I used to always wonder and ask you, “How did we get here?” And you would always say, “No clue?!” We just laugh and are amazed at how we’re even where we are. Seeing us from the outside, we don’t have a lot in common. You like sports, cars, and all things manly. I like to knit, crochet, sew, and all things craftsy. You’re a hoarder and I try to be a minimalist (yes, the operative word is ‘try’). You love to go shopping and I avoid the mall at all cost. I’m very meticulous, orderly, process-oriented, and methodical (at least in my head), and you lack patience for all of these things. I’m rash and make decisions quickly and on the fly with whatever information I have whereas you tend to overthink, contemplate every itty bitty piece of information, and want all the details and nuances before you can make a decision (which was always very annoying to me!!). I move at the speed of light and you tend to move at the speed of snail (at least that’s what it seemed like in my head). You like to hold on to everything, you don't know how to let go of anything. Even when I throw things away that are broken, you pull it out of the trash and put it away because you're 'going to fix it!!' Nothing gets fixed and I'm just stuck with a house full of STUFF!! I throw everything away, I don't like to hold on to anything. I like to live with the least amount of attachments since that's what the Dali Lama says is the art of happiness.
You love watching TV, this was your thing; your favorite pastime. When I met you, I didn't watch TV at all. I remember when we first started dating, you were in town during the end of March Madness, and you were planning on watching the game at my apartment. Only to find out I didn’t have cable and the TV was only to watch movies on DVD. (Yup, that’s how long ago it was when we first met! DVDs?! And, cell phones weren’t smart yet, and we still had landlines at home, and you would call and leave me messages on my answering machine.) “What do you mean you don’t have cable? You have a TV?! How am I supposed to watch the Fantastic 4?” (you know what I mean babe, the end of March Madness - I always call it the Fantastic 4, but I think you call it something else.) So, you decided to go watch the game at the local bar down the street, not quite grasping that I live in Hillcrest, which is the Castro of San Diego, and it turns out, all the big screen TVs were showing the Home Shopping Network and the game was on a tiny TV behind the bar. When you got back, I said, “The game is over already?” You said, “No, they played the home shopping network on the big screen TVs, and I got tired of trying to watch the game on the little screen behind the bar because the bartender was always in the way.” We still laugh at that story even 14+ years later. But look at me now, we have the biggest cable package known to mankind (at least in my mind!) and I watch all sorts of shows on TV now. Anytime I’m trying to get stuff done around the house, all I hear you say is, “Babe, come watch TV with me.” Yes, I know you have other interests like cars, fishes, sports (you were definitely a big time sports fanatic; you’d watch tennis and golf in the off season). No babe, I won’t tell people the story about the line of scrimmage. How was I supposed to know it was only computer generated for TV viewing pleasure.
But if there’s one passion we shared, it was FOOD!! I mean, look at us, we put on so much weight since we’ve met. We used to lay and cuddle on the sofa but we don’t fit anymore!! You would say, “This is what happiness looks like!” You used to rub my belly like I was a Buddha and give me that smile and look that says, “geesh babe, you’ve put on weight!” After a few years, it got old and I finally made you stop (even though it probably took another few years of me yelling, “Stop!” before you finally stopped!) We love to explore new foods and we would drive all over the place to get good food. One year, we made a one day round-trip drive to Sparks, NV for the BBQ cook-off. Who does that?! We would also drive all the way to San Jose for Boiling Crab and wait two hours to get seated (that’s a total of 3 hours of waiting and driving before we even got seated)! Who does that?! Overtime, you experimented with your own seafood boil recipes and we just started making it at home ourselves. You introduced me to roasted crab and garlic noodles at Thanh Long (even though I still think my grandfather’s crab is better!). Over time, I mastered the roasted crab and garlic noodle recipe and we would just make it at home ourselves. We also enjoyed going to the Girl and the Fig in Sonoma after doing our rounds of wine tasting and buying olive oil and flavored balsamic vinegar from the Olive Press. One thing I have to say is, “I love having a husband that cooks,” sharing the burden of feeding us was great! My only complaint is that you didn’t know how to clean the dishes though (You refused to use the dishwasher, so you did the dishes by hand. I would always take everything you cleaned by hand and load it into the dishwasher when you weren’t looking. And, loading the dishwasher is considered doing dishes, okay babe!--even if you didn’t think so, the dishes were cleaned, so that’s doing the dishes). Actually, I have another complaint, why do you feel the need to use every since pot, pan, and cooking utensil we have to cook one meal. By the time you’re done cooking, it looks like you should have made a 5-course gourmet meal and not just spaghetti and meatballs (but I guess that’s what happens when you only cook and don’t do the dishes. I know, your response is, “You don’t like the way I do dishes.”) One thing I will definitely miss is your fried chicken. I used to have to beg and plead for you to make fried chicken and mac ‘n’ cheese.
Travel - now that’s my passion! When I met you, you didn’t even have a passport. Who doesn’t have a passport? Come to find out, you have a fear of flying (yes you do babe, even though you hid it will). I finally convinced you to go on a trip to Belize. The carrot I dangled was that you would get to spend part of the trip doing nothing but lay on the beach and drink tropical alcoholic beverages with those fake umbrellas in it. But what I didn’t tell you was that we were “roughing it” during my portion of the trip, which was before your portion of “doing nothing but drink tropical alcoholic beverages on the beach.” I remember when we arrived at the eco-lodge in the middle of the jungle in Punta Gorda after taking a small crop plane then a car ride through a muddy dirt road and a boat ride through the Mojo river, you said to me, “SY, I don’t see a hotel or room service anywhere!” Then I said, “Surprise babe, we’re staying in huts in the middle of the jungle with no TV or wifi, and we have to eat communally with the other guests!” Let’s just say, you weren’t too thrilled about any of it, but by the end of the trip, I know you loved it (no matter what you say)! And that’s how the rest of our annual vacations went, the beginning was always my adventurous and crazy vacation, and the end was your reward, lounging on a beach or at pool somewhere with room service and all the amenities. You didn't even have a passport when we first met, but now all you can talk about is where is our next vacation destination. Our last trip together was our honeymoon in Cuba. Cuba was just starting to slowly open up, and you wanted to see it while it was still a time capsule and before it got too touristy. You had an amazing time and got to see all the old skool cars. You were like a little kid in the candy store. I’m glad we got to go to Cuba since it was on your bucket list, and we had planned to go there again 5 years later to see how much it would change. We didn’t travel much after our honeymoon. Life got really real with the death of your aunt G and step-mom and then my grandma’s rapidly deteriorating health. We were planning to kicking off our annual vacations again this year, and I always wanted to take you to Southeast Asia since it’s my favorite region to travel in. I also wanted to take you to Cambodia and show you where I was born, but I guess that will never happen now. We always thought we had more time and that travel could wait, so we could take care of business at home when things got real these last couple of years. But, now looking back, we still should have continued traveling and not put it off, because nothing in life is guaranteed.
But at the end of the day, one thing I learned about us was that although we had very different interests, passions, and hobbies, we were built on very similar core principles that guided the way we chose to live our life. We always lived life fully and without abandon. We were very individualistic and marched to the beat of our own drum (even if at times we weren’t in unison, we still marched to our own personal beat until our beat met and aligned again). We never compromised ourselves, our principles, or our beliefs to fit into societal norms or constructs, and above all, family and friends always came first. These are the guiding principles that are fundamental to our core values and principles; these are the guiding principles that binds us together. These are the things that aren’t obvious when you first meet us, but they are the things that lay below the surface that you learn about us overtime.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.