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I’m so excited to learn that Japan has opened up its borders & eased its COVID-19 guidelines (for those who have been completely vaccinated AND boosted). I haven’t properly been back to Japan in over 6 years, & even during my last trip, I didn’t get a chance to spend time with my relatives. A lot has changed since the last time we all got together, especially since a lot of our next generation have gotten married & are having children (myself included). I would love for my cousins (& all) to meet my little bean & get to know her.

One of my biggest fears is that the connection/communication between my immediate family & my extended family based in Japan will end after my generation. My mother has made it crystal clear that she has absolutely no desire whatsoever to stay connected to her in-laws after my father’s passing. It’s been something she has been asserting even before my father had passed, that she has no interest in maintaining any sort of relationship with that side of the family. It’s so sad because everybody on that side of the family genuinely loves my mom, but she claims the language barrier is something she cannot get past. So, it’s now up to my eldest brother & me to keep the family together, language barrier be damned.

Of course the pandemic has given me severe cabin fever, & seeing the accounts I follow on social media freely traveling with their little ones in tow has given me a major case of FOMO. I have also been thinking long & hard about traveling ever since I got pregnant. I have been dreaming about jet setting (economy class, of course) with Jian & our little bean, & showing her the world…or at least what’s outside of our hometown bubble. Also having traveled multiple times already with my little bean on road trips has shown me that it is possible to go on more elaborate vacations with her. I know she would absolutely enjoy traveling with her parents. I mean, she already loves staying in hotels.

Speaking of hotels, we are leaving tomorrow & heading on another road trip to Los Angeles (*YAWN*). We will be staying at the same Culver City hotel that we previously booked on our last trip down south, The Shay. Oh man, considering we are collectively going through major economic downturns & a recession, the inflation spike has really punched hotel prices smack dab in the gut. Even with our super special friends-&-family-of-employees discounted rate, staying at our favorite hotel chain this time around won’t provide any cost-saving benefits for us, so we’re opting to stay at the hotel close to Jian’s office to use his corporate discount. We are trying to save money wherever we can, so we can save up for our big trip to Japan next year (& possibly splurge a little more while we’re there).

As you can probably tell, the three of us are going to Los Angeles to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family who all live down south. Every year we do the same thing, go to the same relative’s house, cook/eat the same food; the older generation play mahjong until all hours of the night, the younger generation get together to play trivia games & get shit-faced drunk.You know, I’m tired of doing the same shite every Thanksgiving holiday. My little 3-person tribe pack up & make the tedious trek down to Los Angeles to spend a few short, whirlwind days eating & watching TV. For my over 75-year old mother, as tiring as it is for her to travel to & from Los Angeles, she actually enjoys it. She loves spending quality time with her younger siblings & being spoiled by them.

If we’re being completely honest, I would rather be spending my Thanksgiving holiday somewhere else; it’s not just me, but Jian feels the same way as well. We really want to do some serious traveling, but Jian hasn’t accumulated much vacation days at the moment, so it’s not really feasible for us to go anywhere more than just a weekend jaunt somewhere close by. We are already feeling the burnout of traveling to & from Los Angeles, & we haven’t even left our house yet. It would be great if we had others driving up to see us every once in a while, but that’s a whole other subject that I will not get into.

Suffice it to say, the three of us (Jian & myself especially) are extremely ready to go on a proper vacation, perhaps somewhere overseas like Japan. We are also aiming to travel to New York City sometime in the near future, but for now, we are projecting our first big travel plans will be to Japan. We are already planning & mapping out all of the details with our best friends (who have an infant baby of their own), with spreadsheets, group chats, & all. I am more excited than you could ever know to be planning such a big trip. I was sort of hoping that Jian & I could take our little bean to London, but logistically, it would be more advantageous if we took our bean to Japan first…you know, because of family & all that jazz. Either way, I am beyond grateful & thankful to be able to travel at all, especially during these harsh economic times. I will forever be grateful for all of the privileges & blessings in my life, no matter what. No matter what or how I feel about Los Angeles & spending yet another Thanksgiving holiday there…

I. AM. THANKFUL.

So on that note, I am going back to ticking off the last little details on my To-Do list, finishing up the last bits of suitcase packing, & making sure all the windows, doors & gates are properly closed & locked. Jian is calling me to dinner for the 10th time, & I’m ready to go to bed. Until the next one, cheers & HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who celebrate.

Today’s song of the day:

I have a love-hate relationship with bubble baths, with taking baths in general. Yes, I love to take long, hot baths; watching an entire movie while sous vide-ing myself in the murky bathwater. However, every time I draw a bath, I feel a sense of guilt for using so much precious water, especially since I live in a state that year-after-year continues to exacerbate our already extreme water shortage. That’s one of the reasons why I stopped taking baths…to conserve water, but also because once I became pregnant, my fertility doctor advised me not to soak in the bath tub as it could potentially cause issues during my pregnancy.

Nowadays, I no longer take baths not only to conserve water, but to also conserve time. I used to love taking long leisurely soaking baths, but now I don’t have the time (or the energy) to take baths. I have also lost any motivation for my once favorite self-care pastime. On top of all that, do you really think my ‘nearly a toddler’ child would even let me have five minutes to myself, let alone take a private bath? The only time I’d ever get any alone time to take a bath would be in the dead of night while everyone else in the house is sleeping, but by then, I’m also passed out asleep myself.

Okay, so I did mention bubble baths at the very start of this post. I have always envied people who were able to take bubble baths. I cannot bear to take them myself, but to those who do, I applaud you & moderately envy you. Bubble baths are good, in theory, but I myself cannot find any reason to partake & indulge in them whatsoever. It’s just not for me & I’ll explain why.

First of all, I can never seem to get it right. I follow the instructions on the bottle exactly how it says. However, I always end up with a lackluster smattering of flat bubbles floating aimlessly around my tub. I would pour nearly the entire bottle of bubble solution into the bath, & the bubbles just fizzle & foam away.

As the photo above accurately depicts my poor attempts to create a bubbly bath; this is the end result every time I try to make up a bubble bath. I follow the instructions on the bottle down to the last letter, but it never quite comes out right. Sure, I get a big mound of bubbles at the start, right as the drawing of the bath begins, but towards the finish of drawing said bath…the bubbles flatten, & all I get is a murky frothy tub of water that smells mildly soapy.

Why can’t I get thick foamy bubbles like this? What am I doing wrong? Am I destined to live out my bathing career with unfulfilled dreams of thick foamy whipped bubbles? Probably, but it’s not a big deal.

For a long time I have had this romanticized fantastical image in my head that bubble baths were sexy, or more importantly, for sexy times. I’ve built up this idea in my mind that I’d draw a hot bath filled with the most foamy frothy bubbles. Then I’d dim the lights (I have dimmable lights in my bathroom), adjust my iPad just so, & put on one of my favorite movies with my favorite steamy scenes in it. Well, then you know what happens next, right? Yep, I wake from my rosy-colored stupor only to find myself sitting in a tepid bath with filmy flat suds floating all around me, the movie only halfway through it’s main plot. My sexy bath time fantasy will never be fulfilled.

Here comes my compulsive anxiety, rearing its ugly head yet again. While I do think bubble baths are fun, if you’re anyone under the age of 10, or a magical wizard able to get the bubbles to stay afloat, I also think that bubble baths are just a whole mess of trouble…& just a plain old mess by itself. I have tried many different brands of bubble bath solution, & they always end up leaving a ring of film around my bath tub basin at the end of my bathing session. Also, the bath tub feels simultaneously sticky & slippery if you can believe it.

On top of all that, I myself, feel like my skin has a layer of film from the bubble solution. So I end up having to rinse myself off with a simple shower afterwards, which I feel is totally redundant. I mean wasn’t the whole point of the bubble bath being to bathe myself & then luxuriate in a basin full of thick rich bubbles? No! I’m all sticky & filmy from the bubble solution, & then having to think about rinsing my bath tub basin afterward… Ugh! Why am I putting more stress on myself? I thought bubble baths were supposed to be relaxing, but just thinking about cleaning up afterwards tires me out, & discourages me from wanting to take these types of baths. I’ll just stick to my regular hot baths & be happy with that.

Well, Halloween is almost upon us. I would love for my little bean to dress up in a costume, preferably a cute, non-baby-ish looking one, but I know my little bean & she will hate anything I put her in. She hates wearing hats, or headbands, or anything covering her head &/or face (i.e. sunglasses, masks). I will have to get creative & choose something relatively simple. I know Jia would much rather prefer that I not spend any money at all, but I feel like now would be a good stage in our little bean’s childhood to start making these special memories. She’s already starting to remember things & making lasting memories. This Halloween season would be a good start to having her dress up in costumes. For now, I’m going to continue prepping the final details to my little bean’s 2nd birthday party. Cheers everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

Ummm… I forgot to take photos of our campsite when we got to the Autocamp grounds. Well, I will repost the photos from my last blog post to give you an idea of what our Airstream camper looked like. The layout from the photos were exactly the same as our accommodations.

Let me first get this topic out of the way, regarding my compulsive behavior. I wouldn’t say that I am a total germaphobe, but I am mostly there. I get 75 percent uncomfortable when I have to share a public bathroom with others, even if it has a locker room style. If I absolutely have to share a public bathroom, I will, but I will take every measure imaginable to touch as few shared surfaces as possible. Even afterward, I will still feel uneasy & not 100 percent clean. So, you can imagine how elated (& relieved) I felt, knowing that I would be “camping” but with a private bathroom all to myself (plus Jian & the bean as well). Knowing that I’d have a private bathroom truly calmed my compulsive anxiety.

When we first decided as a family to go on a glamping trip, I was kind of hesitant. For as long as I could remember, I’ve always gone camping the old fashioned way with a tent & sleeping bags, etc. I have even gotten a lot of flack from some of my other friends that my version of camping still isn’t even considered ‘real’ camping because we are renting a private lot in a national park reserve with running water & access to public bathrooms. (Their idea of camping is parking your vehicle at the ranger station, & hiking into the woods to find a clearing for your tent. Then digging a hole in the ground for peeing, & jumping into the lake to wash yourself.) So, I was hesitant to try glamping. All of my friends who frequently go camping laughed at the idea. They said we might as well rent a luxury hotel room instead. Jian was determined to try it at least once, & with our little bean getting old enough to explore the outdoors more, it made sense for us to try glamping before thrusting the actual rugged camping experience on her.

The closer we got to our travel date, the more excited I got. I was doing a lot of research about the Autocamp experience, & I was so amazed by how they were able to seamlessly incorporate all the fun parts of rugged camping, but with the comforts of a modern AirBnB cabin. It truly felt like we were staying at an outdoor hotel, but with all of the basic elements of camping that made the whole experience both one-of-a-kind & fun as hell. We were excited to see so many other young families staying at the Autocamp site as well.

Our little bean had no problems adapting to the camping life. We were super excited to see her have fun & explore the great outdoors, but without all of the mosquito bites. Staying in an Airstream was really quite luxurious & an absolute treat. It has been a dream of mine to one day try out tiny house living, & staying in the Airstream camper was really a great way to experience that. The Airstream camper we stayed it really had all of the creature comforts of a hotel room but with all of the fun parts of camping sprinkled in.

Like I had previously mentioned above, having a private shower was an absolute luxury bonus. The shower was spacious & could easily fit 2 adults. The shower head was placed high enough so that tall folks wouldn’t have to crouch to wash, at least in my opinion. Having a traditional flushing toilet at our campsite was also an added bonus. There wasn’t a ton of counter/shelving/storage space in the bathroom to store your toiletries, but the bathroom still felt highly adequate. Other added bonus features in our Airstream camper are as follows:

  • Plenty of outlets & USB ports to charge-up & plug-in all of your electronic devices.
  • Plenty of overhead can lighting & Edison bulb pendant lighting throughout the camper. The Edison bulb lighting definitely gave the camper a rustic hipster vibe, but also gave the camper a warm glow & soft lighting.
  • All of the windows in the camper had full open-close capabilities.
  • TWO Dometic air vents (one in the bathroom, one in common area) for comfortable airflow.
  • Small yet powerful wall-mounted heater fan in bedroom to keep warm at night or in the mornings.
  • Powerful (& loud) air conditioner in common area.
  • Small wall-mounted TV with full network cable service.
  • The queen size bed was quite comfortable, with adequate bedding & decently firm pillows. It wasn’t the most luxurious, plush hotel-esque bed (it was a basic bed frame with a pillow-top mattress, no box spring), but it sure as hell didn’t feel like a fold-out sofa-bed or air mattress either.
  • Built-in bluetooth speakers inside camper (but we never used it ’cause we brought our own portable speaker).
  • The large 3-4 svelte person sofa was very comfortably cushioned. While in its upright position, it didn’t feel like a fold-out sofa bed at all. In its sleeping position, it turned into a full size bed that did’t seem too small for even the tall folks.
  • Our specific booking came with a private outdoor hot tub built for two. We opted not to use it because our little bean wouldn’t be able to use it with us, & I don’t like bathing outside where everyone walking by could leer at us.
  • I don’t know if the people who designed Autocamp purposely planted insect-repellant plants throughout the campgrounds, but we almost never encountered any mosquitoes, flies, or other creepy crawly bugs. We did, however, see more than a couple of bees living their best lives.

Although this trip was very short, just barely a three-day/two-night stay, it was still very memorable. We got to stay in a private Airstream camper for the first time & experience a small slice of tiny house living. Our little bean got to dip her toe in the camping pond a little bit before we thrust her in to the real camping pool full of pop-up tents, bugs & sleeping bags.

We have been talking about this trip ever since we came back home. We’ve also been talking up this experience with all of our friends. We’d definitely like to go back to an Autocamp campsite again in the future, but next time with all of our friends (& their kids too). Jian would like to try the Yosemite, CA location next. I think it’ll be super fun, especially if we go with other friends.

We don’t really have other big plans lined up for the rest of the year, except for the first public rock concert Jian & I will be going to in just a couple of days. Also, Jian is planning on doing another work-stay trip to Los Angeles again in September. Other than that, we haven’t decided what’s next. I hope I can post a review of my first major concert event since the pandemic here, but if I don’t…you can always follow me on my Instagram page, which is the main source of my up-to-date info & photos. Until the next one, cheers Runaways!

Today’s song of the day:

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