Pregnancy announcement and miscarriage

Whenever our friends and family find out they get pregnant, we get pictures of the pregnancy test.

Every time I see one of those, I can’t help but think to myself, “Wow, how can you be so cavalier? Don’t you know what can happen?”

It’s a really hurtful and sad thing to think, but as someone who has been through a miscarriage, you can’t escape those negative thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against people sharing the good news, and I am nothing but completely happy for them.

It’s just that personally for me, the pregnancy test is no longer a symbol of joy. It has turned into a warning a signal: Caution ahead, be prepared for the pain.

I remember the first time we had positive pregnancy test. After two years of trying, we were so happy. I even filmed us smiling and laughing, leaving a message for our baby, the baby that we so desperately wanted for so long.

When we had our miscarriage a few weeks later, that video became like a landmine that I could accidentally step on.

I am not a real man

He’s not a real man.

His boys can’t swim.

That’s nature way of telling them they shouldn’t reproduce.

Those are some of the exact words that I said when I heard about friends who have a hard time getting pregnant.

Right now, sitting here in my throne of humbleness and experience, those words feel like a sledge hammer to the chest, taking all the air out of my lungs.

I am writing about this because I noticed that in a lot of support forums for people dealing with infertility, there are always recurring threads from people who are sad and upset at the hurtful and insensitive things friends and family say to them.

While I empathize with the sorrow, I think that we have to forgive them. Because like me, before you have to go through with infertility yourself, it’s hard to imagine or understand how painful it is.

I guess there are good people out there who can sympathize with that pain without going through it themselves, but I bet there are more people like me who will never know what it feels like until they experience it.

I can not watch a bad movie

I was watching Olympus Fallen and I just could not bring myself to finish it. The plot was so stupid and illogical I couldn’t continue.

I have a problem.

I don’t think it’s normal to get so involved and worked up by imaginary things.

I lack the ability to let things go and just go with the flow. It’s like a mental disability.

My brain can not detach my emotions from the story.

Relationship Math

As I’ve grown older and witness more people start new romantic relationships, I’ve come notice that there are two different types of romantic relationships: Addition and Subtraction.

In an Addition Relationship, the new romantic interest becomes a new member of the family or group of friends. They regularly show up at family gatherings, they make time to hang out with their new friends, and your email mailing list gains one more address.

In a Subtraction Relationship, the new person is rarely seen. Not because they are not invited or because they live far away, but because for whatever reason, they do not make the effort to engage with their new friends or family. Sooner or later, you actually don’t even want to see them, because if you see them, it means something terribly bad has happened. A death, or tragic accident perhaps. But what’s worse is that, because this new person never comes around, it means that the friend or family member who is with this person, will also disappear with them. Hence the subtraction.

Experience has taught me that for friends and family, Subtraction Relationships are a very unhappy and bitter arrangements. It’s a double whammy really. First you lose a friend, and second, you feel that the person you love is now stuck with someone who is not right for them — because if they were the right person, why would they rip them from their friends and family?

The only thing you can really do is hope that they are happy where they are. Maybe they found better friends or family elsewhere. The alternative is that they are isolated from the outside because of their new partner — which is not a happy thought.

But all in all, I do not have enough evidence to conclude which type of romantic relationship is better for the people actually involved in the relationship — Maybe in a couple of years, tracking divorce rates, I can answer this question.

Starbucks: the good life

Every time go to Starbucks, I get this uncomfortable feeling that these are the best days of my life.

It’s not because I have some unhealthy love for Starbucks, but because in the back of my mind I feel like the fact that I can go to Starbucks and order over-priced coffee and treats any time I want, life must be pretty good.

I know this because I grew up poor. In my childhood, I couldn’t afford a 39 cents hamburger from McDonalds, let alone $1.50 coffee.

And of course, compared to 99% of humanity who struggle every day to make ends meet, battling health issues, or stuck in other bad situations, my life is REALLY good.

I feel uncomfortable about it because it seems like everything good in life must come to an end. Things will change, and life CAN always get tougher. I am not saying it will, but I some times I feel like I am at the pinnacle of human life right now, and when you are at the top, it is easiest to go down.

I would love to end this post by saying that I am making the most of my situation and doing everything I can to help my fellow human beings, but the truth is, I am not. It’s something that I struggle with daily, and I only hope that — maybe — I could.

Chard is awesome

I was told that my blog has been too “liberal” lately. And I was also told it’s too negative.

So here is something awesome.

Chard is awesome because we planted early in the summer, and it continues to grow and provide for us through out the summer. We also grew it in an area that gets very little sun, yet this sucker grows strong and green.

It’s awesome to have Chard around for an impromptu ramen dinner. No need to run to the store for bok choy.

Paris taxi scam at Gare du Nord

While I have enthusiastically claimed that “Paris is amazing city” because of all the public space they dedicate to architecture and art, my first impression of Paris was a dismal one. When we arrived at Gare du Nord via Eurostar, our first two interactions was rather shady. I guess it had something to do with us arriving in Paris rather late. I think it was 11pm by the time we got here.

1) When we walked out to get a cab, a man, standing next to a bunch of taxis, loudly asked us if we needed a cab and told us to come with him. Being a careful traveller, I did not take the bait. I felt something was off. Then I noticed a long line of people waiting for taxis right next to where this man was standing. Confused, we walked back into the station to look for directions. When we couldn’t find any directions so we went out to look for a cab again. Again the same man offered to get us a taxi. At this point my wife asked him how much it would be, to which he replied “maybe 10 euros”. This was alarm #2 for me. I had called the hotel earlier, and they told me a ride to their location would cost 40 euros. How is this man offering us a ride for 10 euros? And what’s with the long line of people he’s not helping?

Confused, we asked him another question, I can’t remember what we asked him, but it was something stupid like “is this where you wait for the cab?”, at which point he shushed us. WTF. If this guy was some sort of legit cab director, like the ones you find in front of SFO, why is he shushing us for asking him a question? Is he afraid of getting caught for doing something illegal here?

And again, what’s with the long ass line of people waiting for cabs right next to him?

Needless to say, I did not feel comfortable dealing with this shady character, and he seems to be getting very agitated that we were not responding to his pitch. We went back inside the station.

2) Inside the station, we were just walking along when a random lady came up to us and asked us if we needed help. She said we looked lost, so she wanted to help us. After the incident with the taxi driver outside, my “Vietnam” travel instinct immediately kicked in. I didn’t not even stop to acknowledge her, although my buddy did. To which we had to pull him away from talking to her. Later I went online to read that several people have been scammed “helpful” strangers at Gare du Nord. Apparently the scam is to help them buy train tickets, and have them pay for it in cash. The scammer would give you fake tickets, and pocket the cash.

After these two experience I was very disappointed at the lack of security at the Paris train. There were plenty of police officers and gate attendent around, but they all seemed to ignore the chaotic scene going on around them. I wished the Paris police would be more proactive in chasing away these scammers so tourists like my self do not get taken for a ride as soon as we step off the train.

But not all is lost. The metro ride from the train station to our hotel was surprisingly uneventful, and busy, considering the late hour. It’s funny to think that riding the metro at midnight is safer than hailing a taxi…

Amalfi Coast Bus Ride

When I was in Vietnam, I thought I had the scariest ride of my life. Our, some what blind and deaf , driver drove at speeds of 60 miles per hour down a pothole ridden highway. Because he was deaf, whenever anyone asked him a question or told him to slow down, he would turn around and stare at us for what seemed like minutes at a time, taking his eyes completely off the road.

I was wrong. The scariest bus ride of my life is taking the SITA bus from Sorrento to Positano along the Amalfi coast. It was like driving in Vietnam, but there is a cliff on one side.

First off — our bus driver was a bit off. He kept walking up and down the bus aisle asking “are you the bus driver?”. I guess he thought it was funny.

When he was driving, and saw an old lady walking her dog across the road, he sped up. He thought it was funny to scare them off the road. When he came close to them, he veered off to one side to dodge them. He laughed about it.

At a small road with on coming traffic, our bus and another bus barely fit through. He opened the windows and yelled at the other bus driver in Italian. The Italians on the bus were laughing, so I assumed he was making a joke or something. He then proceeded to drive through the road, only slowing down to fold in his driver side mirror because it hit the other bus.

I was scared shitless when I realized this driver will be the one driving us down the Amalfi Coast. The best way I can describe the Amalfi highway is — it’s like a one lane highway 1, that serves two lanes of traffic. To signal that you are coming around a blind corner, you honk your horn — Slowing down around a blind corner is optional.

If you ever wondered by Italians are known for cars, I bet it has something to do with the amazing brakes they have on their suicidal buses.

I can not find any accident statistics or reports on Amalfi Coast buses, so I will refrain from making any judgement. But I will admit, I am chicken shit, I was scared as hell.

How long does it take the IRS to cash my check?

If you ever wondered this. The answer is ONE day.

Thursday – sent check at noon
Friday – check arrived and cashed
Saturday – check clears bank

I am amazed at the speediness of this operation.

This is one area of government that is functioning like a well oiled machined. The USPS for delivering the mail in a speedy manner, and the IRS for processing the mail.

I am glad my tax payments cleared so quickly. It calms my nerves a bit knowing my obligations are taken cared of.