I grew up with many siblings and among us there is one outspoken sister and a fabulous best friend to both straight and gay people. Guess who? It’s me.
I got it from my mama.
My late mother, Adelina didn’t had a good relationship with her mother in-law because of their culture differences. My grand ma was an old fashion lady, a hardcore roman-Catholic and a conservative introvert. On contrary, my mum was modern, open-minded for new changes, adventurer and outspoken. She isn’t always likeable because of her extrovert personality but she is the most sincere, caring and straightforward person you will ever know.
Both of these ladies have different perspectives about life and marriage. My grand ma once said, “to keep your marriage strong you must be a good cook, keep your house clean, and pray together.” My mother rebutted that no wonder she was unhappy in her marriage.
They always argued and did not had good mother and daughter in-law relationship. The #StruggleWasReal.
According to my mum; a smart woman and a good seductress should not spend all day making muffins, cooking meals and cleaning the house to keep a man. She’ll end up exhausted, smelly, fat and grumpy. To keep a man, you should get out of your kitchen, go out and connect with your girlfriends, manage your time between family and social life and make yourself look fabulous. If you’re in a mood to cook, make a fantastic meal. If you’re lazy, get your man a takeaway. And you can’t always have sex. You’re not an available slut to your man. He has to wait when you’re ready, when you feel and look neat, and when both of you are in the mood for a good sex.
You read it right. I have this kind of conversation with my mother even before I hit puberty because she did not want her children to speak like a baby, to act like an entitled princess, to feel that we should be a slave wife, and to be too dependent to a man when we grow up.
So, when my mother passed away it broke my heart. She was my fairy glam mother realness, my Oprah Winfrey, my fashion stylist, my biggest fan, and was the only human being I can trust all my little secrets.
Thank goodness, I keep all her values in me. When I was single, I had a load of “shopping list” with realistic expectations from a man. I keep my mother’s blueprint for a man in mind of what my future husband should look like and how I will be treated right. However, I didn’t just stick to my list in my head because sticking to it rigidly will be pointless. My mum used to tell me, looks fade, flat tummy with six-packs have an expiry date . Yeah, they all drink a beer or whiskey or both. But brains, a good character and personality last much longer. And don’t dump someone just because they don’t have an impressive job when you first meet him. It takes time for a man to grow up, to evaluate his career options and to be successful.
My sisters and I will connect once in 2-3 years because for two reasons – our love for our mother and we want to keep our family values. It makes perfect sense to have a short trip to L.A. from Minnesota because to meet my sisters are good reminder of where I come from.
Our trip to L.A. is refreshing, different from the lifestyle in Minnesota, and people here are more open for new changes, they accept different cultures, most of them are outspoken but they know when to take turns in the conversation, and they are fashionable and stylist. Los Angeles is like a home where I grew up in Manila.
Dinner at Perch, L.A.
View from Perch, hills in Los Angeles.
Caesar salad with grilled romaine, artichoke, hearts of palm, parmesan.
STEAK FRITES : flat iron, maitre d’ butter, bordelaise, truffle cheese fries.
PAN ROASTED SALMON with smoked eggplant puree, vegetables provencal, artichoke chips.
It was chill to dine on the roof top resto while listening to good music.
I received a lovely 34th belated birthday present from sister achi Jen and kuya Arnold. Gracias po.
I like the style and minimalist design of this watch.
My son joined us in the dinner.
Our dinner sponsor, Aisha. Thank you for the lovely dinner and for the efforts of arrangements.
Almond cake with seasonal fresh fruit, ice cream of the day.
WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING with bourbon caramel glaze.
View from the roof top at night; Venue
PERCH LOS ANGELES is an elevated resting place. A French inspired rooftop bistro that offers unobstructed views of Downtown Los Angeles that makes it feel as though you are floating at the skyline. PERCH offers two outdoor fireplaces, various fire pits, lounge and table seating both indoors and out.
Lovely location where you can host a party with your family and friends.
The big sister in me.
When my mother passed away my youngest sister, Aisha was only 13 years old. She wasn’t ready for the big changes in our family it was hard but it was harder for me to take responsibility for her education and well-being. You have now heard everything and I know you do not believe how can I possibly be a parent at 20 years old to a younger sister and a nephew, but I do. I can understand if you don’t. Fast forward, in 2009 I wasn’t happy in our living situation in Manila. I knew something was not right. I was overseas working while my sis and nephew were studying in a private school and living independently in our apartment. I needed to guide them or else the society will. So, at the beginning of 2011, I planned Aisha’s stay in Singapore to continue her higher education. I took one big bold step at a time despite the fears I will fail financially if things won’t work well as planned. I told her, once you finish your studies and if the Singapore immigration won’t renew your legal pass, I won’t just walk you out the door or drop you at the airport – I’ll help you find a job. But, we need to know where we stand before we plan our options. We need to know your long-term plans in life before I start calling people I know that can help you. We cannot afford to slowly bleed out and get broke in few months. Let me know where you really stand.
In life I learned a valuable lesson as an older sister and a Start-up CEO: you should not play the odds. When you are building a business or family, you must believe there are possible answers and you can’t just pay attention to your guts, other people’s experience or anything odds of finding it. It doesn’t matter if you can only find the right answers online or if finding the right information will take a few months. Your task is to find the answers and solve the problem.
In the end, we both find the answers. Aisha was able to work in Singapore and after her almost two years of experience, she moved to L.A. with my older sister, Jennifer. And I did not go bankrupt with that. I didn’t have to borrow money from anyone. Aisha is smart, determine, independent and unstoppable.
I advised Aisha to start low-key in the States and to make her priorities in order. There are many Filipinos residing in the U.S. and some of them have legal issues and are living in a poor situation only for possible one reason – they believe in statistics and not in calculus.
The difference between statistics (indeterminate) and calculus (determinate). Calculus dominates a situation. When you plan specifically with a target in date and goals you can calculate specific things precisely and deterministically. A good calculus planning is something like this: when you relocate to another country, you have to make sure you have a plan to secure a job, an education or skills to get a job, enough savings to support your stay for the next 6-7 months, perhaps a business with a good planning if you do not desire to work for other people and your exit strategy if things won’t work well as planned. On the contrary, statistics planning you will figure out things as you go. You will ask so many unnecessary favors to people to help you and eventually quit because things didn’t work out. If you will use statistics approach in planning, you may get lost and your problems will drag you to a failure.
Aisha applied calculus planning in her residency in the States and therefore, even before she reached 26, she secured herself both financially and academically. She has a house, cars, career, fantastic friends and yes, pets. It is amazing how things unfolded in her life and I am the proudest older sister ever.
I am writing this article not to ‘humble brag’ about my sister’s current situation. Instead, I am sharing her journey so that you too can learn the importance of good planning. It is only when we share our lessons in life that we can learn from each other. If you would ask me, what is Aisha’s secret? There is no secret. She is very open about her life to our inner-circle and family. But if there are two skills that stand out, it’s her ability to focus and hustle.
Aside from her lovely look and ability to focus and hustle, Aisha is a fantastic friend. She will not hurt people to get things on her way and she will not ‘outsmart’ people during conversation to make her feel better. She is not insecure, bitchy, or feeling entitled person. She doesn’t need your validation. She is just someone who doesn’t care what other people think or say about her. 😉
Thanks, Aisha and to all our family for dinner at Perch.