinos have gone through it, but I can't help but feel guilty. Guilty for the Philippines, for renouncing her, and guilty for the U.S., for using her.

When we got home from the ceremony, I found flowers and a cake on the table. Then we went out for Thai food (I just felt like Thai food that night). Later that evening, we hear a knock on the door. It's my stepson's friend, his little brother and their mother, with my stepson's friend handing me flowers (the same ones as my husband got me) and a card. It turns out my stepson casually mentioned to him about my citizenship, and he told his mom, and hence the visit. I was so touched, hugged the boys, and gave them cake and ice cream.

I'm over the emotional part of the citizenship, but I'm surprised at how everyone else had made/is making a big deal out of it. I almost didn't tell my husband about the ceremony, planning to just quietly take it, but he insisted on coming along for the "special day." My office cube was decorated like crazy and no one would admit to it. The only way I found out is by asking our Help Desk person to find out who came to the office on Sunday from the badge entry records. So, thank you Kevin and Debbie! Thanks for making everyone stop by and congratulate me, so I have to tell them the story over and over! Just kidding, I really appreciate your efforts, you crazy people.

Here's my stepson's gift to me (I asked him, should I name him Americky? He said, no, Abearica!):

And here's some of my other loot from friends:

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 6.07.2005 7:14 PM. |