I have always been a competitive person. I think every fiber in my being is built to fulfill the need to win. I think the mentality that I've developed since my school-age years, was a "sink or swim" one. Where if I didn't learn how to pull my own weight, then I'd get left behind, and I'd get left behind quickly. That's why when it came down to it, I always felt like I had something to prove. I never have been the one to back down from a challenge, and I've never been the one to turn in half ass work. I've always believed that if you're going to do something, then do it to the best of your abilities. Hence the emphasis on the 'your abilities' part.
It wasn't until I reached my senior year in high school where I stopped trying to compete with everyone. Everyone was out getting scholarships and getting college acceptance letters - and there I was, still lost and confused on what to do with my life. Just to catch everyone up - I took a six month break after high school trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I was accepted to colleges of course, but I was still very unsure whether I wanted to go to them or not. There was something about living in Michigan that scared me because I didn't think Asians existed in Michigan, because what kind of Filipino would I be if I wanted to live knee deep in snow all of the time? Of course there was San Diego and Hawai'i, but would I really focus on school if I decided to go there? What about cost of living? How would that have been? I was afraid to leave my safety net, but I was still yearning to spread my wings.
So month after month as I watched my newly graduated high school classmates start their first day of college and the photos of them settling into their dorms, I was at home, still figuring my life out. That's when I decided that I wanted to try and take up what career my brother had set down - so I attended culinary arts school at the Art Institute of Seattle. Obviously I could go on with the details of how I went from learning how to properly tourne a potato to have seven sides to injecting high risk drugs into people, but that's an entirely different story from where I was wanting to go.
So back tracking to where I first started on the "your abilities" part and doing things at your pace. I meet a lot of people, especially in my career field, who are very competitive with each other with work and school, and even in their personal lives. When I scroll through Facebook, I always have to chuckle at the memes that say, "all my friends getting married, having babies, or buying house... and I'm over here like." (Enjoy the few I've selected below, heh). But anyways - who cares about what all of your friends are doing?! Life isn't a competition, and I've never understood the whole, "I'm going to get a car better than them all" or "my house is going to be bigger than everyone else's house - even though I only have four people in my family - I need the 7 rooms for activities!" You guys laugh, but it's true. People really do go out and try to one up each other in life.
So you're out here competing with everyone else even though life isn't a competition, and you end up losing focus on yourself. You can't see that your progression is actually hindered by the fact that you've become obsessed with everyone else's progression. How much more do you think you could progress if you just put on temporary blinders to focus on yourself? JUST yourself. I'm not saying to be the shark that everyone is afraid of where you don't help others out or don't reach out for help yourself. But life is better if you make it a team effort. Don't make it where you focus on your progression and throw people under the bus to get to the top. I'm not saying to do that! (LOL no one like that person btw). Focus on your progression - while helping others grow to, and in return, they'll help you grow.
And don't compete with them. You don't have to get married because all of your friends are married. Maybe you have another goal (like extra schooling to further your career). Maybe your goal is to travel the world, and that's difficult if you start a family. And I'm not saying that you can't do all of these things at once. Of course in my case, I want to be the best nurse I can be along with being the best wife I can be, and in the future, be the best mom I can be. But I don't want to rush myself because all of my other friends are having their first or second kid. Because I know I'm most likely not ready for that. Your priorities don't have to be the same as everyone else's. Life gets hard when you start trying to do too much at once. Take on what you can handle, gradually build yourself up.
P.S. I still have to remind myself about this every day - I'm definitely not perfect at this. I have days where I feel like I'm so far behind a lot of my friends because I switched colleges and whatnot... But when I look at my life, I'm doing really well. I have a great military career, and I have the most wonderful husband a woman could ask for. Next stop for me? BABIES. hehehe.
When I was younger, I always thought that my proposal would be some grand gesture, and my wedding would be a big family event. I always imagined lots of flowers, a big wedding dress, and family flying in from all over the world to crowd my home. I can say now, that what I had envisioned before was completely different from what actually happened.
Michael and I had talked about marriage before. There was always a plan that we were making, but nothing came of it because of our careers. We were never home at the same time, and the time was drawing short on his second deployment, and he wasn’t there when it was time for me to PCS to my first station. Distance always made things difficult for us, but somehow, even though we were separated, he’s always been the closest person I’ve been to.
He came to visit in December, and it wasn’t until the last day where I asked him, “so what are we going to do?” There wasn’t any time left to get married then, and we hadn’t had the chance to tell anyone in our family, so we didn’t want to overstep ourselves. We looked at our calendars, and were lucky enough to find a week that both of us could take off to go get hitched. You can call it #SJElopeInCopenhagen. Make sure you say it in a Danish accent, well, more like a Viking accent. It’s much funnier that way.
We decided together that we were ready to marry. I like to believe that Michael and I respect each other enough to make these big decisions together. Maybe some people think that it takes the “magic” out of the proposal, but I really liked how I could talk to Michael about how “ready” I was. After we got married, he told me that he was planning on proposing to me back in December, but before that, I told him that I didn’t know if I was ready. At that time, there was a lot of movement due to my big move from the states and getting settled into my career. When I told him that I was ready, he just laughed it off and kept telling me that we could’ve been hitched a long time ago. I really appreciate him for always taking into consideration how I feel about things.
We didn’t have a long “engagement”. Actually, we were technically engaged for about 12 hours. We had decided that we were going to get married, but since there was no “real” proposal, we weren’t technically engaged. It all happened right before midnight on March 22. I was already sleeping, and he said he was going to stay up to build Legos. We were lucky enough to find a wedding set of Legos that we ended up using as our mini centerpiece. I had been sleeping for maybe half an hour, when he started bothering me about a piece that he couldn’t find and kept asking me to help him look for it. I was so tired. I was talking to him like he was my child, and that he had to try harder to find it by himself. It wasn’t until he started shaking my leg and whining (yes, whining!) about the “missing piece”. I sat up and took the instructions and the piece he was holding, and was annoyed because I didn't know what he wanted me to do. He then pulled out a ring and said, “I found the piece!” Okay, so maybe it’s the nerdiest proposal that I could have imagined, but I can’t say that I was surprised. I was honestly waiting for him to pull out a box made of Legos with the ring inside, but what he did was just as cute. 12 hours, that was our engagement.
The morning of our wedding day, we got up early and went to breakfast. There will be more details on our trip in Copenhagen in another blog. We got ready in separate rooms like you normally would. I got ready in my mom’s room, and he got ready in his parents room. The entire time I was getting ready, my heart was racing thinking about how it was actually going to happen. His sister was running around all over the place trying to get as much photo coverage of our event, and I commend her for her all of the photos she took. I'm so happy she was able to surprise us and make it to our wedding.
At 10:50 AM, me and my entourage of ladies walked to the Copenhagen City Hall. There, I met with my photographer Carolina, and she made me feel so welcomed, and something about her put me at ease. It was like someone was there for me who knew what to expect out of the day. It wasn’t until about 15 minutes later when I heard Michael’s voice from the floor lower than mine. I was starting to shake and hyperventilate because I was so nervous, but in a good way. As I made my way down the marble staircase, looking at him silhouetted by the bright window, I couldn’t help but start crying. I stopped on the third stair and called out his name. We both started crying, and we were both so awkward because we couldn’t kiss, and it was everything I expected it to be.
Carolina gave us a few minutes to have a special moment with our families and then to ourselves. At 11:30 PM, Michael and I had made our promise to each other to remain the great team we are, and vowed our love to each other.
My wedding wasn’t as smooth as I’d liked it to be because there were so many things that I had to keep track of from so far away. I felt like I was missing a lot of things, and it was hard to keep people on the same timeline, especially when we were all scattered throughout the city. But my wedding day was beyond amazing, because I got to marry my best friend. Now I can’t wait to see what opportunities and surprises my marriage is going to bring me.
The finer details.
Where I got my flowers: Cool & Cozy Florist in Copenhagen, recommended to me by Carolina. They were very kind to my husband and I. They were such delightful people who were very understanding, because we were about half an hour late picking up flowers, and they were ready to close shop. So we appreciate you very much!
Who our photographer was: Carolina. A photographer born & raised in Copenhagen, and says that she has a love for elopements. She was very easy to talk to and helped us feel very at ease during our photoshoot. She was well prepared for any attire mishaps that happened. She helped guide our families in what to do. And she's just such a sweet person who understood mine and Michael's odd, quirky humor.
Where we ate: My husband was able to book one of the top recommended restaurants in Copenhagen, called "Cofoco". We were served a four course meal with wine pairings, and even though the portions were small, we couldn't help but feel full at the end of the meal.
Where we got our cake: My husband was also able to get a cake from Copenhagen's oldest bakery, La Glace. It is very well known for it's tea time, cakes, and pastries. We ordered a raspberry and chocolate mouse, with a macaron bottom layer. I'm so happy that we were able to share some with our waiter, and still bring home half of the cake to freeze for our one year anniversary.
Our gallery is still being sorted, and will be posted soon! We're excited to show our photos!