Faith – An Opportunity to Grow


As a child and as a classically trained violinist, I learned early on that the best way to be successful is to rely on myself and only myself. If I put in dedication, with my smarts, I always succeeded. As I became an adult, I learned that the population norm has lower expectations than I do. Fiercely independent, I have faith in myself that I will always be “all right” under any circumstances. I don’t easily buckle; I am antifragile and can appear to be amorphous from a traditional perspective.

Yet, I did not know the opportunity cost of being fiercely independent is that I don’t faith in others- people, things or religion. I am a pragmatist with a heart that desires to be an idealist. Having faith – or having blind faith is what has eluded me.

As I closed out the year at work last Friday, inevitably I did an internal evaluation. I looked back at my professional life in 2016 and saw how much I did this year… CMS implementation, site redesign, media spend attribution model, team reorganization, big data migration, and setting up infrastructure for the digital emerging technology. I realized that I must have had some faith. I pushed hard on my team and my colleagues and raised the bar on everyone. I must have believed and they delivered. Isn’t that faith?

I also looked back at my personal life and realized that it is fuller than it had been in the past ten years. I now have a bigger circle of friends who care and love me. Through hardship in the past two years, I saw who were there for me when things were in the dumps and said goodbye to those who weren’t. Years of relationships with people often means nothing in the time of war. This journey to trusting people other than myself is buried in landmines. My glass was half empty.

As I depart tonight flying to my mecca to begin some soul searching and reconnecting to Taiwan, my heart is full, filling with emotions that I cannot describe. I toggle between two worlds; one with faith and one without. I recently remarked that my glass is now sometimes half full and got yelled back, “THE GLASS IS FULL!” Lovingly, I want to remember the lesson in 2016 and teach myself that I, too, can have faith.

Cheers to a new year and to having blind faith in life. LOVE To ALL.

Equus in the Castle Hotel & Spa, Tarrytown, NY- Outstanding Food and Service

Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown, NY is such a beautiful place. It is a picture perfect fairy tale hotel – a corner room at top of the castle with windows on two sides overlooking the Hudson River at sunset. I felt like Rapunzel letting down my hair and letting my prince up. The Equus restaurant is really something – deserves a top rating and review. It was perfect… even the French fries.

Unfortunately, this meal was eaten so long ago that these items have rotated off their current Summer menu. I had to reconstruct the meal from pictures and memory.imageFrench Fries, like the authentic fries from the good French bistros.imageSome sort of squash soup. This was delicious. I remember the taste and smoothness but not the ingredients.imageLobster Salad with foam. Also excellent. The lobster was tender. image Lamb… I really regret not writing the ingredients down. This was the best dish of the night and possibly the best lamb that I have had this year. I remember being surprised at how good it is and how impressed I was. The dish itself when described to me sounded heavy but it turned out to be just right. The grain that accompanied the lamb balanced out the red meat well. It was so good that I thought of thanking the chef!imageCobb Salad: Avocado, Bacon, Cucumber, Onion, Blue Cheese, Shrimp. Good and fresh.

Well worth the money. Outstanding food and service. Outstanding hotel and staff. Highly recommend both.

This experience took place at

Equus
Castle Hotel & Spa
400 Benedict Avenue
Tarrytown, NY 10591
914-631-3646

A Love Story: Madrid and New York

20160721_125926Claudia is 40. She came to New York when she was 20 years old, without speaking a word of English. Her Nana pushed her to explore the world. Eagerly, she packed her bags and left Madrid by herself to come visit a friend. She quickly fell in love, the kind that she would die for. She said that her whole body yearned for him- head over heels, completely and utterly lost. She surrendered. Had her first son soon after and kept on going. She ended up with four children by this tall and handsome man. She had this look in her eyes when she talked about him, about his physique, about how he made her feel. And about how much she was willing to give up everything for him.

Getting married in early 20s is like swallowing a chocolatey sweet cyanide pill each time you have sex with the person. It is a chronic low dose poison that you may not be aware of until a decade later. Until you realize that you’ve grown apart, everything died, and all you shared are the chores surrounding the children and the financial obligations.

The smart girl she is, Claudia got a divorce in her 30s. She then met her current husband, a third generation Italian American, whom she says she loves. She said to me that her Nana told her to only marry someone who loves her more than she loves him. This is the guy.  Why does she love him?

Claudia loves him because when she is done working and goes home, dinner is ready on the table for her and her six children. Now she has six… ages 19, 17, 14, 10, and 7. I am missing one but I lost track. She loves him because he was so desperate for her love. She loves him because he wanted to marry her. She loves him because he lets her be who she is and have all the freedom she desires. Luckily the sex is good. Good sex is a must have and great sex seals the deal. Yet Claudia tells me that he is not her type – he is short and nerdy. She even showed me how short he is – my height. She tells me that when he breathes on her neck, she brushes him off and pushes him away. She can’t stand his breath.

The alarm bell went off in my head… Can you love someone and have children with them because he makes dinner but you can’t stand him when he comes close? When she allows him to come close, the sex is good so he is a keeper?  I asked, “But that’s not the kind of love you would surrender to. Right?” Claudia answered, ” I did. I made myself surrender. I worked on it. It took me two years.”

It was a mic drop moment for me.

How does one will herself to fall in love deeply? Are we full of contradictions? Is love mostly about our ability to compromise?

Claudia will be going back to Madrid to visit her Nana soon, whom she loves dearly. Her Nana is 90 years+ and often feels death coming. Nana summons Claudia frequently. On Nana, Claudia’s love is unwavering and filled with light.

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Inspired by a real person but fictional in nature. Claudia and I met for the first time, while she was cutting my hair yesterday.

 

Wanderlust Grand Cayman- Rum Point Wreck Bar & Grill in Rum Point Beach

Having had multiple mediocre meals in Grand Cayman, I finally landed on something very delicious, at Rum Point Wreck Bar & Grill. Rum Point beach is a local favorite; it is serene, clear blue water and sky with bewitching sun and music. It took me out of NY; took me out of being me; took me to a point in time where everything was perfect. This was serenity.

SPICY RED CONCH CHOWDER, garnished with chives. Hot, hot, hot but simply just right. Yum. BLACKENED FISH SANDWICH: lettuce, tomato, onion & mango mayo. Delicious. Fresh. So much better than the blackened fish at the Lobster Pot at less than half the price.EL CUBANO: roasted pork, smoked ham, swiss cheese, dill pickle & mustard. Best Cubano sandwich I have ever had. The mustard and the pork made it perfect.

Loved Rum Point in Grand Cayman. Loved my Cubano!

Rum Point Wreck Bar & Grill
Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Phone:+1 345-947-9412

Wanderlust Grand Cayman – Rum Point Beach and the Stunning Visuals

Rum Point beach where sea creatures crawled up my arms and played with meCan you feel the sun and the breeze?  Let’s hold hands and walk down to the end of the world
Can you see the coral beneath the aqua green water?  Dead coral on land My first pina colada  Water sportsBananas!  This is a fruit, shelled and used for cooking.

Rum Point is one of the main reasons to come to Grand Cayman.

Wanderlust Grand Cayman – Lobster Pot Restaurant and Wine Bar in Georgetown

Do you know that cabs in Grand Cayman are often old beat-up minivans that are driven by an elderly couple who will talk your ears off? I think their names are Leslie and Neil. Not only are they cab drivers, they double as sightseeing guides and food critics. Because of Leslie and Neil’s welcoming and embracing attitudes toward the tourists, we jumped off at the closest restaurant, Lobster Pot in downtown Georgetown. In fact, I escaped the cab and left my friend in the cab to pay. I waited at the curb for at least three minutes before Leslie and Neil let my friend out.Marinated Queen Conch: Lobster Pot’s traditional Cayman style recipe. Kind of not a fan of the traditional recipe. Too sweet and the conch too chewy.Daily Fresh Ceviche: Finely diced fresh catch of the day tossed in limes and spices with crisp bell peppers, cilantro and red onion. Acceptable.Captain’s Catch of the Day: Grouper(?) served blackened Cayman style with chef’s vegetables and golden fried plantains. The blackened fish was acceptable but too black peppery spicy. The plantains were soft and ripe.    I was stupid. I asked for the daily catch to be grilled. It was tasteless even after I salted. I don’t understand how freshly grilled fish can fail but they did. Poor fish – they sacrificed for no reason.

Leslie and Neil, originally from the UK, are long time residents of Grand Cayman. They drove us around downtown Georgetown which was a disappointment – it looked desolate and gaudy, reminded me of Virginia Beach. They also highly recommended the Lobster Pot which was another disappointment. Lobster Pot was set up right by the water. We sat on the deck overlooking the deep water in the dark with a huge yacht in the distance. There were musicians playing guitars and singing for the guests. The air was warm. The breeze caressed my face.

The Caribbean does not agree with me- Leslie and Neil were blasting heat in the 78 degree weather.

Lobster Pot Restaurant and Wine Bar
245 N Church St,
George Town KY1-1107
Cayman Islands
Phone:+1 345-949-2736

Wanderlust Grand Cayman: Anchor & Den of The Marriott Beach Resort on the Seven Mile Beach

I really should be more grateful.

Earlier this year, I was at the Grand Cayman enjoying the radiant sun, wearing sandals when New York was freezing and gray. I ended up at the Anchor & Den  having a late afternoon snack. The wait staff composed of people from around the world: Germany, The Philippines, Scotland, Mexico, and the other Caribbean Islands. It was a beautiful resort: open, airy, sunlight filling all the windows, white sand beach, gourmet chocolate bar, artisan cocktails, impressive artwork on the wall, and many many well-dressed and smiling tourists.Jamon Iberico on garlic bread. Delicious Jamon. The garlic bread was too garlicky – not suitable after the first piece.Tartines: Black mission fig and bell peppers, nicoise olives, curry herb paste on homemade grilled sourdough. Fantastic. Sweet and soft with a tangy and salty aftertaste.

I really should be more grateful but I was not. Why? Because it felt all too perfect and too made up. I may be naive but I do know the world does not look like this.

Anchor & Den
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
389 West Bay Road Box 30371
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Phone:+1 345-949-0088