A Bumpy Road

 

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Another year has passed, and all I can say is…2015 was a bitch. It was a bumpy ride, literally and metaphorically. But when I look back and reflect on how my year went, I managed through it. You might’ve had worse or you may think it was nothing for me, but we all have different experiences in life that makes you stronger in the long run. Two of my loved ones got the bumpy ride as well. One battled, but one lost. As for me, I battled and also had bumps along the way, but I went into fifth gear and rode it out.

I was on my way home from Cancun making a connecting flight in Texas. I received a text message from my sister after passing through customs asking me when I was returning and to call her as soon as possible. When I spoke to her she told me her lymph node came back while vacationing. She lost her voice with a fever while her and her family was out celebrating the long Memorial Day Weekend. After a couple of biopsies and tests, they found a bump and said it needed to be removed. When I got off the phone with her, I was letting my heart out. Tears of pain and confusion occurred and people at the waiting area at the gate were asking me questions of comfort while I was waiting to board my flight back to Los Angeles. Even the Flight crew comforted me giving me alcohol, water anything to make me feel better, but I kept it all in. I didn’t know how to respond to people after a great getaway which ended my trip finding out about my sisters condition. Five years ago the same situation occurred and the pain she had to go through effected my family and didn’t want to see her go through this again. Doctors appointments and another surgery date was scheduled for mid summer, July to be exact.

I had planned on going on another vacation, a getaway the same time my sister was scheduled to get her lump removed. That bump needed to go. Prior to Cancun, I knew when I returned I would have to get with a friend of mine who planned this trip to Miami. I go to Miami maybe twice a year. I love that city, that is pretty much my second home. But at this point, what am I supposed to do? What would you do? Should I go to my sister and be with her while she gets her lymph node removed, or do I still enjoy my time in Miami? What is the smart thing to do? Ideally I would love to go to Miami. Coming back from Cancun, and going to Miami once or twice a year, it’s the obvious. My friend sent me a text asking if we can plan and go over trip details for Miami. But when I told her I couldn’t because of my sisters condition she was upset. A day later she calls and yells at me over the phone saying “how rude and inconsiderate I was” for not communicating with the rest of the group and not giving everyone else a heads up. I’m sorry, what difference does it make? I’m not going into other details about that conversation and situation because it boils my blood. After I spoke with the rudeness over the phone, I felt like my sister and the rest of my family was disrespected just because she was more worried about the trip to Miami over my sisters condition. Why yell at me because I’m cancelling out on a trip I would’ve LOVED to go to. Her reasons? Ask the people that were my friends, the ones that do not talk to me anymore, because her side of the story was believable and brain washing. None of them had reached out heard my side of the story, or even wished my sister the best. The other thing, the ones I introduced her to listened to her, and did not bother to reach out to me. MY FRIENDS, not hers. After these peoples relationship breakups, difficult everyday life challenges that I was there for, they did not want to be considerate, reach out to me, be there for me when I needed someone for comfort when I was scared for my sister. Her selfishness got the best of her, and everyone that I thought who had my back fell for it. My trust was lost after the disloyalty of these so called friends of mine. This whole entire time I was aquatinted with them was all a fake, plastic, non existent, time wasted. The list goes on.

During this Christmas season, I found out my cousin was in a coma. They found a tumor in her brain. The surgery did not become successful. Apparently the Doctors who operated on her brain mistakenly did something wrong. It resulted in a coma. My cousin did not make it. Christmas night I received a call from my sister and aunt at work saying that my cousin passed away. I was at the work when I received the news trying to hold it all in. As I walked out of work, I was pouring my eyes out. I knew that my cousin had a bump in her brain, but did not know that she actually went into the whole surgical process until my cousin gave me a call. I thought about my sisters situation. If the surgery didn’t go well that first time around, who would have known what happened. I can’t live without my sister, let alone my own family. God had made the decision, and this was it.

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There are a lot of bumps in this road and there are ways that you just need to figure out how to get rid of them. My sisters lymph node is still there. Luckily the week before she was scheduled to go to surgery, her results were looking positive and she needed to follow doctors orders to prevent it from getting worse. Unfortunately, for my cousin, she’s playing with the Angels. In life, we find bumps in the road, we either drive over them, or they’re in the way. For me, I’m still trying to get rid of the bumps and I’m currently eliminating them. I got rid of most of them. Those are the people that I’m losing trust in, but I stepped on the gas to get over it. It does suck that I lost these people that I thought were my friends, but they were never my friends to begin with. We all go through it.

That was 2015 for me. When I think about this year, I look ahead on how I want 2016 to be. I figured, let me just get through the year day by day. No New Years resolutions. The bumps that were in my way to begin with, I learned that I just have to fly by them. As a result in all this in 2015, I was able to travel more with not one thing to hold me down. Cancun, Madrid, Puerto Vallarta, Paris all in a couple of months. 60000 miles total travelled. And I checked off something big on my bucket list. Am I going to do the same thing in 2016? Probably. But like I said I’m taking it day by day. And if there any bumps in the way, get rid of it. How? You’ll know. I did.

I love you Ate. And to cousin Danelle, may you rest in peace. Play safe with the Angels. ❤

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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.
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CABO SAN LUCAS:
Someone told me that I was full of myself, but at least I love myself.
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PHILADELPHIA:
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.
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MADRID:
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.
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CANCUN:
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.
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IMG_2584_2LAS VEGAS:
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.
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PUERTO VALLARTA:
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.
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PARIS:
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.
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MIAMI:
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.
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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.
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PARIS IN PHOTOS…

I took a couple of head shots while I was in Paris because I wanted to. The rich history and beauty of this city made me want to do this. With being one of the most popular cites in this world and a high fashion market, I wanted to pretend I was in a magazine. My roommate told me that I literally looked like I was in a GQ spread. Hey, sometime you have to have it get to your ego just to boost your self confidence, right? Hope you like them. Enjoy 🙂

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MERCI PARIE

 

CONTINUER – KEEP MOVING

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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.

PARIS METRO SORTIE

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.