At Peace

I lost someone today. I lost one of the incredible, strong, beautiful women that raised me. She was more than a maid or a nanny or an employee. She was family. She was an amazing woman who despite having five children of her own, took care of me, helped raise me.  She dropped me off at tutor and helped me with school projects. She brought me lunch and always asked if I had eaten. So many sacrifices she never had to make but chose to. She struggled with her own health issues, the loss of her husband, and raising her young children by herself. Yet she showed up to work bright and early every day with hope, with strength.

Today, my dear Elena is gone. And from across the world, my heart is broken. But I was fortunate enough to have had so much undeserved time with her and I will always be grateful. And I will never forget the last time I saw her. She caught a glimpse of me at my grandmother’s house while I was visiting for the holidays. I will never forget how she looked at me. She was so proud, so happy. She started to cry and all she could say was “you’re so grown up….so beautiful

I love you, Elena.

Rest in peace.


Going Pro

Hey guys!



I finally got my own domain!! I’m ridiculously excited to share my thoughts, experiences, and photos there. No worries, this blog will still be alive and kicking but on a much more personal level. This blog will always be my favorite dumping ground for random writing, poems, rants, and ramblings about my life and the quirky people in it.

If you have some time, I’d love for you to drop by my new site. Since I’m completely new to managing a proper blog, I would appreciate all comments and suggestions for the text, photos, setup, etc. ♥


Ta ta for now!







In 53 days, I’m going to turn 23. There’s something oddly nerve-wracking about that age. I think it’s because that’s the age that being in your “twenties” really starts getting to your head. As Buzzfeed writer Alexis Nedd so perfectly put it, it’s the freshman year of adulthood. You’re really truly painfully in your twenties with more responsibilities and pressure than ever.

At 21 or 22, you seem a bit too young for married but 23 marks the beginning of those “So, when are you going to settle down?” questions. At 23, it suddenly seems like you’re far too old to be staying with your parents or too old relate to teenagers but definitely young enough to be the youngest person at the office.

With 23 right around the corner, I remembered the promises I made to myself when I was a kid. I promised that by 25, I would be something great. I would be financially stable, have my own apartment or house, helping my parents pay for my brother’s tuition, happily married, travelling the world, and loving my dream job. That leaves me two years to get my life together.

These kind of feelings need some kind of outlet so (of course) I ranted to my boyfriend who happens to be 24 and taking his masters. After listening to me whine, he had one question. Why 25? What was so special about 25 that it had to be a marker for all those goals? Why was I pressuring myself to have it all by that age? I didn’t have any good reason.

*inhale, exhale*

“Val, it isn’t a competition”

When he said that, my immediate reaction was the roll my eyes. It is just one of those cliché statements that don’t really do or say much. But he wasn’t wrong at all. It really isn’t a competition. It may feel like one sometimes but at the end of everything the only person I’m really competing with is myself.




To 2016


Grateful.  I think that single word sums up how I feel about 2015.

It was not an easy year. From issues in my long distance relationship and miscommunication to financial troubles and struggles to find motivation at work. 2015 witnessed some of the biggest fights, some of the most painful goodbyes, some of loneliest nights, some of the worst homesickness, and some of the most frustrating Skype calls known to mankind.

But I sure as hell learned and I sure as hell loved.

In between all those fights, goodbyes, and frustrations, there was everything else that makes me believe in even a bit of magic. There was so much love in those 365 days.
For these next 365 days, I wish for more love, more inspiration, and more adventure. I have big plans for this year and I am determined to make them happen.
Here’s to a magical 2016!


I gained weight this year. I’ll come right out and admit it. It’s been a tough year for me and my weight has been fluctuating along with my emotions and stress. I lost a bit, gained a bit.

In a week, I will be flying home after a year away and the one thing I’ve been anxious about are the comments I might get about my weight. I’m definitely no stranger to the painful unsolicited comments dished out nosy aunts, “well-meaning/concerned” family members, and tactless friends. I’ve gotten the tummy pokes and the chin swipes. I’ve been told by a friend that I might find a boyfriend if I lost some weight.

Sticks and stone, right? Words can’t hurt me, right? Oh yes the effing can. Words cut, slice, hack and bruise. Words linger and haunt.


Last night, I cried myself to sleep. I sat on my bed, angrily grabbing at my tummy and wondering how in the world I would get rid of my flab in a week. I wrote to my mom, explaining that I had gained weight and I was nervous about being called out for it. She replied:

“Do you believe you are a gorgeous child? Do you believe you will be valued and loved more if you weighed a little less? We love every single ounce of you.

Do you love me less because I weigh more than your dad? I’m sure the answer will be no. Be kind to yourself, honey. Your true worth is not in your looks or weight but on the goodness of your heart.”



“Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough…”

There are not enough words to describe how perfect my Thanksgiving holiday was. Spending it with him, our little family, was everything.

We didn’t hit tourist spots or go out dancing as planned. We were forced to walk at snail speed because of my knee injury and were not able to get a table at the restaurant we wanted. I fell asleep while watching the movie I suggested and he couldn’t get my laptop to work.

But I did wake up to his light snoring and rough morning voice. I cooked breakfast and he insisted on doing the dishes. He never missed a chance to kiss my cheek while we were out. At night, he massaged my feet and I rubbed his shoulders. We played our music as we got dressed and he would take my hands and slow dance with my hair still in a towel.


And when it was time to leave, when I was lined up with my backpack and a few tears and you were walking away, you looked back and me and I at you. And we smiled.

See you soon, love.