Saturday, December 12, 2015

November 2015

I spent the week back to "reality" doing my regular schedule and errands (e.g. raking) in Morris. I would share bits of my time of Hawaii last month from a day to day basis on my facebook photography site. It was "ok" weather, but not too cold. I was able to till my garden during the first week of the month. I also finally was able to get new tires in my new purchased bike after struggling with a cheap bike tire replacement tool. The weather has been nice and above average lately until Thursday (12th) as it got the coldest all season. Unfortunately, it was just one day and it got warmer afterwards. I haven't been used to the cold that I didn't go outside to watch it till the "last minute", but was late as the parade was over. The weather got so warm that I was doing a digging (egress project) for a friend of mine with just a shirt on Saturday (14th).

The temps started to drop throughout the third week. My friend was going to try to have me do one more egress window digging project, but haven't been able to with colder temps. Towards the end of the third week, there was a theatrical play my former director (for Aladdin) was doing. I was interested in checking it out as some friends (e.g. church) were in it. Plus, I wanted to enjoy watching it as an audience member instead of a performer. I went to workout on Friday (20th) after work and decided to just drive straight to the high school "last minute" to watch. I came there to find a long line and wasn't sure if I'll be able to see it as showtime was getting close. The director (Joe) came down from the booth to see the long line and decided to wait till everybody came in. While waiting, this lady came out of the auditorium waving a single ticket to see if anybody was solo. She came up to me and I said-"Yes"! I was very happy as I left the back of the line and went straight in to sit with this lady's (Allison) family-friends. I happen to know some of the people she was sitting with, so that made it less "weird". She ended up sharing that she saw me at "Real Ministries", so that made it even more comfortable sitting with these folks. The play went well and I had to take a pic with some of the characters before I left...

I would later make a comment on the event wall of "The Addams Family Musical" and a friend replied if I can tape the show. I thought to myself, I knew this was going to happen! ;)...I thought it was a "sign" after another "hint" from a friend on FB giving me a hint about it. I decided to do it by going to the matinee performance (2pm), which I had to get all my gear ready. Unfortunately, right before intermission, I ran out of space in my camcorder. I was like sweating, but not too much as a couple of people were videotaping the event. Plus, I had the evening performance to tape as a back-up. However, I wasn't feeling as "energized" as my eyes were bothering me. I would later find out it was "pink eye", so I was praying I didn't affect anybody. After coming back for the evening performance to video tape, I would rush out of that place right away as I didn't want to affect anybody. I thought it was a "God divine" thing that I had technical difficulties as I had some great conversations with a couple of community residents in the evening show too. Isn't that cool? May this be a lesson to all of us that things don't workout the way we plan as there is sometimes another door of opportunity for God wants to use us-just gotta be open and willing!

I started the 4th week with my once a month worship team service, which I look forward to worshiping God by singing-along with learning new songs and practicing singing too. I then went to the Chinese restaurant with a friend from Jane Addams to talk about my presentation on the Philippines next month. It was my first time eating there too after it has opened for over most of the year. I then had to miss work on Monday (23rd) due to my "pink eye", which I got diagnosed after seeing a doctor later in the afternoon. I got the "ok" to work the next day after getting my anti-biotic eye drops. I was kind of hoping I would get the permission by the doctor to rest for several days-have the whole week off, but that didn't happen..he he! :( Ironically, I scheduled my physical exam the same week, which was good news! I found out I had good lab results after a blood test for cholesterol level, sugar level, etc.....praise the Lord! I thank God for good health and getting wisdom on making wise healthier lifestyle choices!

We had great weather prior to thanksgiving day, which I would drive to the cities late Wednesday night to avoid the holiday rush hour going to the Twin Cities along I-94. I ended up leaving around 6ish from Morris and didn't have to deal with any traffic compared to last year. I ended up stopping at Albertiville Outlet Mall to get a pair of shoes. I went to one of the stores and they told me they have their "Black Friday Sale" already after I asked if their were any sales going on. I got $10 of a pair (final cost of $45 only, cool huh?) of cool looking Nike shoes. It was my first Nike pair of shoes since my extravagant high school days. Another blessing, I'm thankful for, which I try to be grateful all season long.

It was a great visit visiting family for the Thanksgiving weekend. I was able to hangout with all of my family members. I didn't do too much big. I just wanted to spend quality time with family (e.g. sharing pics of last month's trip to Hawaii and learning more about my dad's past). I was also able to get my battery holder fixed after a long time dealing with my loose battery cables. Also, I spent most of the weekend preparing my Philippine presentation, which I would chat with my dad of what I found out. I felt like a college student again!

Friday, December 11, 2015

October 2015

It was the annual UMM Homecoming the first weekend of October. It was another year that a couple of friends came up to visit, which one of them didn't make it for the first time last year. It was good to see both of them again as we caught up on how each of us have been doing. I would "try" to meet all of them at the Tailgate Party by Big Cat Stadium, but they ended up coming late as I left. However, I would try to keep occupied and do some wall climbing...

..before I left. This year, my friend Shannon brought up his girlfriend, which was the first time for her to visit. We would take her to one of the newest restaurants in town-Mi Mexico...

..., which we decided "last minute" as we walked by the popular crowded "Don's Cafe". Unfortunately, they had to leave early Sunday morning, so they weren't able to attend some other events going on around town on Sunday (4th): I had my monthly worship team service and then I attended the annual "Options for Women" Banquet at the Morris Evangelical Free Church. There was a guest speaker that encouraged us supporters to not just wait for this annual banquet to support this organization, but we should try to support them all year round.

The following day (5th), I would get a chance to catch up with a married couple that I haven't seen for a long time (since their wedding earlier this year). We would meet at Common Cup, which I ended up doing a fundraiser video to encourage friends to come to their "spaghetti feed" (help cover medical expenses for his scoliosis) later this month while I'm at Hawaii. I then went to meet with my pastor to catch-up for a dinner at Old #1 before our weekly "Focus Prayer" (church prayer group).

I would take the day off on Friday (9th) from my ft-job, so I can get on the road to visit family in St. Paul before heading to Waseca for a friend's (former housemate/renter) wedding. Yuu just got back with his wife (coming to America for an American wedding after being married in Japan last year) from Japan a week or so ago. It was nice to explore some new towns I went through along the way as I was thankful to God for a beautiful drive.

I arrived around 1ish in time for the wedding rehearsals, which I would meet friend of both the groom and bride. It was such a great bonding time and I had the most fun with the wedding reception (karaoke party)!...

I ended up leaving right after the reception and would get home a little past midnight.

I woke up early Sunday (11th) morning in St. Paul to ride my bike along the newest open bridge trail (Warner to Shepherd road)...

Biking along the "newest" Warner-Shepherd Road Trail Bridge (Oct. 11th 2015)

...I've been waiting all summer long for this to open. I had a tight schedule, so I wasn't able to ride all the way to downtown like I wanted to. However, I got pretty far, which it was an hour round trip. I ended up meeting this "stranger" who would share about some interesting "sights" (e.g. deer carcass eating up to the bones-possible creature???) and stories of the caves nearby (Mounds Park).

I had about 5 days in Morris before heading back to the Twin Cities in preparation of my trip to Hawaii with family. I was able to visit a friend (Steve) who was somewhat going downhill health wise. I'm glad I took the time to see him as he would pass away 5 days or so later. I've learned to really take advantage of the time you have with family, friends, etc..-love ones period.

I got to St. Paul on the 17th (Saturday), so I can have some day of preparation before heading out of the state early next (Sunday 18th) morning (around 6ish). I was looking forward to a week-plus spending time with family and just enjoying this much to say vacation island destination. When I got to St. Paul, I went to visit my uncle at a senior living center. It seems like my work follows me. While visiting my uncle, I can hear one of his neighbors screaming. My uncle told me to not worry as she does this at times. I would find out later that she was screaming because she fell from her wheel chair. I felt bad as I could've helped her get back on. I could hear the commotion of some staff helping her up on her wheelchair. When I arrived home, I checked my luggage for additional items to pack. I went online to look-up surf videos as I wanted to find the cheapest way possible to learn before paying the expensive rates. The next morning, we got up early and were thankful to Khua's side of the family for taking us to the airport. Yes, my work continued to follow me as I went on the plane. I would meet this interesting lady that would share some of her interesting life story-> Flight Passenger Travel Stories: Round Trip Minneapolis-St. Paul to Seattle-Tacoma to Honolulu (my first blog on my travel adventures!). We had a 12 hour delay in Seattle along our flight to Hawaii from Minnesota. My brother and his wife already scheduled a rental car to drive around Seattle, which was a very beautiful city despite the rainy cloudy afternoon.

“Sleepless in Seattle” Downtown Visit 2015

We still had several hours to "kill", so we drove out of Seattle and looked for a popular attraction. Seattle is surrounded by many high mountain ranges and one of the closest popular one was Mount Rainier. Unfortunately, the cloudy weather prevented us seeing the mountain, but we did see the base.

It was getting close to departure, so we went back to the Seattle-Tacoma Int'l Airport and were anticipating for our 5-hour flight to Hawaii. We arrived in Honululu Int'l Airport around 11ish at night and had to drive an additional hour to our hotel in Laie (North Shore). We were all tired and I remember asking the lady in the front desk about the nearest place to surf. I would sleep pretty good in the room I shared with my parents. I would get up early and was excited to walk the town to see what we couldn't see in the dark last night. I walked to the nearest grocery store in Laie after googling. It was a humid-muggy morning already, which was nice! When I got back to the hotel with some grocery items (e.g. gallon of water since the hotel charged a-lot!), my brother shared about our road trip along the North Shore. It was a beautiful day for a scenic drive along the shore! We stopped by one of the beaches and I would just marvel the scenery..

Hawaii Visit: Oahu’s North Shore Drive Tour

Saturday, December 5, 2015

September 2015

Fall season of ESL classes started with a new student from China at the Morris Literacy Project on Wednesday (2nd). It was a good way to start the new season after a slow summer. However, I had to leave early since I had rehearsals still for the Aladdin musical. We had a day off from rehearsals on the 4th (Friday) and it was the "last" Friday of no work for the summer season. I took advantage of the "last Friday off" by visiting a friend in Lino Lakes Prison with a friend, which it was a "life lesson" (map reading) adventure.

The next day (Saturday 5th), I attended the once a month community worship called Real Ministries. One of the guest speakers (Jenny) shared about J.O.Y, which I tied to my character (Jafar) in the musical play I was in and wrote this blog-> Disney Character: Jafar-"Why M-E?". I used this Labor Day weekend to not only write this blog, but to do other fun activities (e.g. biked to Pomme De Terre Park).

We had our last week of rehearsals before our two performances at the end of the week on the 4th (Friday) & 5th (Saturday). I did a lot of mental, physical, and spiritual preparations (see Music: Tips for singers with “dry” throats?). It turned out to be a great personal experience for me and a self-confidence booster.

I would continue my bike contest (e.g. going to Pomme De Terre Park) throughout the rest of the month as it was the last month of this competition.

I attended the 2nd annual "Storm the Planet Conference" at my local church. I would later share the importance of taking "notes" and now applying it in our daily lives the following Sunday during shares. During the conference, I was thrown a "curve ball" (unexpected life circumstance), which was just another faith builder challenge. I would later share this at church too -> Visiting those “sick” in the hospital .

On Thursday (24th), I attended my once a month worship practice for my local church in preparation for Sunday's worship team service. I was inspired to write this parody after practice..

I would try to ride my bike as much as I can towards the last days of the month and here were the results of this summer long competition..