Traveling

Yosemite Winter 2017

Another trip to Yosemite with my bestie completed. Every year we are surprised by the differences each year. It just does not get old for me. Some years have been dormant and desolate, needing its thirst quenched. A season like this, the thirst is being quenched with purifying waters which should reveal the enrichment of life—whether new or old. It makes me reflect upon the transitions of life. There are moments in life where everything is beautiful, seemingly unflawed until the storm or fire rolls through, pruning the good and the bad. I view Yosemite quite like how I see life each day. There are so many mysteriously beautiful parts yet there are bruises from the battles of the elements much like life itself. It all depends on perspective and attitude on how you view things. I try to strive to find the beauty in everything.

I can’t say enough how incredibly blessed I am to have a friend that has chosen me to travel with her. I am thankful for keeping dear to me selfless close friendships. Those are rare to find. They keep me smiling and laughing—to remember who I am truly am and strive to be.

 Life lately for all of us has been mind numbing, blinding… rough is putting it lightly. I am not going to get too personal publicly, but there have been instances in my life and others I never thought I would witness or experience. As cliché as it sounds, never say never. Any scenario in life is possible, but it is how you respond and learn from such trials and transitions. Grow from it. Don’t let pain or hate callous you. We have plenty of that swarming amongst us. 

The sun shines not on us but in us.

John Muir

 

 

 

 

 

More photos here –>

1800 Miles

Beautiful San FranciscoThank you for loving concern, prayers, thoughts, etc. Today was a long day for everybody. My dilation was delayed due to unexpected surgeries that took priority over my procedure. I was under for 2 hours for a 30-45 minute procedure because my wonderful GIs went very at a slower pace. This was my first official “real” dilation in my entire life with EB. They were terrific. It was also my first time being intubated by an anesthesiologist, too. Everything was done with a wonderful tender hand. I feel like a new person. Back story: I had an attempt for dilation in Utah with the best GI doctor in the state, but he felt was not experienced enough in Epidermolysis Bullosa. Furthermore, he felt he would perforate my esophagus. While feeling hopelessness after his decision, I am very thankful he turned me away for future procedures. I’d rather be miserable awaiting that special person to help me than deal with irreversible consequences. His heart was in the right place.

What I am about to say is not a cry for attention or pity: It has been a challenging 6 years, honestly. I have shed many tears. Had many counseling sessions. There were many scary moments within my own head. I know a multitude of us have gone through numerous events in life. Things we never thought we’d go through or live through. Little by little, my social life has been shorten just trying to survive. Thankfully, I have friends’ that have chosen to stick close even when I just wanted to hermit. I have not been the best daughter, friend, stranger, etc.

I waited 3 years for a proper diagnosis from hospitals back at home to explain why my chest was giving me issues (since I had not experienced a very small stricture–I was stumped.) I was just given pills or diagnosed with anxiety. I had anxiety and some panic attacks, but I wanted to know why. I only received 3 hours of sleep per night. Food pooled in my upper chest. I felt an elephant on my chest constantly. I was “hangry” all the time. All the time. I suffered dehydration. My stomach grumbled every hour around the clock. Yes, it has sucked. On top of that, I have had dealt with personal battles from different directions. I would rather not delve into it publicly online just yet, or at all, but I am letting you know, you will preserver.

Sometimes I only post happy shiny posts. Social media really allows us to filter our lives to “perfection”. People get this idea I have money, that I can travel whenever I want. Again, all blessings of dear people who have been beyond generous. My travels have been pleasure, but mostly medical as of late. As of now, I get $17.15 per month for my personal income. It takes me over a year just to save for small selfish purchase for myself. I am not complaining, just being raw. This is my reality. I sometimes forget, too. There’s no such thing as perfection. I simply wish to show positive more than negative; it’s what I hold dear to most often. We deal with a lot negative in our world today. Without some of those flaws, bumps, and cracks, we would not have a new stepping stone/hurdle to climb to a decent outcome and outlook on our strength. [Un]fortunately, discomfort is a necessity to get ahead and teach us something new–rebuild grow, renew. Without a climb, how do we build muscle? Speaking within self. Through such negative or discomforting moments, I usually refrain from spreading it, or become calloused by the discomforts of life. It causes a cycle of a hardened shell. I am not guiltless of this. It happens. I would much rather smile through it than be unhappy.

Ali had fun on the beach!

Stanford Hospital experiences, for the last 2 weeks, all around have been phenomenal. Every doctor, nurse, coordinator, social worker… truly a godsend. They kept telling me how blessed they felt coming across me as a patient, but I felt they were the angels. I saw their sacrifices, not just for their families but their “hospital family” as well. With with my depression and lack of self worth the last several years, I thanked God wondering how I deserved such personable loving people? The true medicine was the laughter we shared, however, just listening to each person’s story was an eye opener leavinng me inspired.

I am going home with a full heart…

Yosemite Winter 2016

Beautiful, beautiful Yosemite we meet again. I can recall seeing Yosemite semi-snowy back in 2010 and 2012. When the drought started taking a toll on the west, Yosemite just appeared in need of precious moisture. My friend, Saries, has experienced one proper snowfall in Yosemite in the 90s, but I had not experienced it myself. Cold, cold nights, wind, rain, but never a proper snowfall in my home state, California. We both wanted to experience a wonderful proper snowfall, a snowfall that actually stuck. The forecast was not promising a few days before my arrival. We arrived in Bass Lake where Saries’ timeshare is located. There were patches of snow on the ground. Still, we did not get too excited quite yet. The next day, we drove to Yosemite Valley, it was mostly cloudy, cold, and some low clouds. The air was extremely brisk…

The following day, I woke up extremely ill, unfortunately. I was so disappointed as I was looking forward to exploring much more of the park. I could hear the relaxing pitter-patter of continuous rain upon my room’s window. Though I was completely weak and unmotivated to move, hearing the simplicity of rain put a pleased smirk on my face. I exhaled in bliss, “Finally…” Resting in my room the entire day, the rain continued into the depths of the night. The next day, I felt a surge of energy and less fevered. I was not going to allow illness ruin our trip. We left early AM since sundown came early. We gassed up and headed onward from Bass Lake. I vaguely noticed two men dressed in bright yellow, but my mind did not want to comprehend the possibility. I did not say anything to Saries because I didn’t want to cause excitement then it was nothing spectacular. As soon as we hit around 4,000-4,500 feet, “Are these… flurries?” Saries asked. “Yes…” I could feel the tension of childlike excitement between the both of us. As we climb higher in elevation, the road starts to steadily turn white. The flurries were transitioning into snow flakes. Up ahead, there was a highway patrol vehicle and a ranger directing traffic to put on snow chains! Remember those two men dressed in bright yellow attire I mentioned earlier? They were who I thought they were. Chain installers. We headed back down that way so they could install chains upon her car’s tires. After the successful installment, we headed back up. We were super quiet for a few minutes, and if we are both quiet while together, something is brewing. Saries finally let out a high-pitched scream of excitement. I could literally feel it brewing and was not surprised by her exclamation. She screamed enough for both of us, honestly. I laughed so hard. Snow flakes. Large small hand sized snow flakes falling. I pictured us in this snow globe. It was completely dreamy…

Yosemite-January-9-2016-06

Yosemite-January-9-2016-14

 

 

 

Redrock Playground

When I am feeling poorly, I love going on adventurous drives to the unknown. Nature is such a gift to us to enjoy. Earth is one big playground. It is much-like medicine to me. Even if you are not the outdoorsy type, I think it is important to take a moment to quiet the mind, to look around you. There are so many stressful scenarios amongst us, it is often challenging to take a moment to merely look at the moon and breathe. For me, I have always loved the outdoors. Everything about nature appeals to me. I remember when I was a child, I would sit myself near a window and stare at the moon for hours. Just, stare. Absolutely mesmerized in amazement. Trying to memorize each lunar crater placement that my eye could see. It quiets my spirit, giving me that stillness to listen to God while analyzing my growths and weaknesses. His creations brings me back to gratitude when I am feeling ill-tempered. It grows me each time I take an adventure.

Every day, take a moment.

DSC_0012

DSC_0013

DSC_0018

DSC_0019

DSC_0023

DSC_0024

DSC_0041

DSC_0046

DSC_0054

DSC_0061

Beautiful date with Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is beautiful. I am often taken back how close I live to such surreal beauty and mystery. Places like Bryce Canyon I could stare willing for hours especially the hoodoos which are pictured below. Photos don’t do justice. I happily captured a photo of the intelligent raven. Some were a bit too friendly because of people feeding them over the years. Please, I know those lovely pleading eyes may be irresistible, but refrain from feeding the wild.

 

DSC_0913

DSC_0915

DSC_0919

DSC_0921

DSC_0925

DSC_0931

DSC_0939

DSC_0945

 

DSC_0949

DSC_0957

DSC_0964

DSC_0969

Salty Adventures

My dear bestie I often visit in California came to Utah to visit for a few days! With the sun coming back out plus Spring slowly coming into play, it really boosted my mood for the rest of the year. Truly, it is amazing medicine to see your closest friends.

The few photos I am posting here are from our first day of adventures: the Antelope Island in Salt Lake City and a few from Tribble Fork Reservoir in the Mount Timpanogas Alpine Loop. Antelope Island is the largest of the several islands of the Great Salt Lake. It is home to free-range bison, mule deer, foxes, coyotes, pronghorns, and many species of beautiful fowl. There are awesome trails and designated bike routes. If you ever visit, plan accordingly, preferably before July-August–less brine flies and rotten egg-like smell. Otherwise, I highly recommend visiting. Please be sure to visit my “Like” page for more photos I haven’t added here!

 DSC_0782

DSC_0788

DSC_0792

DSC_0793

DSC_0796

DSC_0805

DSC_0817

DSC_0844

DSC_0877

DSC_0884

DSC_0893

Escaped to England and Scotland

We went to Europe! England and Scotland, to be exact. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that we were in Europe 46 days ago (and counting…) From a wee-one, I have wanted to go to Europe and explore endlessly. Several years ago, my best friend’s dream was to go to Scotland. We both wanted to go together, and even planned going together a few years back, but my cancer was being unpredictable, and it was extremely tough for my husband to get off work. My friend went off to Europe, and I had the pleasure to relive her beautiful moments through her wonderful photos. In the recent months, we had been chatting online, as always, and she asked me if we should try to make our dream possible, together. It was a big wishful IF. We figured out everything before jumping the gun… it was possible and true. Not only did I get to experience it with one best friend, but with my other best friend: my husband! If it were not for my friend, this would not be possible. This was an undeserving help to us, really.

I had wished to log each day in my memoirs, but there was so much goodness in two weeks. Honestly, it would probably be pages upon pages of writings of every thought that rushed to mind. Scotland, specifically, is an unforgettable place with unforgettable memories. Departing from London made me a bit sad, but as soon as we entered Scotland via the train…you just knew. How breathtaking each moment became as we made it further into Scotland.  Just standing in secluded beautiful places as you hear the lively nature around you; the misty air with the rich sweet scent of soil—it is a gift. Our tour guide was very informative of the history, it wasn’t one of those tours as they point saying, “This is… and over here is.” No, not only was he extremely thoughtful and kind, he was thorough of Scotland’s history. From the sadness to the pleasant moments that once spread along the lands of Scotland.

I am beyond elated to have made such beautiful memories in my heart and soul, not merely a mental log. Spiritually, I had many quiet moments with God. It seems it has been the quietest my mind has been to really hear His whispers run over me. Being reunited with that still small voice is a beautiful gift He gives us. Life becomes so unbelievably chaotic between fighting feverishly to survive due to health and the government; in addition, we are constantly amongst  technology and its social media shenanigans. You don’t need to go afar to have moments like so. I believe it helped me remember it is vital to take those quiet moments, and to make it a habit.

We miss it, immensely. We shall return…

I will be making a page separately from this blog post with many of my photos under the “Travels” section of my blog. If you are “friended” on my personal Facebook then you have already been bombarded. ; )

 London-April-30-2014-9Lively London, love the pulse of the city.

London-May-1-2014-32We enjoyed the cool damp weather. My skin was incredibly pleased.

Glasgow-May-4-2014-14Beautiful organ in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery located in Glasgow.

Scotland-May-5-2014-3Jet lag was calling my name… enjoyed a lovely latté in Spill the Beans Café in Dunkeld.

Scotland-May-7-2014-4Staircase in the Church of St. Clement on the Isle of Harris. Oh, it’s scarily narrow.

Scotland-May-7-2014-12Wee lamb off to reunite with mother and sibling.

Scotland-May-7-2014-15Seilebost Beaches, Isle of Harris. No words, one can only stare. So many different blues.

Scotland-May-10-2014-4Eilean Donan Castle. I love castles.

Resting Place

305
317
342

443

 

Beauty of Fall

Flashback Friday: First moments

Ah, Yosemite. I’ve been there only twice so far. Oddly enough, I did not get to see Yosemite until after I moved out of the state of California. Sara took me both times. My first time driving into Yosemite just stuck me deeply. I didn’t think I could fall so madly in love with God’s creation even more. Just thinking about it as I write, moves me to tears. I remember us reaching the point of entering the national park. What an escape from the noise, pollutions, (EB) pain, and the vast sense of reality. The winding, twisty, curving roads were intimidating because one does not want to kill wildlife! We took our time driving, however, with short stops in between to take in the beauty. As we got further into the beautiful wooded areas, we could smell TREES and then we spotted deep SNOW! We opened our windows even though it was nearly a 40 degree difference from Los Angeles temperaments. I wanted to bottle the earthy mossy smells permeating from the trees and rich soils. The dampened roads and shadows from the trees gave such an eerily beautiful effect. I literally wanted to lie in the middle of the road, looking straight up into the beautiful clear skies, allowing the mist from the trees dance onto my face for hours.

Beautiful.


It was roughly around mid-noon when we made it. I let out high-pitched scream that left us both with headaches. I couldn’t believe my eyes: HALF DOME! It was beautifully aged giant rock! While we would love to know the history of this park, we don’t know everything. That’s what makes it more mysteriously beautiful and captivating. Can you imagine this national park was once a home to people? Can you imagine seeing that in your every morning or your every sunset? The way the sun bounces of Half Dome, just leaves you speechless.

Sara and I sat there parked for nearly an hour. We did not want to leave, but we had a cabin to find! We took a quick drive down through the valley and passed El Capitan. I love El Capitan as well. If I had the courage, I would climb it in a heartbeat. After low drawn out sighs, I was already exhausted from devouring the sights. We were loopy, enjoying our drive. The map gave us specific, yet interesting directions to our cabin. We had to go off to a side road which maybe unbeknownst to first-timers. Apparently, we had to go through two or three tunnels (yes, we held our breath each time). Once we reached a black gate, we had to make a left. Now, the sun was setting in the west. Neither one of us could see! Not one spec, seriously. We saw the landmark presented on the map, but no road signs whatsoever.

Sara exclaimed, “All I see is a drop off. No roads!”

We sat there in the running car contemplating whether we should chance our doom. We look at each other simultaneously saying, “Let’s just do it!” Sara turned her car’s steering wheel to the left, into the blaring bright white-yellow sun’s direction, “AHHHHHHHHHH!” We felt the tires go over the edge, but we were still alive! A paved road that disappeared into the sun’s direction light plus it was downhill. We started laughing uncontrollably uttering how ridiculous we are. Throughout our trip we kept yelling, “You will have a long time to wave goodbye!”