I understanding preparing for a baby can be expensive. It is tempting to accept all the free stuff you can take, however, I’ve had a lot of terrible experiences with inheriting second hand stuff. As… More
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
I entered my second trimester of pregnancy a couple of weeks ago. The moment I found out I was pregnant, I downloaded the Ovia app to keep track of my pregnancy health. I’ve been obsessively tracking if I’ve been eating seven servings of fruits and vegetables, taking 1000 mg of calcium, and 70 g of protein every day. To be honest, it is probably the healthiest I’ve been in a while.
I take a daily prenatal supplement, but remember the key word is “supplement” not meal “replacement.” I’ve had people push me some silly supplements — note, they work for MLM organizations. They’re not exactly the people who are watching out for my well being.
Anyways before pregnancy I’ve had for the most part, a healthy diet. I credit having a healthy diet to why I did not get morning sickness. I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but I don’t eat enough protein. During my pregnancy adding more protein has been mindful daily. Thankfully, I found a protein powder I can tolerate and it is OB-GYN approved.
Anyways, here are things I’ve been eating the last few weeks:
- Morning smoothie. It is the easiest way for me to start my day with fruits, veggies, calcium, and protein (thank to protein powder). I don’t have a recipe. It’s usually 1 scoop of protein powder, almond milk, chia seeds, spinach, and whatever fruit I have. The smoothie with the protein powder alone equals gets me to 25% of my daily protein intake, 50% of my calcium intake, and 25% of my fruit and vegetable intake.
- All the fruits. Fresh fruit, dried fruit, and frozen fruit. That really hast not changed.
- Greek Yogurt. To be honest, it is not my favorite yogurt style. I just eat for it because of the protein.
- Dessert. Yes, I still eat sweets but just one thing of sweets per day. I like to wait until I go home to have ice cream because it is the only sweet thing I have all day. I am impressed I have the willpower to wait all day.
- Peanut butter sandwiches. I pack a peanut butter sandwich for my work lunch. My long time favorite things to add are fresh bananas and raisins — if I have them available.
- Hard boiled eggs. There was a time I ate hard boiled eggs all the time at the beginning of my pregnancy. But when people were panic-buying food in the beginning, the eggs section at the grocery store was always empty every time I went. I decided to then ration my eggs. Before quarantine life I use to buy two dozen eggs from a trip, but now my grocery store is asking us to limit us to one carton of eggs.
- Baby carrots, baby bell peppers, and celery. I had to find a new snack to munch on since I could not have hard boiled eggs all the time. No one was fighting over baby carrots, baby bell peppers, and celery. By the way, I long enjoyed eating baby bell peppers with some cream cheese.
- Nuts. Another snack to replace my daily hard boiled eggs. I snack on nuts mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
- Dried beans and lentils. Again, before people were panic buying and took all the canned beans. Thankfully, I’ve always known how to cook them. The bags of dried beans at the grocery store have always been plentiful.
It is May already? I felt April was the longest month of the year. I feel I finished April with my brain feeling fried with back-to-back-to-back community donations at the hospital. At the end of April we went from having one floor taking care of COVID patients to having two floors. Please people, stay the eff home. Don’t go to the beach, don’t go and protest. We do not want to exhaust all our ICU areas.
If you really want to go outside, maybe take a job as an essential worker. At my hospital, we are hiring only custodians and food service workers because a lot of them quit. If neither of those jobs sound glamorous to you, we are also hiring nursing and medical staff for the COVID floors. You’ll have the option to not go home and see your loved ones for a while.
Anyways here are some things that have made my week.
1. Weather. The weather is great and I understand it is tempting to go to the beach. Good weather is SoCal’s real test for the stay at home order. I could see that people were getting antsy on social media. For me, I just enjoyed an iced latte.
2. DIY projects – We are keeping ourselves occupied with small DIY house projects like placing film on the windows and gardening. We are grateful for our handy friend for offering to build our side gate.
3. Supporting small businesses. I’ve been buying more candles and reed diffusers since I am home more.
4. “Asian Enough” podcast. I found this podcast incredibly refreshing and relatable. Growing up, I always felt I was not Asian enough. I fully owned this fact from childhood into adulthood. There were times I joke about it, and there were many times I steered far away from Asian cliques. My immigration story is different from most Asian-Americans; my family did not flee from poverty, war, nor a revolution to come to the U.S. Because of that I know I am incredibly fortunate, however many of my peers have “othered” me or called me “out of touch.”
5. 52 Places, virtually. Armchair travel all day for now. That is how I spend my weekends.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
– Sun Tzu
This week has been the warmest week in a while. It would have been a good time to go to the beach, but I decided to be boring and do my part to quarantine. After all I can only really quarantine two days out of the week due to my work. So here are my ideas to have some sort of beach-like experience without leaving home.
- Read a book. If I was at the beach, I would lounge and read a book anyways.
- Eat ice cream.
- Open the windows and invite the fresh air.
- Since I don’t have central air conditioning, I have fans. So I turn on the fans throughout the house.
- If I had kinetic sand, I would play in a small box of kinetic sand.
- Watch beach scenes
What other things can one do at home to pretend they are at the beach?
On a serious note, the real test for the stay at home orders is this week. During this time in SoCal it is a good time to go to the flower fields or go to the beach. COVID-19 and what came of it have upended a lot of spring traditions. They cancelled graduations — I had to request a refund for my graduation regalia. Admission letters from colleges and other professional schools have been delayed. If we were not under stay at home orders, we’d probably go to the dog beach in Long Beach but now we will just have to wait.
“The sprouting of the seeds of creativity, intuition and wisdom takes place in a relaxed mind. Only anger, greed and ego require a disturbed mind.”
― Shivanshu K. Srivastava
An appropriate quote on how to stay sane during the quarantine.
And now there are protests. I hate to make this about healthcare workers, but the purpose of social distancing is to help lessen the caseloads in the hospital. The other day we thought, “this is it. It is rolling down from here.” It does not mean that we will “go back to normal” the next day. I already anticipated it will take some time to “go back to normal.” Maybe in optimal conditions, “normal” may happen by late June or early July. Why so long? I work in a public hospital where we treat everyone regardless of status and ability to pay. I anticipate we will get our surge later on because many people have lost their jobs, and effectively lost their health insurance.
I am sorry to the people who feel these shelter in place orders have taken away their spring, their businesses, and jobs. I feel with people breaking these shelter in place orders, we will quarantine well into summer and into early fall too. The longer we stay closed, the longer it will take for people to re-open their businesses, to find jobs, and finally get back to normal.
What a week.
If I wasn’t pregnant, a beer would sound good. But instead sparkling water is fine.
We’ve had lots of donations this week at the hospital. I anticipate next week will be the same.
What have I been up to? What have I been enjoying?
- Some Good News – I’ve been following Some Good News with John Krasinski. It’s a good spin. So far my favorite is when they featured the Hamilton cast.
- Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone – Do you spend a lot of time sitting on the couch, sitting in front of a computer, or laying bed? This YouTube channel will re-invigorate you to move more.
- Ordering take out – So a new ritual I’ve been doing on Fridays is ordering takeout at a restaurant in downtown LA. I am taking advantage of no traffic. Also, I don’t have to drive and meet my husband at home and go drive elsewhere for a night out. Instead I pick up takeout and bring it home. I guess I can count it towards my new restaurant count even though we are not dining in.
- Re-reading Ready Player One. I was compelled to re-read it because I wonder if COVID-19 created the setting for Ready Player One. It takes place in the 2040s — not too far from now. The world escapes the real world for the virtual world.
- New FitBit! After having a busted FitBit Charge HR for a year, I finally bought a new FitBit!
Become the sky and the clouds that create the rain, not the gutter that carries it to the drain. — Rumi
Of course it’s easier to be the gutter than the sky, to imitate rather than to create, but imitation builds cults, not communities. It may seem counterintuitive, but true community demands originality, not conformity. I know this firsthand, because every time I write something new it helps me feel less alone, reminding me that we are all inextricably linked to and through a sacred spark within each of us.
It seems so obvious, but it’s also painfully easy to forget how deeply connected we are. More than any other factor, it’s ego that makes us forget, filling us with a sense of superiority. This false feeling of being somehow “better than” our fellow human beings allows us to forget the common source of our humanity and thus to disconnect from the divinity within ourselves and one another.
Melody Moezzi, How a Persian Mystic Poet Changed My Life
Disclaimer: This blog post talks about my experiences of racism as an Asian-American.
I was listening to Friday’s “The Daily” on the rise of racism on Asian-Americans as a result of CoVID-19. In fact, I listened to it twice. After work I went to a Chinese restaurant to pick up takeout to declare my support for Asian-Americans.
I unfortunately know some people who called CoViD-19 as the “Chinese virus” because it came from China. I want to tell these people that YOU think you can get away with it because you are a white Christian person. I don’t know a time when white Christian people experienced racism. I don’t think that white Christian people in America can understand racism beyond what they learned in a textbook. Here is the twist and I am almost embarrassed to say this, but these people are my friends. I have white Christian friends — I grew up in a mostly white Christian area of Los Angeles. Ever since I was of school age, I already knew my white Christian friends will never empathize the ugliness of racism. People always asked me where I am from, but they never asked my white friends where they are from. I found these micro-cuts to be somewhat paralyzing.
The thing I want to tell my white Christian friends that they may think it is cute nicknaming CoViD-19 a “Chinese virus”, but there are major consequences where Asian-Americans are getting slurs on the streets and are unwelcomed everywhere they go. At my work I had two international students from China who volunteered at the hospital who then ultimately decided to go on leave many weeks ago. I supported their decision and let them go on leave with no penalties. I can hear the other side saying to me I am encouraging people to slack off. They’re sheltering in place, they’re not relaxing at the beach.
Anyways, back to the podcast. Jiayang Fan shares her Asian-American story. She was born in China, but spent more of her school years and beyond in the United States. It started her not recognizing these little moments as not racist to then getting older and finally recognizing it for what it is. I listened to it twice in one day because I deeply related to her Asian-American story and “otherness”. So here is mine:
I was born in the United States — Chicago, Illinois to be exact. We moved to San Diego, California when I was one because my dad’s job relocated there. A few years later my dad lost his job. My mom, sister, and I moved to the Philippines for about a year until my dad was able to look for work. When we returned, we moved to Los Angeles. We did not live in downtown LA…we lived in the far reaches of LA County. It was a mostly white suburb where the houses were big, bland, and look all the same. The lots were small. You know, the definition of the American Dream.
When I was in elementary school in America, I had to take ESL (English as a second language) classes. I took ESL from 1st grade to 5th grade. What a way to make me feel like I was an “other” from the rest of my class considering English is my FIRST language. I was born in the United States. Even living in the Philippines, English is predominantly spoken. When I was in 4th grade, I read a lot of English literature for fun — many years later these same books were assigned reading in high school. My parents were really trying to pull me out of ESL classes. It took the school about five years to realize that I spoke English and decided I no longer needed ESL. Later on, I met other people who have shared similar experiences. If you have taken ESL classes in elementary school, you probably recognized your “otherness” early on. Since most of my classmates were white, I already knew I looked different the moment I started school.
That was one of many moments of my Asian-American experience. The older I got, the more I realized that Asian-Americans will be the perpetual foreigner even if they were born here and even if they have never spoken their ancestral language. I’ve observed this with other ethnic groups too. Our presence is probationary; if we excel in everything, if we speak English “correctly”, if we don’t eat “weird” food in public, have “normal” names, if we don’t get upset and offended — then we are welcomed to be here.
I remembered a few years ago, my Asian-American supervisor brought up a complaint about me that a someone on the other end did not understand what I was saying over the telephone. At first I was perplexed, but then it quickly escalated to being annoying. The thing that took me over the edge was that the recipient stated I had some sort of accent. My supervisor reminded me it was not the first time someone brought it up asked me, “what was I going do about that?” What did he mean? Should I get an accent coach? Also, he reassigned this recipient to another coworker. Deep down, I was concerned about my job. It was just one small thing, but I worried how much more until I become obsolete?
As much as I wanted to make speech on racism and unfairness to make my Asian-American supervisor understand what I am thinking about, I instead resorted the shortcut. I called him nit-picky and told him how I am not looking to change. Also, how dare he take their side? He concluded that I was stressed out at work and suggested to take the rest of the day off. Maybe I really needed the day off, but in retrospect, the situation was handled poorly. Nothing meaningful came out of it other than throwing tempers.
I was afraid to cry out the r-word. It was easier to throw everything else instead when I snapped. Since then and until I stopped working there months ago, I was always afraid to make phone calls and give speeches. When I started working at my current job, it was like I regained all my confidence. I credit that the people I work with and the people I serve are far more diverse.
It is hard to call racism for what it is. In the podcast, Jiayang created a scenario if she had a conversation with her mother about what she has gone through. Her mom would ask back, “were you hurt? Did they take anything away from you? Why are you making something out of nothing?!” That last part was incredibly relatable. I remembered when I left work early that day, I went to visit my husband at work to tell him what happened. I cried about it too. My husband is an Asian-American, but he seemed to have a hard time understanding why I was really upset. Then again, I feel my husband has met all the criteria of being welcomed here — I don’t know of anyone who complains about him. I talked about it with my parents, they advised me to speak slower even though that was not the complaint. Sharing my story felt like a losing battle…was I making something out of nothing? I decided to shelve this incident, along with many of my incidents of my Asian-American experiences. That was until “The Daily” episode came along on Friday. It reignited me to share my own.
Yup, I want to write something not related COVID-19 and nothing related to my work since it’s all about mitigating COVID-19 in the community. It’s been a tiring week. My mind has been running on COVID-19 day and night for the last several weeks. There were many days where I felt uninspired to write or try a new recipe. For my pregnancy, my focus is to stay quarantined on my off-hours and my days off, eat a balanced meal, exercise, and get plenty of rest. I decided to stick with these basics for my prenatal care– the fewer things I need to deal with, the better. I haven’t even created a baby registry…it just hasn’t been on my mind. I told my husband we should prepare ourselves to not even have a baby shower. That’s okay if we do not get one.
- Drinking a smoothie daily — that is my hack for being able to meet and most of the time, exceed, my daily fruit and veggie intake during my pregnancy.
2. The Crown – I finally finished “The Crown.” Since I am not a binge-watcher and I don’t watch Netflix during the workweek, finishing all three seasons took me weeks.
3. Free HBO – HBO has made 500 hours worth of their content free without a subscription. Unfortunately, that does not include “Big Little Lies.” But I did see “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.”
4. New work schedule – I now have a new work schedule. This was a result of closing our office on Saturdays due to COVID-19 restrictions. To be honest, I kind of miss having Mondays off. I enjoyed sleeping in on Monday when I knew most of the world was going to work on a Monday. Also, it was easier for me to schedule appointments.
5. “Community.” More TV! “Community” is out on Netflix! I did notice on the “Top Ten” of Netflix there are some older shows that made the list like the first “Hangover” movie. I guess people finished all the new content on Netflix, they are now reminiscing older movies and TV shows.
The world may be mean, but people don’t have to be, not if they refuse.
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad