Letter to Self | “Bahala na…”

"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."  - Lao Tzu

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

Yesterday, I realized that Memorial Day Weekend 2014 is the weekend of many happenings:

  • My parents’ anniversary
  • My best friend will be back in California
  • The graduation of the Class of 2015 from USD
  • My cousin’s wedding
  • One of the weekends I planned to spend with my long-distance boyfriend

The first thing I thought of is how I could possibly be at each occasion and how I should prioritize them.

Naturally, the things that come first are family events, so weddings and anniversaries should be at the top. I have a lifetime obligation to my family and they will always come first.  However, there are things that are important to me outside of my family members and I know that I will regret missing them.

Then I thought, “It’s not fair.”  It’s not fair that so many important occasions are happening within two days’ time.

As I talked to my boyfriend last night, I kind of imploded with frustration.  There is no way that I will be present at everything, esp. since all of these events will be happening at different places within the two days of the weekend.

Whenever my plans go awry, I think of a Filipino saying that I learned about last year: Bahala na, which loosely translates to either “Come what may,” or “Whatever will be, will be.”  My mom also says Bahala na ang diyos which means “Leave it up to God.”

I’ve heard this phrase a lot in my years of listening to the language, but I didn’t learn the meaning until last year at a workshop for Filipino history.  I connected with the phrase immediately because of all the chaos that I was experiencing at the time during my second-to-last semester of college.  On top of my school work, I was working on campus, I was a student leader in the Filipino organization, I was having car troubles, and I was having financial aid problems.

That semester, I kept thinking,”maybe if I didn’t do so-and-so, then I would have been able to avoid all the trouble.”  But, the fact that everything was happening at once wasn’t under my control.  It just happened that way.  And looking back at the events that transpired that semester, I don’t regret anything that I participated in at all.  If I’ve learned anything from experiences like that and my current situation, it’s that nothing ever goes as planned. And all you can do is roll with it.

So, as I make my plans for the summer and throughout my life, I just have to remember that life goes on.  When things don’t happen as I plan them, I want to remember that it will be ok and that Fate or God has another path for me to follow.

I want to keep telling myself, “bahala na, bahala na,” like a tattoo on my heart.

Read more posts like this at my website! www.frankievictoria.com

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The Weekenders | Exploring Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

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Which way do we go? Compasses were graffitied all over The Funk Zone. Were they supposed to lead us somewhere?

Welcome to Funky Town.  This weekend, I decided to drag mine and my boyfriend’s butts off of the couch and go for a little adventure in The Funk Zone.  The Funk Zone is Santa Barbara’s hot spot for trendy tasting rooms, art, and local businesses.

I mainly wanted to look at murals and go for a wine tasting, so we did just that.  As it was almost dusk when we arrived, we decided to walk around and look for wall murals.

The Funk Zone is a small industrial area just off of Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.  It’s small, but a lot of the artsy stuff is concentrated towards the State Street side.  We managed to find a whole wall of murals.  Here are a few of my favorites.

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As the sun started setting, we headed towards Anacapa Street, where most of the popular tasting rooms were located.  I had looked up a couple of places to go to and decided to try a place called Corks n’ Crowns.  However, the patio was packed with people.  We didn’t even venture inside.  It must be pretty good if many people were there, but I wasn’t looking to push through a large crowd.

Right next door to Corks n’ Crowns, however, was a tasting room that I thought used to be the Anacapa Dive shop – I used to take swimming lessons there.  Based on that, a pretty patio with twinkle lights, and The Burger Bus food truck parked in front, we were drawn towards the Municipal Winemakers tasting room.

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The inside was overwhelmingly shabby chic and there was a good-sized crowd – enough to show that the place was good and not enough to take up every seat in the house.

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When we went up to the bar, the staff was friendly and informative.  It was $12 for a flight of 5 wines.  And there were free crackers.   We took a glass and a basket of crackers, claiming a spot on the porch in front.  It was a really nice atmosphere and it never got super crowded.

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My boyfriend and I don’t know too much about wines, but it was a good opportunity to learn what I like and what I don’t.  It was also a good chance to catch up with him – it had been a few weeks since I’d seen him.  We also had some fun with my camera, making some light art photography as cars passed by.

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Lights and ghosts…

Simply put, if you’re ever looking for a chill adventure on a nice night in Santa Barbara, think about hitting The Funk Zone.

The Weekenders | Connecting with my Greater Good in a Hike for Haiti

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This weekend, I have learned again that things happen for a reason.

Back in September, my mom had asked all of us if we wanted to do a “Hike for Haiti” for our church.  I was reluctant because it was early on a Saturday (yes, I am that lazy).  However, her desire to do it outweighed my reluctance to get up early for one Saturday, so I registered along with her.

One month after registering, this past week before the hike, I was feeling pretty down.  I felt lazy and lonely with a short wick of patience.  When I have weeks like this, there really is no hope for me to get anything done – or to want to get anything done.  I will watch too much TV, eat too much ice cream, decide that I can exercise next week, and avoid contact with people, even my family members.

So, going to this weekend’s Hike for Haiti wasn’t really something I was looking forward to.  However, after a night out with my parents and family friends, I was kind of looking forward to going outside and being active – even if it meant just walking around.  I had also decided to cover the event as a Noozhawk intern, so it’d would be nice to write something afterwards and get something out there on the web.

As it turns out, the Hike was really a refreshing experience for me.

When we got to Manning Park, where the Hike began, one of the first people I ran into was my first childhood friend, Katie.  She was always a bright ray of sunshine in my life as a middle-schooler, and she’s still exactly the same person.  Ok, not exactly the same, but still as much infused with unicorns and candy in every fiber of her being as she was before.

I was able to meet a lot of people at the event thanks to Sr. Kathleen Patrice, who I’ve known since I was a little kid at elementary school.  The Hike was also a benefit for a local nonprofit called Destined for Grace and I was able to meet the founders and talk with them.  The organization has a lot of thrift shops in the area, those of which I love going to, and all the profits made at these thrift shops fund a school in Haiti.

And as the Hike started, my mom walked alongside some old friends and I was able to hang out with my brother and talk with him as we walked together. He and my dad were acting like goofballs the whole way there.  It was nice to be together.

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He’s walking!

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Just getting water from the well…

From the beginning of the week to the Hike, I felt like anything I did had no meaning.  Things would happen and no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I could not change the outcome of things.  For example, no matter how hard I try to wake up early, it will never happen.  I could go to my parents’ prayer group, but I’m not close enough with everyone to make a difference.  I have also been brooding about things that are happening outside of my control, like where my boyfriend will go to med school.

Sometimes, in the words of someone who works with me, I was just having a hard time last week.  It’s not like anything has triggered these emotions (maybe hormones have), but I just feel them all at once.

I am not saying that going on the Hike for Haiti made my feelings go away, but something alleviated these feelings.  Action, and it didn’t benefit just me.  I decided initially to go on the Hike for my mom.  And I covered the event for my news organization because I didn’t think anyone in our community knew about this great event and about Destined for Grace.

Life is always a work-in-progress.  It will never be perfect and I will not always be happy.  But I think what I can take away from all of this is that action is always the best medicine.  Writing it all down, going on a walk, anything.  The less selfish the action is, the better.

I recently came across this quote that explained it perfectly for me.

Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

– Ovid

So instead of using my strength to worry about myself, I need to remember to use it in the action of taking care of others.  That’s where my happiness lies.

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Me after the hike :) Thanks for reading everyone!

Baking Adventures: Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookies from “Ambitious Kitchen”

I’d like to introduce you all to some of the best snickerdoodle cookies ever:

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Last weekend, I tried out this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen for Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookies, and the result were very appetizing!

I had planned to make these things a while ago, but it turned out that I didn’t have the right ingredients yet.  And I got lazy.  It happens.

The the recipe is again quite simple.  The most complicated part was browning the butter.  Yes I know, it’s really just heating up some butter, but I had never really browned butter on purpose.  I didn’t really know how long it should take or what oven setting to use.  In the recipe, it says that it takes a couple of minutes to brown 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) at a medium heat – I think it took me a little longer, maybe 5 or more minutes, but it’s not that big of a difference now that I’m writing it.

The recipe also calls for the dough to chill for at least three hours in the fridge and recommends an overnight chill for soft cookies.  I chose to do it overnight and I am happy I went that way.  The author kept saying that freezing the dough would not give the same results and I am not sure why.  Any idea anyone out there?

So, after chilling the dough in the fridge overnight, I baked them in the morning while watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.

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DSC_0034They were super easy to work with and everything was set up in no time for baking.  The recipe says that you should bake between 8 and 11 minutes or until the edges were brown.  I always like my cookies a little under-baked, but I know my mom at least like a little crunch.  It was kind of hard to tell if they were getting brown on the sides, but at 8 minutes, they still looked a little raw.  After three more minutes, they looked done.  They had a really nice crackled look to them, thanks to the sugar/cinnamon coating.  They look a bit lighter than the ones on the recipe website, but the taste was great!  Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside – like good bread, except sweeter and cinnamon-ier.

A great recipe that I definitely recommend.  My brother, who is a cinnamon monster, said they were very good too, so that was cool.

If you want to see the recipe, click here.

 

 

Baking Adventures: Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies from “How Sweet It Is”

IMG_0035I’ve been collecting recipes for all kinds of meals and desserts (mostly desserts though) to hone my skills for future cooking and baking.  This weekend, I decided to start with this recipe for Double Chocolate Cheescake Cookies from a cute little blog called How Sweet it Is.

The recipe was really simple – no complicated instructions.  The dough was a little bit sticky when it was all mixed together, but there were instructions to chill it in the refridgerator for about fifteen minutes.  After that, it was easy to work with and, with the help of a cookie dough scooper, I was able to plate everything out nicely to bake.

IMG_0021So I got the little poop balls into the oven and waited.  The instructed cooking time is 10-15 minutes.  I usually try to under-bake my  cookies because I prefer them chewy so I started at 10 minutes.  I stuck a fork in the cookies in the middle of the sheet at the 10 minutes mark, but they were seemingly under-cooked, as some chocolate dough had come up with the fork.

I tried another 5 minutes and then stuck the fork in again, hoping that they weren’t hard.  The cookie wasn’t hard, but there was still dough coming up for some reason.   Then I figured out that the fork was bringing up melted chocolate from the chocolate chips in the batter – so then I was worried that they were overcooked.

Fortunately, they still were quite soft after cooling.  I whipped up the mascarpone frosting (I actually didn’t know what mascarpone cheese was until I made the frosting) and piped them on and the cookies tasted pretty good.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure they turned out quite right.

In the pictures on the blog, they seem a lot more chewy and melty and fudge-y.  Mine are a bit more dry and … heavier.  They act like brownies.

Also, I’m not sure I taste the cheesecake in these double chocolate cheesecake cookies.  I mostly taste chocolate.  The mascarpone frosting helps cut the chocolate taste a bit, so I’m glad I decided to add it.

It’s definitely not a bad thing.  Too much chocolate, I mean.  Next time, I just may add more cream cheese and less chocolate.

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A Stroll Through Lotusland

A Stroll Through Lotusland

I got to visit Lotusland today, and it is truly worth the visit for all of you nature-lovers.  For those of you not familiar, Lotusland is a magical garden in the middle of Montecito, California.  It is the historic estate of Polish opera singer Ganna Walska, who was a plant enthusiast and (from what it sounds) an extremely eccentric woman.  These botanical gardens were her masterpiece. She spent years collected the plants in the estate and creating a unique habitat for each type of plant, including succulents, bromeliads, and cacti.

There are very few flowers in the estate – it was said that she wanted to be the only flower in her garden.

Here’s more from our trip!

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Learn more about Lotusland.  If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

The Weekenders | An Eventful Week

Summer officially started two weeks ago and I haven’t used up my free time too well (hey, me and my Netflix account have been really friendly, there’s something).  But I’ve found the time to go outside and get some work done (and read the news too!), so here’s a few of the highlights from my last week (no ranking involved here).

1. Star Trek: Into Darkness

My mom is really a trekkie.  Who knew?  Anyways, it was another great addition to the Star Trek series.  Might even start watching the tv show (more because it’s conveniently streaming on Netflix).

2. Seeing Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini is a former Olympian (runner) and a WWII veteran and POW.  He is the subject of the New York Times’ Bestselling novel Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

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I got to see Zamperini speak at a United Boys and Girls Club fundraiser that I was covering for Noozhawk.  He’s kind of a boss and has a really great sense of humor.  You can read my story about the event and about Zamperini’s life story at Noozhawk.  Kind of disappointed that the pictures came out blurry – it just sends me the message that my camera is again unsuited for my career choice.  Still, a great experience and Mr. Zamperini is truly an inspiration.

3. I finally make a video

I MADE A VIDEO FOR GIRL’S ROCK! Finally came through with one of my ideas to edit some interviews with GRSB volunteers.  Still working on a few more videos – it’s been a little under a week since I made one and I’m hoping that I can continue to make more videos without basking in my own glory because I am pretty proud of myself (not that it’s amazing haha).

You can watch it here on the YouTube Channel for Girls Rock SB!

4. Cheese, Grommit! 

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Finally went to C’est Cheese!  Got to eat at this great little shop on Santa Barbara Street for breakfast on Saturday morning.  They recently acquired the shops next to them (formerly occupied by a small bookstore and Our Daily Bread which moved to De La Vina) and are expanding into a larger shop.  For now, they operate with friendly service and have a really wicked blt sandwich.

5. Love prevails

Prop 8 is officially overturned by the Supreme Court.  I think the first same-sex marriages were allowed in CA this morning.  There was a lot of other things happening, including Wendy Davis filibustering an abortion bill in her state of Texas as well as the Supreme Court dismantling key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 originally placed to prevent racial discrimination in voting in 9 Southern states.

Really an exciting week, not just for me, but for the country.  Thanks for reading!

The Weekenders | Graduation Edition

The past week has been full of so much love, hope, excitement, friendship, and tears.  It’s hard to choose just five, but here goes.

1. Disneyland

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California Adventure with these fools

It was a post-finals party with Betty, Carol, and Stanley at the Happiest Place on Earth.  I have been to Disneyland at least 8 times in my whole life – this was one of the most memorable times.  Disneyland is making some changes to their look and programming and it makes it really worth every penny.  Another post coming soon about our trip!

2. Pilipino Graduation a.k.a P-Grad

FUSO sent off their seniors with a bang at a celebration of their accomplishments and impact on FUSO and its members.  This organization sparked in me something very powerful – a recognition of my true self.  Without it, I would have been miserable during my time at USD, and I am so grateful for everything it has given me.

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Anthony-Kaps!

Anthony wrote a beautiful speech about me, and I hope I can live up to his and the rest of FUSO’s expectations for me.  It was an honor and a privilege.  

3. Baccalaureate Mass

Being one of the four senior cantors for the undergraduate Baccalaureate Mass was so thrilling – hearing my voice echo through the Jenny Craig Pavilion was astonishing and powerful.  It’s an experience I will never forget (more likely due to the fact that my dad recorded it and has been showing it off non-stop).

I will miss singing at Founder’s Chapel immensely.  It has been such a sacred space for me and my peers – a home.  

4. Commencement

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The aftermath

Betty, Stanley, and I were all seated near to each other.  After the ceremony, we stood up and huddled together and just smiled at each other.  Turning our tassels from one side to another was such a weird ritual, but it symbolizes so much.  It was the last time I’d see a lot of my friends, and I felt like crying, but everyone was so happy.  

5. Last Moments

Betty, Carol, and Stanley and I just fooled around as we packed up the rest of our things in our room.  

Stanley said loudly that he had literally packed nothing, while Betty sat on the floor in front of her suitcase trying to fit her clothes inside with a small box covered with a tied plastic bag.  Carol was sitting at the table on her Macbook.  Micah came wearing a black wife beater (it was the only clean shirt he had, according to him) and helped Stanley take the trash out.

These are the things I’m gonna miss and the moments I’m gonna remember.  Just sitting around our room talking about nothing, yelling at each other because we can, and trying to find food to eat.  It’s not significant, but it’s special to me.  

 

So concludes my graduation weekend in a nutshell!  Here’s to more moments and memories.  

See you next weekend!

Weekender’s Choice | Cheers, San Diego!

The end is near… here are the highlights of my weekend.

1. ATLA Marathon Round 2: Legend of Korra

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Everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked… Stanley and I finally finished “Avatar: the Last Airbender,” and are making our way through the sequel to the series, titled “The Legend of Korra.”  It’s only 12 episodes long, and as of now, we have on the season finale to finish.  After watching the two series in a row, it’s pretty clear that LOK was only meant to be a special, stand-alone series for ATLA fans.  I am excited to see what they are going to do with the next book.

2.Tacos El Gordo

It was 1am in Pacific Beach and our group of friends decided to call it a night.  Our usual stop for food after a night of drinking would be Santana’s a.k.a. Fresh MXN, which has a pretty mean surf and turf burrito.  This night, we decided to switch it up a bit and go to Tacos El Gordo.  I had heard the name before and my friend, Chris, was especially excited to go.  After a twenty minute drive, I was starting to think that I wanted my usual La Paz with horchata.  But when we got there, it was packed.  I told Chris to order two of whatever he got and then I went to the bathroom.  I came back to twelve little carnitas tacos, all of which were on separate little paper plates.  I’m not a big meat eater, so at first, I was a bit overwhelmed.  But it was some great food.  I did not eat all of them, but I will definitely be making a trip back there someday.

3. Shop shop shop

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There’s nothing like some retail therapy to forget about finals, get excited for graduation, and spend some quality time with my kapatid.

4. Let’s go to the beach, beach

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I woke up Sunday morning really wanting to spend some time outside.  Kayla and Jessette and I went to Mission Beach.  It was packed – families, tourists, students, bums – you name them, they were probably there.  Not really the peaceful afternoon I was looking for, but it was fun people watching with these two.

5. Last Mass at Founder’s Chapel

I didn’t realize it until Sunday morning, but I would be going to my last Mass at Founder’s Chapel as an undergraduate.  I decided not to be a part of the choir – it ended up being a good choice, because once the entrance song started to play, I started to cry.  So much has happened in that space.  I saw the Choral Scholars perform there on my first visit there, I would go to Mass for Peace there every Wednesday as a first year, I have sung there, I’ve cried there more times than I can count.  It’s bittersweet.