Words from the Grateful Ninja

As we enter the holiday season, I reflect 3 things I am grateful for in this wild year of 2023:

1.) Connecting with the Filipino-American Historical Society of Chicago

In my ongoing quest to rediscover my Filipino roots, I have truly found a treasure trove by connecting to this wonderful community.

In October, when my family and I visited the Filipino American Historical Society Exhibit at the @tricksterculturalcenter, I was literally embraced and welcomed by members of the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago (FAHSC) who happened to be celebrating the life of Estrella Alamar, who founded the FAHSC in 1986. Estrella also co-authored the book, ‘Filipinos in Chicago,’ the success of which kicked off a series of similar books that put a spotlight on different cultures longing to share their stories.

Since my font foundry, Font Infusions, percolates expressive fonts to empower socially conscious creators to share their stories, connecting with the FAHSC was pure kismet.

I heard about the exhibit by hearing a segment on @wbezchicago featuring FAHSC board member @ashleydequilla and FAHSC executive director Ruben Salazar. How surreal it was to unexpectedly meet them IRL at the exhibit!

I was also interviewed on camera by @mcatsandoval, who also longs to reconnect and share Fil-Am stories.

It’s deeply important to me that Brim Baby is connected to her Filipino heritage, so it is for her that I my quest for connection continues. Each connection I make serves as a key that unlocks another door to the Filipino diaspora. I am excited to continue deepening my connection to the greater Fil-Am community in 2024 and beyond!

2.) Travel + Milestones = Inspiration

It was just supposed to be Japan in April. That was it! It was already such a huge trip for us in so many ways:

  • My family’s first time back on a plane since Covid
  • My first time back on a plane since becoming a mother
  • Brim Baby’s first international trip

Then, we went with the flow of life, which took us to additional destinations and itineraries:

  • February: Brooklyn, New York, to visit my brother and his boyfriend and as a plane primer for Brim Baby before Japan. (Better to test her temperament on a flight via a 2-hour plane ride vs. a 14-hour one. Also, this was Brim Baby’s first plane ride!)
  • April: Tokyo & Kyoto, Japan, to enjoy a family trip with my cousins and goddaughter.
  • May: SUGA concert at Allstate Arena. (My 1st kpop concert!)
  • June: San Diego, CA, to cheer on Brim Hubby at the San Diego Marathon and visit dear friends. And later that month… milestone birthday!
  • July: Brim Baby’s 1st concert, Filipino pop sensation, SB19.
  • August: Broadway, New York, to redeem Brim Hubby’s birthday gift to me: ‘Back to the Future: The Musical.’ And to visit my brother again. Also, my 1st visit to Napa, California later that month with my Brim Hubby and my cousins.
  • September: Brim Baby’s 1st music festival (Riot Fest).
  • October: Back in San Diego, CA, to accompany Brim Hubby on a work trip. And to visit our dear friends again.

I’m grateful for these opportunities. 2023 jump-started life again for me and my family and gave me a renewed, positive outlook on life. In the worst of the pandemic, I could not see myself traveling again. I felt an overwhelming fear of everyone, everything, and the future.

2023 jump-started life again for me and my family and gave me a renewed, positive outlook on life.

By stepping out into the world again and by experiencing the world through my daughter’s excited and curious eyes, I am reminded of how there is much to discover and explore. And it’s exciting!

The world, as horrible and scary as it can be, is also a beautiful place. And all of this sparks my excitement to create and express this excitement through various mediums, whether it’s sketching and painting, digital doodling, designing fonts, or designing for my clients.

3.) People in My Life (You know who you are!)

Arnold Schwartzeneggar has said, “The self-made man is a myth.”

This resonates with me. America is held up to be the land of opportunity that boasts many a “self-made” entrepreneur. But no one achieves their goals without help from those who make it possible. And I am no exception.

There are special people in my life who have lifted me up personally and professionally. And I am so very grateful to them. I hold them in my heart and send love to each of them as I write this.

I hope you’re able to meditate on your gratitude as well. As much as gratitude applies to external forces, it’s very much an internal exercise as well. To quote one of Brim Baby’s books, The Grateful Ninja, “…happiness comes from the inside when we are grateful for what we have.” And we can all use a bit of extra happiness right now.

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