Tag Archives: Flagstaff

Greetings From the US

13 Jun

Finally by noon, we arrived yesterday after that delayed last leg departure and what a long and tiring trip it has been for us. If I counted from the time we left home for KLIA at six in the evening on Tuesday, and arrived at PDX airport by Wednesday noon in the US, meaning it’s 3.00am Thursday back home (not including the journey thereafter), the total travel time would be 33 hours. And during that time, hardly any good sleep, one can only imagine the tiredness.

The A330 aircraft being readied for the journey

Crying toddler who sat in front of me in the plane could be heard in the Immigration Hall when we all got there. And he cried all the way pass the officers. Poor little fella. Passport clearance was slow because there was only one counter opened for International passport holders but customs was a breeze because we declared everything. When we stepped out to greet our firstborn, all that traveling time and tiredness were forgotten. The family unit was complete again and the heart felt whole. What a feeling!

Then when we stepped out of the terminal, a wave of hot air greeted us. Dang it was hot! 37 degrees. Are we in the US? It felt just like arriving at KLIA only that it’s not but it’s PDX.

Our first stop was Woodburn premium outlet to keep us awake, to walk and adjust to the local time. But it was too hot to walk around outdoors so the outing was shortened. We decided we needed to eat and opted for Jack in the Box. And the premise was equally hot because there was no air-conditioning. Only the bathrooms were air-conditioned but can’t stay in there! Haha…

The food portions were huge especially the chicken fingers! Can’t be fingers when they are so huge as I don’t remember them being this size before from our last US trip. We couldn’t finish and saved them for later.

Jack in the Box

M2 and I succumbed to our tiredness and had a good power nap in the car on the way to Corvallis. But it was still early, and we had to still stay awake, otherwise it would take longer to adjust. The town is typical of any college town and it reminded me of Flagstaff and my college and those dinosaur years.

We settled down quickly, unpacked and made ourselves comfy in her room, big enough for the four of us. But by nine, after dinner we were ready to crash. Might as well for the exciting days ahead await us and we need to adjust and be ready to enjoy ourselves during this time together.

Spring Break

24 Mar

M1 is having her Spring Break now and has gone off skiing at the mountains with her friends. How fun! During my college days, I had the San Francisco Peaks and Arizona Snowbowl in my backyard but never once had I tried skiing the three years I was in Flagstaff. I did take the ski lifts though but it was during Fall and there wasn’t any snow yet! Does it count?

Then I moved to New York City. Together with hubby (who was boyfriend status then) and a group of friends, we took the opportunity and headed for Upstate New York to go skiing. I must say I did not enjoy it at all even though my experience was not on the slopes.

It was cold, I couldn’t balance and was afraid of the downhill speed if you can even call it speed on the bunny hill. Yes, bunny hill. The point being, I fell quite a bit, got bruised and felt pained all over. Ouch.

Well I hope M1’s experience will be better than mine.

But I like Spring Break. My first break, I flew to sunny California and hung out with a friend in Annaheim. We visited Disneyland and I did Knott’s Berry Farm when she was still having classes. And when we didn’t do the theme parks, we just hung out with her friends and enjoyed the Fullerton area. I think something like this is more fun than falling on my butt half the time and being chilled to the bones.

M1 returns to campus today.


“Mom! Lookie me!”


Beanie for warmth and helmet for safety


Is this how you do it?


And off they went!


I Shouldn’t Worry

19 Mar

There were several occasions M1 tells me she is, at times, worried about the impending journey and new life ahead. I would simply raise my eyebrow at her and share with her, my journey to college to make her feel better, and reiterated that I don’t think history would repeat itself. I mean, what are the chances of what I experienced recurring again, this time with my child? This aside, I am proud that she is following my footsteps in her journey towards higher education in the USA.

I traveled alone halfway across the globe to pursue my degree in Graphic Design. And when I arrived at the little airport in Flagstaff, Arizona, after clocking in more than 24 hours of travel, nobody from the university came to meet and greet me! Can you imagine the horror and fear I went through?

But I guess I was tired and numbed beyond belief from the long journey and did the most unthinkable thing ever, and it is something I tell my child constantly NOT to do.

I hitched a ride with two strangers and their dog in their pickup to town. Hold your wild imaginations, nothing bad happened! They were very nice to drop me off in a motel across campus and went on with their journey.

But do that now in this era, the consequences may turn out differently. Thank goodness, there is someone definitely meeting her. With the internet, repeated correspondence via email, she will be met at the airport, shown the way to board the bus and journey on to campus where someone else will greet her and settle her into life as a freshman at university. So no, I shouldn’t worry.

Bundle Up!

9 Dec

Back in December 2010, we went on a family vacation to Korea and it was right smack during the winter time. And dang, it was cold! Seoul weather was in the low teens and sometimes in single digits even during the day. And when the wind kicked in, goodness gracious! Even the bones were not spared and chilled to no end.

It was the first time for M1 and M2 in such extreme weather conditions and I was worried for them. So I was constantly saying, “Bundle up!” to remind them to do so, every single time before leaving the comforts of the bus or the warmth of a restaurant into the cold blustering winds.

So much so, M2 started counting each time I said that phrase. The cheeky girl.

At the end of the eight day trip, M2 reported that I said that phrase 40 times! My goodness. Did I actually do that? I can be so predictable at times.

Then in November 2012, when we went on another family vacation, this time to the West Coast of the US, that familiar phrase was uttered again. However, as weather was not that extreme the whole time, it was mentioned only in cold places like Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon and San Francisco.

But the girls remembered! They would exchange knowing looks at each other and say out loud, “Yes we know… Bundle up!” Sometimes before I can even open my mouth, M2 especially, would beat me to it, “Mummy? Aren’t you gonna say ‘Bundle up!’?” Hrmph.

I cannot remember at the end of the three-week vacation, what my final tally was…

Now that M1 is in Japan during this cold season sans mummy, I made sure she has enough to bundle up without me having to constantly utter that now infamous phrase.

Carrots are Good, Part 1

13 Aug

I like carrots, not for its vegetable goodness but what it’s suppose to represent: rewards, as in the saying, dangle the carrots in front to get the results you want, you know.

M1 and M2 are both very carrot-, I mean, rewards-oriented. I think this is very good to spur them to dream big, study hard and do well in school. Little exams with good results will yield little rewards and big (main) exams yield a bigger windfall, it’s very clear cut.

Last year was a critical year for M1 to sit for her mid-high school exam, while M2 was to meet the target of staying in her current class. The big fat carrot: a trip to USA to visit the many places that they have only seen in magazines and travel documentaries: Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sedona, Sunset Crater, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, LA and San Francisco, just to name a few.

It was very inspiring to me to see them so motivated in their efforts to achieve what has been set out for them. There was icing on the cake as well! They get to buy whatever they fancy with their pocket money earned. Indeed a good deal for them, that is.

The big plan was set in motion early last year and the trip dubbed, “The Great Adventure Road Trip to USA”. However, in June, there were hiccups, dissatisfaction, anger, threats and tears as setbacks were encountered; targets were way off! Plans had to be restrategized to recuperate from the shock and disappointment. But the two young adventurers persevered again with their efforts and finally, determination and hard work paid off!

M1 did very well and M2 met her targets, in short. And so, in November last year, our big fat carrot was savored and brought many happy moments and memories for all. Looking back at those priceless moments, I would do it again without hesitation, that is, to plan another carrot-incentive trip to spur the girls on.

Well done!


The four adventurers!


Is English a Funny Language?

13 Jun

I’ve always loved telling my kids that prior to attending college, their grandma (my mother) had advised me to study English to become an English teacher (don’t laugh!), this being a noble profession. But I would scoff at that idea and gently break my mother’s heart and convinced her that I would fare better as a graphic designer instead.

While in college, I did enjoy my English classes, having signed up for both English101 & English102 AND scoring ‘A’s in both courses. I am most proud of the ‘A’ in English102 because firstly, it is not a typical class taken by Asian students and secondly, the lecturer was a mean looking, typical American lady and I was the only Asian student daring enough to be in her class full of American students. Until today, I still remember her name, Carol Ewing (and thoughts of Dallas and its theme song would break out in my mind!) Thankfully, the class was more of creative writing and I guess I stood above the rest.

Despite this, I feel my knowledge of the language is inadequate as I still cannot tell the difference between a verb, a noun and a pronoun, you know, all those linguistic jargon which are very important, along with correct punctuations and pronunciations. But having said that, it irks me to no end to see spelling mistakes and grammar error.

Last night M1 was sharing stories about her teacher and the way she pronounces her signature phrase: “Thats mean…” instead of “That means…” It has becoming so glaringly wrong and disturbing that her friends decided to pick on it. They purposely created a scenario to question the teacher to prompt her reply. And the whole time using the erred sentence repeatedly to the teacher, unaware of the situation! Naughty kids!

I think “That’s mean!” in this proper context of use.

And not to be outdone, M2 also shared about her teacher, who made a comment “I knows” in class. Immediately, her good friend made eye contact with her and pointed to her eyes and nose! These 12 year olds are so cheeky but then again, are they at fault?