Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ya girl is an idiot...

I wanted my hair cut shorter. Why? Because I get antsy when my hair is one length for a long period of time. I told Dwayne who said "Get it cut. It's just hair." He now recants that statement. So, my dumb butt decided to allow these folks to EXPERIMENT on my hair. I'm too embarrassed to take a picture of myself but it was a little like this:

I was so embarrassed during my walk home. I'm always stared at while out and about here but it was a little extra today. I sent Dwayne a text letting him know how unhappy I was. He laughed at me. When he got home to see me, he said "Yeah, you do look like a hot mess." I explained that I really needed a little positive affirmation. Tell me my eyes sparkle, my baby toe looks nice, something.

Needless to say, I will be working on my mane tonight. Tomorrow, it will be fabulous...I hope. If not, somebody please tell Brandye I might need to fly her out here for a quick trip.

Oh yeah, I also found my first gray hair. I was a little excited because I think gray hair is so pretty. I might not be excited when my gray hair moves her cousins into my head.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What would you do?

We're back from our fabulous trip to Hong Kong. Of course, I will blog about it later. For now, I have questions for y'all.

A white South African woman said to my Black American husband "I'm more African than you are." How would you reply?

Danae wants her hair to look like the Filipino people or even like her mommy. I want her to have a healthy self esteem. I always tell her that she is beautiful and especially focus on her hair. But, her texture is different from mine. And, there are few black people here and no one who wears their hair naturally. So, she wants long, straight hair (should I be offended that she doesn't want shoulder length curly hair like her mother). How would you handle that? By the way, the only thing I have that might do the trick is a flat iron. But, we live in a tropical climate which means a lot of humidity.

Our nanny asked me today if we would consider taking her back to the USA when we leave. She desperately wants to improve her life and accomplish her goals and doesn't feel she can do that here. I don't think I want the extra responsibility but I do feel her life COULD improve there. Of course, it could not. I told her Dwayne and I would have to discuss it. He asked me to find out her action plan. She's afraid to talk to him so I'm the liaison. How would you respond?

That's all. I'm sleepy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Birthday Girl!

My baby girl turns 3 years old on Monday, January 21, 2008. I can't believe it! To celebrate, we are going to Hong Kong Disney. She is so excited about seeing Mickey Mouse. I really hope this birthday is just as wonderful to her as she is to us.

Here's a little walk down memory lane. The first picture is from her actual birth day.

These pictures were taken on her 1st birthday. I couldn't choose one to put on the blog.

This picture is from her 2nd birthday.

And, next week I'll have pictures from her 3rd birthday.

Now, I have a question for you. Danae wants to be a big girl and wear fingernail polish and lip gloss. There is no way she'll have any of it any time soon. But, I was wondering, ladies, when did you start wearing nail polish? If you have daughters, when did you let them wear it or when will you? I don't remember when I first used nail polish. I remember that I could only have pale colors.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Boracay Vacation Recap

We're about to go on another exciting vacation and I just realized I never told y'all about the last one.

December 7-10, 2007 - Boracay Island in the Philippines

Since we arrived in the Philippines, we kept hearing that we should go to Boracay because of the beautiful beaches and the nice resorts. So, of course, we decided to try it out. We don't know if we'll ever get back to this side of the world again so we're going to see as much of it as possible.

Boracay is on one of the smallest islands in the Philippines. On the map, it's just a dot you wouldn't even pay attention to. We had a wonderful time there. The water was nice and clear like in the Caribbean. The sand was almost white but it was the softest sand I've ever felt in my life. It was like cake flour after it's been sifted. While there, we chilled a lot.

Laid back on the lounge chairs by the beach.

Played in the sand with the kids. At least I did. Daddy didn't want sand all over him.



Chilled some more.

Dwayne rode a jet ski while the kids and I floated on a raft in the China Sea. We all rode on glass bottom boat called, and painted like, Finding Nemo. Dwayne and I took turns snorkeling. We tried to convince Danae to get in but she's a bit scary. The boat captain went to find cool things for us to look at. So, the kids touched starfish and crabs and other stuff I don't really remember right now. For some unknown reason, we didn't take our camera on the boat ride so we don't have pictures.

While there we stayed at Friday's Beach Resort which was really nice. Dwayne took one of the following pictures. Can you guess which one? His excuse was that he was trying to take a picture of the Friday's sign but those women were in the way. Yeah, right. We stayed there so he could have easily taken a picture some other time.

They had shows during dinner. Dwayne and Danae got a certificate for learning how to do the Tinikling Dance, which is the national dance here. There are several resorts in Boracay but you don't really see them. Here, they have small resorts that are still five star. You don't see the skyscrapers. So, you get to enjoy the natural beauty of the environment while living in luxury. Perfect! Also, there are very few cars in Boracay. You ride around town on tricycles, which is a cart attached to the side of a motor know the little motorcycle type things.

Funny Stories:
  • We spent quite a bit of time shielding our kids from a certain sunbather. A middle-aged lady with very saggy boobies was trying to get an even tan. Not cute!
  • For some reason, the hotel didn't have a tub, only a shower. So, one evening Brayden decided to run out of the shower, poop on the floor, run out of the bathroom, poop on the floor some more, and then run back in, and pee on the floor. I couldn't catch the sucka in time to stop him. Not cute!

Getting there:
We had to fly 45 minutes to Kalibo, ride in a van for an hour (or something like that)to Caticlan, and then take a 10-15 minute boat ride over to Boracay. Getting on the boat was not fun. We had to walk on a plan about a foot wide with no guard rails. I was scared to death. At the end of the vacation, when we rode the boat to Caticlan the tide was low. So, some locals waded out to the boat, hoisted us on their shoulders and arms and carried us to shore. I am not lying! I am only upset that we don't have pictures to prove it. I was too nervous to take pics of anything.

The trip was a lot of fun and very relaxing. Dwayne and I usually take vacations that are action packed so we have to rest when we come back home.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pics that make me smile

Today, I was looking through our pictures because I have to send a pic to school with Danae for them to put on the wall. These made me smile. They're from Easter 2007.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We're Sick

Pollution can kill ya! Dwayne, Brayden, and I have been sick for a couple of weeks now. Finally, we received the correct diagnosis. We have infections in our throats that resulted from pollution. I didn't know it would be that serious. Apparently, the number one cause of expats getting sick is pollution. They had us worrying about malaria and dengue fever.

This is reason #367 why I'm ready to go home.

Little Miss Independent!

I've been accused of showing favoritism with my son. I don't love him more than Danae. He's just different. He loves to take pictures and to be the center of attention. Danae prefers to be in the background most of the time. As you can tell, she didn't want to take the above picture. She would only take it with the sticker on her forehead and if I promised to take the picture all the way at the bottom of this post. Of course, she has superstar moments too but not as much as him. So, he just provides more material for my blog. Anyway this entry is all about her.

Danae is in school now...kind of. She attends Gymboree's GLLP Program. This is like a preschool. It's 3 days a week and lasts 2 1/2 hours each session. This is only her second week but it's going well so far. She really loves being with other children her age. She's the only American and the others are Filipinos.

Dwayne and I looked at other schools but chose Gymboree. It's in walking distance since it's connected to our building. More importantly, she won't be under as much pressure as the other preschools. The international schools for children of expats are incredible. They really push the children to achieve excellence. That's all good except my baby is only 2 years old...well she'll be 3 on January 21st but she's too young for all that pressure. Of course, we want her to excel but she has time. We want her to enjoy herself. So, she needs time away from mommy and with other people her age. Mommy needs time away from her too.

So, her first day was cool. I stayed with her for about 30 minutes. I snuck out and she looked worried so I stayed where she could see me through the window. Then, she got comfortable and forgot all about me. Now, she loves school and can't wait to go. Here are a couple of school pics:

Danae is very independent. She likes to do things by herself. She prefers to go in her classroom alone. She wants to do everything she sees us do and gets very frustrated if she can't. She's also a serious perfectionist. On the other hand, she is very affectionate and caring. If you hurt, she hurts...seriously. She fights with her brother like most siblings but is fiercely protective of him. Basically, she can treat him like crap but nobody else can even try it.

She's also funny. This morning at breakfast, an older black man walked in. She said "Mommy, do you see the grandfather?" I asked her why she said that. It was because he was dark (like her grandfathers) and old. I guess he made her think of her own grandpas. She also likes to mimic the Filipinos. She knows their accents, words, diction, everything. She has us rolling when she gets going with that. She can imitate her yaya too.

She remembers everything. People, places, specific events. The other day she was talking about the Fourth of July celebration we attended in San Ramon. She described it in detail. She talks about her godparents' wedding a lot and her friends from Houston even though we haven't lived there since early March of last year.

So, like any mother I think my almost 3 year old is simply amazing. Here she spelled her name with stickers of her belly. Isn't that a cute little belly?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How my boy turned my day around...

Today I was a little disappointed because my cell phone was stolen again. This time it happened at church. Actually, my cell phone holder was taken out of my purse in the kids sabbath school class. The key to our apartment was in there too. But, we've already had the locks recoded so no biggie. I was just very disappointed. Of course, Dwayne reminded me that we are in a country where most of the population is very poor. And, theft is common, especially cell phone theft.

When we first moved here, my cell phone was stolen. And, the person downloaded all kinds of movies that I had to pay for. Cingular/AT&T had no pity on me.

But then, just a few minutes ago, Brayden said "boo boo" and then he said "hold it" while going in the direction of the bathroom. So, he sat on the toilet seat that Auntie Crissy bought us and used the toilet for the first time. We were so excited! And, my day just got better.

To the person who said I act like Brayden is my favorite child, tomorrow's entry will be all about Danae.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No DL Brothers Here!

Like most places in the world, there are a lot of homosexuals here. A lot!!! Doesn't matter much to me as long as they don't bother my husband. However, there is a little someone that works a kiosk in the mall who likes to make googly eyes at Dwayne. Needless to say, he is not impressed or flattered or entertained by that at all.

But, one thing that is not common here is the down low concept. The gay men here are gay and proud of it. You don't really find many manly looking men with a gay guy either. You see two feminine dudes together. They don't have the problem of women married to men who are sleeping with other men. Why? Because being gay is not stigmatized here. People won't look down on you or ostracize you because of it.

So, you see a lot of men with gorgeous hair, flawlessly made up skin, perfectly fit bodies proudly walking around. Sometimes, you can't tell if they are a man because they're just so....well....beautiful.

I rather prefer it this way. At least women don't have to wonder if the man they're interested in likes women. You can tell by looking at them. The stigma is in men who look like men but are gay. That's uncommon and seriously looked down upon.

Here's an example of an openly gay men. Now, he is not cute at all so don't expect that. He was just interesting. I took my kids to see the Alvin and the Chipmunks show and he sat next to us. He kept fixing his makeup throughout the show. This picture is of him in line waiting to take a pic with the cast. No, he didn't have any kids with him. And, he was dancing along and everything. Enjoying himself immensely with no shame.

Of course I had to include a picture of my kids too. This is them with the nanny and cast of the show.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

So, what are you?

I think I'm a chameleon and here's why.

When I've traveled to Mexico, people would come up to me and speak in Spanish only. They thought I was Mexican. When we first moved to Houston, the maintenance guy there would only speak to me in Spanish. I thought he didn't speak English but it turns out that he spoke to Dwayne in perfect English. He, too, thought I was Mexican. As far as I know I ain't got one bit of Mexican blood in me.

In the Philippines, when I'm out alone people speak to me in Tagalog. They think I'm Filipino...except when I wear my hair in its naturally curly state. Then they don't know what I am.

In the USA, people would ask me all the time what country I was from; what was my ethnicity. White people, however, always thought I was Black. Interesting, huh. For a portion of elementary school I attended an all-white school and everyone there said I was black. No questions asked. In fact, in my childhood years, people didn't really question my race. In our city, we had Black folks, White folks, and Korean folks (which really encompassed all Asians in our minds). I was Black.

It was only when I left my hometown that I had to really face the question: So, what are you? I'm a human...a woman. No, I mean what race are you? I'm Black. Yeah, I tell people all the time that I'm a Black woman. Most of the time, that leads to more questions.

So, here's the deal. Biologically, I'm a mixed chick. I'm biracial. My biological mother was a white woman and my biological father was a black man. But, that doesn't shape who I identify with. I was adopted by a Black couple. I was raised by a Black extended family. I attended a Black church. Lived in a Black neighborhood. In my elementary school, I was discriminated against as a Black girl. I sound like a Black woman (or so I've been told). My parents raised me as a black person. During slavery, they said all you needed was a drop of black blood and you were black. Well, I have that drop of blood and I'm proud of it. I grew up with a girl who was also mixed. She's darker than me and her hair is kinkier. Her ethnicity was never questioned unless people saw her with her white mother. When people see Halle Berry, they see a Black woman. But uh, her mama is white. Barack Obama? Same thing. What's the difference between me and them? Dominant and recessive genes. I guess my daddy's genes weren't strong enough.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

When memory fades

Last week, or maybe the week before, Danae and I watched a movie. I have no idea of the name of the movie and don't really feel like looking it up right now. It starred Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts. Susan was dying of cancer. Julia was living with Susan's ex-husband. Susan and the ex had two children. Susan had to deal with allowing another woman into her children's lives and resigning herself to knowing that she was dying and another woman would continue to raise her children. I cried like a big old baby. Danae gave me a hug and a kiss and told me it was okay. She will be 3 years old in 18 days and she's already a nurturer.

After that, I thought of my own mom who succumbed to cancer when I was 16. I wonder if she had some of the same thoughts as the lady in the movie. I wonder how she dealt with it all.

And then, it hit me. I couldn't remember her laugh. That hurt so bad. She died on April 7, 1994 and I can't remember her laugh. I have an idea but I can't hear it. I hate the fact that my memory of her is fading. There are some things that I'll never forget but I honestly can't remember her laugh. That truly sucks.

This morning, while at breakfast, I put my hand up to my mouth and I smelled her. I don't know where the smell came from but it was so very comforting. I needed that today. I sat there at breakfast with my hands to my mouth for a very long time trying to breathe in every single drop of the scent. I really needed that.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hey Y'all!

Christmas was very nice. We even had a pretty good meal. It was hard to find all the necessary ingredients for us to have a truly country Christmas meal but we did have turkey, stuffing (as in Stove Top), mac and cheese, broccoli casserole, cornbread, dump cake, and maybe something else. I can't remember! I was craving my auntie's collard greens and dressing though.

For New Year's Eve, we went to the celebration near here. They had live performers, food, a lot of noise. We left by 9:00, went to eat, and then headed home. Danae stayed up until about 1 am because she was scared of the fireworks. They were EVERYWHERE! They have no laws against them here so we just looked out of the window at about 100 displays all around us. You know how the people put on shows for the 4th of July. Well, that's what people were doing at their own houses. Madness! It sounded like a war was going on outside. Danae sat in her dad's arms, wrapped under the covers, scared to death. I thought it was kinda cool.

We are so ready to come home. If Dwayne's company said we could go back to the USA but only if we moved Montana or Maine we would be right there. We are READY! It's so bad that we were mildly depressed a little. So, supposedly we're leaving here on March 31st headed back to Houston. Hopefully, nothing changes.