Monthly Archives: June 2010

I Got Married! Well, Sorta.

When I was little, I always dreamed of getting married to the perfect person, on the perfect day, in a perfect place, surrounded by the perfect crowd. I always somehow knew that such day would come eventually, but not seeing a guy next to me in the altar scared me. It did because wanting a woman there instead of a man was (and maybe it still isn’t) the rule.

In a midst of love and excitement, my girlfriend and I filled out the form NP/SF DP-1. This form is a one-page piece of paper where we both declare that we “are two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring” (CA Family Code 297), simply put- this is the form you need to fill out to get a domestic partnership in the state of California.

After getting the form ready, we drove up to a small private mailing place where I knew we could get the document notarized. When we got there, a small line of people were waiting in front of us. I glanced at my soon to be wife- I mean, partner, and she gave me a comforting smile which was her quiet way of saying “it’s okay, we can wait.”

The hold was two people who had come to get something notarized and only one person on the clock. The guy behind them was holding a pair of jeans under his arm, and it made me wonder if there was such a thing as a “Brotherhood of Traveling Pants.” Then there was a lady behind him who didn’t seem to speak much English. And after her, us; holding a form, IDs and hope in our hands.

By the time it was our turn (and be the ones to hold the line), we handed our form and IDs to the notary and stood there awkwardly. More people had come in and they were probably annoyed by the wait… not knowing that right then and there, my girlfriend and I were about to sign a paper saying that we wanted to love each other, build a home and grow old together. I realized then that this wasn’t the perfect crowd, certainly not the perfect place, but she was the perfect person- and still is. We got out of there a few minutes after and put our little form (and filing fee check) in the mail. We kissed to seal the deal and drove to meet our friend who had baked us a cake to celebrate.

Maybe I don’t know today what it’s like to say “I do,” or have the perfect ceremony to commit to loving my girl for the rest of my life, or do that while surrounded by our families. But when we turned in our form and IDs to the notary, I kept the hope; the hope that one day I will know those things. But for now, as we wait to get our little certificate in the mail, I celebrate because I got married. Even if in reality, we’re technically not married at all.

Why is 2 better than 1?

Who would have thought that something as innocent as soccer could make an out-of-shape individual feel like they just have gotten hit by car. Whether it is because of my long-term relationship with soccer (I’ve been kicking the ball since I was 5), the fact that I need to get back in shape, or that the World Cup is on right now, I’ve decided to take a soccer class for the summer. The first session happened last night.

The class started with some stretching, then some drills and finally a scrimmage. The drills were a little intense but nothing I’ve never done before- only that it’s been a year since the last time that happened. The scrimmage was alright; I was able to score four times (my team won 7-1) but I also hurt my right ankle and was out of breath for most of the second half of the game. Once the game was over I felt satisfied with myself for pulling through and content that the nightmare of physical endurance was over. Until I woke up this morning.

I wasn’t as aware of my muscles as I am right now because I can now feel all of them with every movement. It’s ridiculous- I didn’t know one could feel this much pain without having a real reason to feel pain (like actually getting hit by a car). I guess this is what they mean when they say “no pain, no gain.”

Last year when I was playing soccer in a league, I’d get home really sore and tired after every game (not as much as now, of course); and it was sometimes a problem for me, because I’d be really hungry but in most occasions I couldn’t stand to be on my feet long enough to cook. So instead I had to wait the tiredness out. Today as I come home from work lamenting the soreness that has conquered my muscles, I rejoice in seeing how my girlfriend cooks for me and tends to all the chores without asking for my help.

It means the world to me that I’m being tend to when I find myself in this poor physical state. It’s so comforting to know that I can lean on her when I can no longer do that on myself. The same way that she could lean on me if she were in the position I am now. And this is why I think that two is always better than one.

Long Term Relationships = Weight Gain

This is a hard fact: After putting months into your relationship, eventually you will notice that you’re also putting in some extra pounds too. The road to gain weight can be easier than you think and sometimes, it has little or nothing to do with over eating- We just simply get comfortable and the gym is no longer a priority.

Out of the people who work out on a daily basis, very few do it for a reason other than to “look better” to appeal a prospect date. So once you’re all set in a relationship (specially a healthy one) where your partner constantly reminds you how much they love you and how beautiful or handsome they think you are, it is easy to miss it when the pounds start piling up.

I’m blessed with the fact that I’m in love with an amazing cook- but eating meal after meal without properly burning the necessary calories can really get in the way of your ideal weight. Because this past year I was a full-time student, part-time worker, devoted club officer, and a part-time volunteer, I had little time to spare every day to burn those calories. I was always tired, eating at weird times and skipping meals; using every little minute I had left to spend it with my girl or catching up on some sleep. That is after all the life of a self-supporting student. A student that figured that getting an A in that Chemistry class was more important than lifting weights or running for 20 minutes every morning. After a year break from soccer and working out, I found myself weighting more than I did before.

Now that I have finally grown unhappy with the image staring back at me every time I look at the mirror, I feel it’s time to hit the gym and get back to where I was a year ago. It also helps that I no longer have to worry about all-nighters to write papers about Politics, which usually started with the Pizza Hut guy knocking at my door. This morning I ran, sprinted and walked for 20 minutes. Then I did some crunches and weight lifting. It was an hour workout total- one that I hope to repeat everyday from now on. At least until the Fall quarter starts.

I know it’s easy to ditch the gym when curling up in bed with your honey sounds a lot more attractive, but remember that going to the gym isn’t just about looks- exercise and staying in shape leads to a healthier lifestyle, and that feeling of greatness you get afterwards is an amazing plus. Now if leaving your honey in bed is the problem, drag them along with you and encourage each other to work out. We should never let go of a healthy lifestyle just because our darlings love us with or without the extra weight.

Apartment Hunting: Day 1

I had been looking forward to checking out some places near campus since we made the appointments last week. I’m not a big fan of apartment hunting (and never will be), but the idea of moving in with my girlfriend, living closer to campus and finally having a place where there’s no need to worry about crazy roommates, it’s definitely something to be excited about. We had looked online at the pictures of a loft we really liked and that would be our first appointment. We were mainly attracted to that place because it was the only dog-friendly place we would see that day.

When we got there- we met with the landlord, who was probably one of the nicest strangers I’ve ever met. She had a dog of her own- a little black and white ball of hair. It was adorable. This place was coming closer to be the home we were looking for.

The place itself however, was a different unit that we had seen online. The guy that had lived in there had just moved out and the place wasn’t clean yet; so needless to say, the place was a mess. It made me wonder if that’s what men call a “man cave,” because it certainly looked like one. Our little loft dream was leaving us with every look we took at the place. “We’ll see it again next week once it’s clean- if you don’t mind.” We were finished there. This whole search was gonna be more difficult than we thought.

Since we had some time until our second appointment, we decided to walk around in case there were other apartments available around the area that we could see that day. After four calls or so, they were either closed or not willing to show. Thirst began to hit along with the warming sun, and my feet were reminding me that I’m not a walker anymore.

After a few more blocks, we finally found a place with an open house. It was actually a big company so their leasing office was open and willing to show (of course, they gotta sell). We found a studio within our price range that we felt we needed to leave a holding deposit for. It looked a lot like the apartment my girlfriend lives in right now: new building, new appliances, carpet, lots of space, and a balcony. The building also had a fitness room and a pool. We couldn’t get any luckier than this. This was our apartment. We went ahead and canceled our second appointment. “Let’s have lunch and celebrate!”

We had Mongolian BBQ and discussed the apartment thing all over again. “Can you see us living there for a year?” Questions here and there with every bite of mildly spiced noodles were convincing me more and more that we had found our place. She even called my sister-in-law to give her the news. I texted my best friend too. We were set. We were giving up the idea of ever getting a dog since this place wasn’t dog  friendly. Since it was a studio, we also wouldn’t have enough space for a desk I’ve been dying to buy. We were giving up on little things… but this was the perfect place.

Even though my feet were begging to go home and take a nap, we decided to go to our third appointment. We had to wait a bit for the guy but that gave us time to look around a bit. The place didn’t seem that attractive from the outside, but those are usually the ones that have really nice apartments in the inside. I kept asking my girlfriend if we were set on the other place and between nods and smiles, we agreed that seeing this third place was just a formality.

When the guy finally arrived, he opened the door to a 1-bedroom apartment with hardwood floors. The place was clean, spacious, bright… my stomach flipped a little. Maybe we rushed a bit with the other place. The same guy also showed us a “super studio” which means it’s as a big as a 1-bedroom apartment, but it simply doesn’t have a wall to divide the bedroom from the living area. This place had the biggest kitchen we had seen so far. The space was perfect for us and all of our stuff. I was puzzled with the decision we had to make- but as we left the place, my girlfriend simply said “let’s go get our holding deposit back from that other place.”

I’m not sure if we would have find something better if we had kept looking, but I knew (and still do) that we were making the right decision. We settled for the first place because we knew it was a good deal for the price they were asking for, but we finally took that “super studio” because it had been what we were looking for. It was gonna end up being the same price as the first studio we set the deposit for, but this one was more spacious and it had that feeling of a home that we were looking for. It didn’t have a fitness room or a pool, but we agreed that we could work out at school and we never do use the pool at her current apartment.

We gave in our deposit and application that same day, and will hear back from the guy this coming week. I’m hoping we get a green light. I need him to give us a green light.

Aimee and Jaguar

I’ve always known that gays were prosecuted during World War II but since US History classes bother little to talk about it, then I too make the mistake to forget about it. When I read the synopsis in Netflix of “Aimee and Jaguar”(1999), a film about two women that fell in love during WWII, I knew I had to watch it. For me, a long time lover of the puzzling mysteries of this war, it would be history from a totally different angle.

*Spoiler Alert*

This film is based on the real life of Lilly Wust, the wife of a Nazi officer and mother of four kids; who goes onto fall in love with a woman who happens to be a Jew, Felice. Lilly is stuck in a loveless marriage and while her husband is away fighting, she feels more and more like her life has no purpose. She also seems to be sleeping around a lot but she does it trying to find that “it” element that she feels has been missing in her life.

Felice is attracted to Lilly from the moment she meets her. Lilly on the other hand, doesn’t give in to Felice’s charm right away- but it doesn’t take her that long either. They let go and find happiness in each other… but more importantly (for them, at the time), safety. However, Felice doesn’t share her secret with Lilly, and this drives them apart. Specially because Felice is planning her way out of the country. When Lilly finally confronts Felice about her absences, and tells her how much she keeps hurting her with them, Felice confesses that she’s a Jew. To my surprise (not sure why I was surprised), Lilly asks her to never leave her.

I left a lot of pieces of this puzzle out in case you end up wanting to watch this movie. And you should. Because just when I thought that dating isn’t easy for a lesbian, imagine dating while knowing that you could be killed the day after (for being a human and a lover). I really admire Wust- for letting love be her guide and answer. She knew that she was getting herself in a very tricky situation, but when you love, you love and that’s the end of it.

Whether they ended up together or not, I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself. And don’t you dare Google it yet- the movie is currently available in Netflix instant watch.

Cheap Date?

With this economy, it would be foolish not to be a cheap date. Or perhaps you’re just another fellow student like me- facing the injustices of the fee increases by the University of California system. Whatever your situation may be, a $4o meal to impress that person you like, may now go a bit over your budget. If that’s the case, be smart about it- there are several things out there that you could do with your date for little or no price at all.

I love the weekends and the freedom they bring to my mind and soul. After a five-day week of work, the moment I clock out on Fridays, it’s becoming a sacred ritual more and more. However, the amount of effort I put into my job doesn’t really translate well into my minimum-wage paycheck that I eagerly get every other week. To be quite honest, that paycheck has probably been spent way before I even get it- and I know I’m not the only one in that situation.

So one of the things I love to do while I’m bored at the office (shhh, don’t tell on me), it’s look for things I can do with my girlfriend over the weekend; and the cheaper, the better.  Last Sunday, I took my girlfriend to an exhibition at the Fowler Museum. I knew little about what they were showing that day, but the fact that admission was free, made my choice for a date destination an easy one.

The place was  a bit empty (gotta thank our culture-lacking society for that one) which made the whole outing even better for us. So it happens that they currently have a very cultural-oriented exhibition that clearly represents everything Los Angeles stands for (although some may argue that). We got to see some videos and paintings from all sorts of places (Cameroon, Peru, Canada, etc.)- and we even got to see bits of a Japanese movie. All in all the Fowler was a delight. Nothing like tasting a bit of culture to feel like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.

Next time that you’re planning to go out, plan well and use this amazing resource called Internet. There are a lot of free stuff out there that you and your honey can take advantage of; or you can at least find a better deal than an overpriced restaurant. Get creative and make it interesting- if a meal is your only choice, then get cooking and have a picnic at a local park. When it comes to spending time with the one you drool for, think outside the box and have some fun!

Looking Ahead: Junior Year

It still blows my mind to think that I’m just a few months from becoming a junior. I am halfway through with my undergrad and I’m beginning to feel like I’m running out of time to do a lot of things I’ve been wanting to do. Of course the only thing in my mind now is moving- but there are also so many things ahead of today that I will like to do also. Among those, write for the Daily Bruin.

I’ve always wanted to write for the school paper- it just hasn’t happened yet. Whether it is because of lack of time or motivation, I’m running out of excuses to give myself for not writing. So I’m guessing it’s now or never.

The Daily Bruin takes applications within the first two weeks of the Fall semester and I’m gonna get ready for that. I want to be an opinion writer (duh!) and I gotta figure out my pitch. I can talk about being a student worker. A sober college student (true story). or I could talk about being gay- but I also don’t want that to be the reason why they don’t pick me… but would it? Fingers crossed that it isn’t.

All I know is that looking ahead, things look pretty good. I’ll be checking out apartments this weekend- my girlfriend and I are moving in together pretty soon. We might be getting that dog also. And I’ll be a junior…

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