My Year In Photos: April

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April began with me getting over my disappointment in shows I didn’t want to watch anymore. I also met with my spiritual director while attending a vocations-related event. I spent time with my friends preparing for another Awakening retreat in September.

But the coolest thing that happened during the month of April was when I traveled to California for my cousin’s 18th birthday party. In Filipino culture, a girl’s 18th birthday is the equivalent of the American Sweet 16. The last time I was in California, I was finished with my first (or second) year of college. And this time, there wouldn’t be any trips to theme parks. But I had just as much fun doing regular stuff because I was with my cousins.

One thing that I found out in California that I didn’t write in my previous blog entries is that I was starting to discover things about myself I never knew before. For one thing, manicures (while nice) felt fake on me. I also remembered the dreams I had during vacation, and I don’t usually remember the things that I dream.

I also learned that while I liked getting dressed up for the party, I didn’t feel like myself or even the best version of myself. I had a great time at the party, but in spite of the many likes that I got on the picture of me in my dazzling party dress, the girl in the picture wasn’t really me.

The real me was the girl who changed into her pajamas after the party ended and watched a live stream of the Canonization Mass, which declared Popes John Paul II and John XXIII as saints. The real me was the girl who smiled when Pope Francis carried the cross that John Paul II used as the procession began and greeted his predecessor.

I had a lot of wonderful experiences during my time in California. But if I had to choose my favorite moment, it was when I was out on my own, meeting the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Although their event was more of a party and not much of a come-and-see event, they showed me where to go for Mass and I went to Mass all on my own. I haven’t done that since college.

I met so many wonderful people in this event, including some women from the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order). Again, it felt like a celebrity sighting. Even though these meetings were brief, I felt very happy that I had this opportunity to even see them.

In a way, my trip to California was a bite-sized version of Eat, Pray, Love. I did eat a lot of good food and I strengthened my spirituality, and I experienced love with my family and their friends. But I only stayed in California for a week, the kind of spirituality I experienced was different, and there was no romantic relationship, although I kept dreaming of love.

EPL (CV) Day 2: Sing…Sing a Song

Today was a little more low-key than yesterday. I wore earrings for the first time in forever. (I had to get them re-pierced and I just took my earrings off.) It felt really weird, but I liked how they looked. But, like the nails, they are definitely not something I want to wear all the time.

The best part of the day, though, was going to the local arcade, where they had karaoke rooms, just like in Akibaranger. (If you don’t know what that is, Google it.)

It was so much fun singing karaoke in a place other than the usual Filipino family reunion. Di and her friends were hilarious!

Here are some grid photos featuring the highlights of the hour-long karaoke-rama.

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Now on a scale on 1-10, how 90s is my outfit?

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Eat, Pray, Love: The Catholic Version Day 1: Smells Like Teen Spirit

So if you can’t guess from the title, I am travelling! I am spending a week in sunny California as sort of an Easter vacation. So why the title? Because I was reading Eat, Pray, Love on the flight to Los Angeles.

I arrived in LA at around 10PM local time. It took a while for things to sink in because highways all look the same at night. It wasn’t until we found an In-N-Out that made me realize that I wasn’t in Texas anymore. (In-N-Outs just got started in Texas.)

The first thing I ate was a burger from In-N-Out, wrapped in lettuce, with a side of fries.

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It tasted awesome!

Today, I got my first manicure.

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It feels weird typing this out with acrylic nails glued to my hands. It was a nice treat, but I’ll be honest, it is not something I’d do often. But I do like how my nails look. I just wish I could name the color. So far, I call it “coral colored,” but you fashion-savvy readers should have a better name for this. (I picked an O.P.I. nail polish.)

After getting a manicure, my cousin Di asked me if I wanted to go to the mall with her and her friends. I was like “Why not?”

Being at a mall was actually a lot of fun. I got to know Di’s friends, Annie and Rocky, along with half a dozen others. I found a Disney Store there, which was seriously awesome since the one at my local mall closed down.

 

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Even though Di and her friends were younger than me, I got along with them well. I was able to make small talk easily, which is a big deal considering that I have autism.

After exploring the local mall, I went with Di and her friends to the local boba (SoCal speak for bubble tea) place. Di explained that back where I come from, the boba was pretty average. The place I went to was small, but they had a lot of good choices. I went with my tried-and-true favorite, a mango slushee with tapioca.

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I feel like I’m 17 again.