Christmas Taking a Different Turn

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It’s that time of year. Christmas is the season of giving. Or that is what has been told to many. Gatherings, being with loved ones, and being jolly and having a grand ole time. So the other day I decided to have a little gathering of my own. I reached out to the people I had a special relationship, bond with that I hold in a special place in my heart here at home in Los Angeles. Making them brunch while doing a little white elephant gift exchange would be best as well as playing games having mimosas and just listening to Christmas music was very ideal and picturesque. I made special invites specifically for them to join me and they all accepted. I planned the entire two weeks for it from that point up until the planned Christmas Brunch Date. Little that I know the day took a turn.


My friend from San Francisco was coming into town to join the Christmas brunch date I planned. So I had to get my place ready. Throughout the week I bought little prizes that I put in gift bags to give to winners of these little games along with gift cards to Target, Coffee Bean and Trader Joes which I thought was adorable to give, along with little incentives on the side. As I was getting that ready and setting up the decorations, I was going to cook for my friends after picking up my friend at the airport. While doing all this, I received a text message from her saying that her plane was on a mechanical and that she would arrive an hour late. She asked if she still should come, but I told her, “Yes please do, because I want to see you” through a text message, since I haven’t seen her in a while. Besides, her and I were going to do the cooking and put a little mini concert for my friends at the end of the little soiree I planned, so I needed her. But, could this have been the start of a bad day? Well, I put that mind setting on the side and thought “alright, well let me get things started and prepare the food for cooking just in case people started showing up. I had vegan scones and potatoes I planned on making for my vegan friends that were coming. I had a rotisserie chicken I planned on glazing, side salads and fruits as well as 3 bottles of champagne ready to pop with strawberries in the mimosas on trays ready for my guests as they walked into the door. Plus I had the mistletoe hanging above the door I had ready to kiss my guests as they walked in, as a joke to both male and females, (LOL!). However, while prepping up I was getting a text that one forgot, so he wanted to relax. One down, no big deal. Another said she also forgot, Great!. And another had family issues she needed to deal with. It’s ok, Family First!. Another friend didn’t feel well so she could not make it, but that is ok, keeping good health is a must. Little did I know, as I was on my way to the airport to pick up my friend, I did not hear from everyone else, so no one showed up. The only ones that ended up showing up was my friend from San Francisco as well as a close companion of mine who is really good friends with my roommate who showed up with a white elephant gift at hand. In all honesty, I was heartbroken. With the year I’ve had, I just felt empty, like i had no one except the two that showed up which means a lot. She flew in from San Francisco to join in on the festivity but came to nothing. Although she said, lets have our own brunch, in which the three of us did. So we went on about our day and had a beautiful brunch in Downtown Los Angeles.
As I was heading home from brunch with my two friends, I received a call from my cousin in San Francisco. You know that feeling when your heart drops? Well my heart literally fell out and dropped after this phone call. About a couple of weeks ago around Thanksgiving, my first cousin from the Philippines found a tumor in her brain. To make a long story short, as they operated in getting the tumor out, the doctors supposedly hit a bad artery which caused blood clotting. After two to three tries in trying to get her brain function back to normal, she fell into a coma. It has been told that from the time I received that call from my cousin, that she only had a certain amount of time which was count down to hours to live. Remember how I said I felt empty, well this was when I really felt empty, cold, and depressed inside. My sister just had to go through the same situation, and to hear that my younger cousin is going through it and going into a coma made my heart ache. And to hear that she just got married to her high school sweetheart this past July just made it worse. My aunt is in loss for words. My Grandmother is stressed, let alone, if it were the case to see her grandchild go. What grandparent wants to see that? Especially this time of year, the season of giving, really took a turn in my family. The rest of the day, after dropping my friend back at the airport, i drove along the beach. To just try and clear my mind, but while I was driving there it started to rain. Then I took another turn, and decided to go to church. I felt at this point God needed to hear me. None of my friends showed up to the gathering I planned, so I felt I needed to turn to someone who I knew would be there regardless, and that was God. I cried, I prayed, I sang from my heart, I let it out. The day that went from I thought would’ve been a joyous little gathering turned into a day of mourning. My building mate, came down to see how I was doing. She bought me pizza, poured me a glass of wine and listened to me talk and be by my side. I really needed that. She had no words for me, but all she told me was, “I’m here if you need it and I’m sorry it hasn’t been the greatest year for you.”
I got on the phone with my Aunt, Uncle, Brother, Sister, and Parents just to see how they were doing. I think we were all in shock because we didn’t think that in our own family something so sudden would happen. After all this, with how the day went, I mean, was it even worth it even trying to have a brunch for those that didn’t even show up? I forgive that they didn’t come. Because at the same time, I don’t think I would want them to see my feelings and reactions when I received that call. At that point I think all the energy that I put in trying to make a successful brunch needed to be where it needed the most. Was prepping up to be with family for the holidays. These people are still my friends but it was not worth trying to waste my morning, day, let alone the past weeks in trying to make it a day. I felt horrible, empty, alone, depressed. At that point I wanted to be with family, my grandmother because of her pain. I just wanted to be with those that I needed to give and put the energy to, and that was family.
We all know this is the time of year where it tends to get busy and our minds wander elsewhere. That is the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But after that Sunday, I learned that we just need to appreciate what we have. Appreciate WHO we have. Who is it that you really need to give, put the energy to for this holiday season. Do you really need to buy that $100 present for your loved one? I think just being there for them and giving your heart and your love is what really matters the most. Do you really need all these friends that you tried making an impression for? Are they really your friends? Think about it. I tried making everything perfect for that day. But the day did not even happen. I felt i need to owe something to people, give to people. But I really don’t need to. I think it’s because of the mentality that we all are brainwashed this time of year. I really do love all of my friends, with all my heart. I consider them my loved ones. Family too. And as for my cousin, I pray for the best, wish for a miracle, and sending a lot of my love like I always do to everyone I know. it’s all in God’s hands. Love you Danelle ❤

The Trip Of A Lifetime…

Everyone pretty much knows that I owned it when it came to traveling this year. But the thing is, I OWNED 2015. A lot of it had to do with figuring out who I am, who my real friends are, and who needed me the most. I lost friends, but I gained my self dignity and pride in myself. Yeah it hurts, but I am a lot more happier than I was earlier this year. I had to eliminate a lot of the FAKE, THE PLASTICS, the ones who do not know what is going on for their lives and trying to reach what they THINK they need. For me, I just want to live life, have fun.

I travelled to 3 different countries, 11 cities, which adds up to almost 70,000 miles this year. In all of these places I’ve been to, I think I’ve learned something different about life and myself.
Someone told me that I was full of myself, but at least I love myself.
The ones need LOVE the most are the ones that I give and deserve it. Not the ones that want attention, but need the LOVE. There’s a difference.
When I was out and about dancing in the streets and made 21 euros, you shouldn’t care what people think. Just go out there and do you. When I donated that money to a homeless lady on the street, the ones that need it the most are more appreciative than the ones you know that you tried to be there for when you thought they need it, and then they burn you. Not cool.
You have to trust your own instincts. Trying to figure out the public transportation system in another country is not always the same as your familiarization in your town.
That Britney Spears is doing another residency for another two years in competition with Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey who is coming back for the month of February.
You need those days where you need to reflect, and just need time to meditate and relax. Sometimes you just need to let go of the gas and slow it down a bit because if you’re on overdrive then you’ll heat up. You need time to yourself to cool down from the hustle and bustle and in this crazy world we live in.
When you feel like you’re failing or if you lost, you just have to get up and keep moving. Yeah, I lost the fake friends, but they were fake, plastics, but you’re up and about and you keep moving.
This party town in south beach is always going to be there. Yeah we all have our obstacles that we go through, but there are more important things in life that needed to be done. FAMILY FIRST. If you don’t get it, then you don’t get me.
From all this, the bigger picture, I pretty much learned that I do not owe anything to anyone. The only person I owe something to is myself. You will never satisfy another person. In the long run, if you’re happy with yourself and doing what you love doing, then that is all that matters. Who cares about the fakes, the plastics, they only worry about their superficial lives and the other “artificials.” I really don’t need that many friends, and it is something that I am getting used to with out having what they call now a days a “squad.” But do you really need a group of friends to make you happier in life? I can count as many friends in just one hand and I’m good. And with family by my side, that is all that matters. Besides if you can be independent, then the stronger person you are. I’ve always told people and I have to keep repeating to myself to JUST DO YOU. Keep on going, move forward, because “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” And that’s what I’m doing.



I got off the metro not knowing where to go. The Concierge at the hotel told me to get off of Châtelet because that is the middle of everywhere in the city. There were about thousands of people at the metro station when I got off. As I went up the escalator it was a complete maze. Everything stated in French. It almost reminded me of Penn Station in NYC, but at least I understood what the signs meant. Thanks to my senior year in high school, I visited Montreal with my Student Government group and I remember “Sortie” which means exit. So I followed the “Sortie” signs and the sign that looks like a guy running eager to get out (coincidence). As I looked lost, a beautiful young African girl with a french accent asked me if I needed help. And I asked her “where do I go?” She pointed in a direction and said “continuer” which meant “keep moving.” So I went that direction and was turning left, turning right, going up the stairs, and down an escalator, I finally saw daylight. The smell of fresh air and cigarette smoke was very appealing to me compared to the common urine smell inside any typical metro or train station.


By the time I got outdoors, I had no idea where to go. I was still lost. it was like any typical city. I’ve been to a lot of the major cities in the U.S. and grew up in San Francisco, so walking out of the metro station was typical for me compared to walking out of the BART station on Embarcadero when I used to work for the radio station. But it’s different when everything is in a different language other than english, and especially when you do not know where you are. Back at the hotel, the Concierge offered to hand me a map, but I declined only because I wanted to figure my way around. Same thing happened in Madrid, I did not want a map, and I got lost there which was great. I prefer to walk around in a city I have never been to and get lost because I know I can figure my way around, and eventually get back to where I started. Because at that starting point, you know that you were never lost after all. Especially in a beautiful city like Madrid.

So I continued my way around the city, and my goal was to reach that famous landmark everyone keeps talking about. I figured all I need to do was look up and I could see what I wanted to see in a distance. It was stated that it was the tallest landmark in the world until 1930 when the Chrysler Building in New York City was built. I continued walking a couple of blocks but I really couldn’t see much with taller buildings and overcast skies with temperatures about 12 degrees Celsius, I was hoping that clouds and fog would not cover it but there weren’t that many sky scrapers to tell if tall buildings were covered by fog. About 10 minutes later I finally saw it, so I headed that direction in a rapid movement.

The Eiffel Tower didn’t look like it was that far, so I figure I walk it. But what a beautiful walk it was. The first thing I saw was the Pont Des Arts. And it was true, they were already taking half of the locks down. But it didn’t stop locals and tourists around to add more locks onto the bridge. With how beautiful the city and people are so drawn to falling in love or being in love, the lock and the key represents “Love is the key to the heart,” which is true. I believed it more when I came to this city.
A couple of blocks down was the Home of Napoleon and across the street the Palais Garnier. After seeing these popular city tourist sights, I was already overwhelmed and it was only the beginning of the trip, and maybe because I was still jet lagged. But it really hit me when I finally reached the Pont Alexandre III, especially with a crepe guy at the corner cooking crepes on his bicycle stand. I would see a lot of Pont Alexandre photos in magazines, engagement pictures, many times on the travel channel, since it is probably one of the attractions people tend to think of when they think of this city.
So I continued the walk. Dusk was approaching and street lights were turning on. It then started to sprinkle a bit, and I had no umbrella. So i started to walk faster. I reached a point where I had no idea where to go. I turned into a street and literally got lost. As I looked up I couldn’t see the tower anymore, thinking I went the wrong direction. I just started walking towards the ways I remember seeing the tower which I felt was north so I unknowingly went that route. Turning right, turning left, I started to see flash of lights blinking. In about 10 minutes after getting lost, there it was. The sparkling with its lights twinkling blinking TOUR EIFFEL.
Over the past couple of months I had to just figure out a lot of things. Certain people knew what I was going through and it took a toll out on me because over the past couple of years I faced a lot of challenges that I never would thought occur. Family member becoming sick, losing close friends over stupid bullshit, but then I realized that it’s a part of life. I felt like I’ve lost and I felt alone. These trips I took the past couple of months I have learned SO MUCH, especially when you go solo. But what this trip to Paris has taught me is that I’ve pretty much have done everything I could. Meaning, being there for family when they need it and trying to save friendships. It all just worn me out. So I had to go my own way, and going down that one road was definitely not for me. So I went the other way. And trying to find my way out of that metro station or figuring out how get to the Eiffel Tower is no matter the journey I’m taking it will strengthen me as I go along. Whether I’m just trying to deal with a family member being sick, losing friends, or even having a hard day at work, it will make me a stronger person. You learn from it as time comes and have to figure it out. You have to remember, I never used a map to try to find my way around Paris. It’s almost as comparison to buying a book on “How to Save A Friendship” or “How To Heal A Family Member” or “Why Did I Get Yelled at For Canceling a Trip Because My Sister Was Ill” you just have to figure it all out on your own, and when you move towards that direction, you’ll eventually understand why.
No matter the direction you take, whether you’re going left, going right, up the stairs, or even decide to take the elevator, or if you think you’re taking the wrong way trying to reach that destination, you’ll definitely see that light at the end. And when you see that light or reached it, you know you’ve overcame that obstacle. Like what the beautiful African French girl or Mademoiselle said, you have to keep moving. Like I said it’s a part of life. You will never get lost. You’ll eventually find your way back.
When I got to the Eiffel Tower the lights started flashing, like the lights you see in Vegas or Time Square. I knew I was going to be ok. Before I left my trip to Paris, a good friend of mine sent me a text, but it was a picture text that states “Those who fly solo has the strongest wings.” Traveling by myself this year made me a strong person. I still fight my battles, but I’m definitely stronger than I was before.