Since I was a little girl, I’ve been intrigued with my ethnicity. I’m Filipina but have been told by family members that I have Chinese and Spanish ancestry. Still, I didn't believe it. Essentially, most Filipinos will tell you they have Chinese and Spanish descent, which, led me to believe that being Filipino meant not being a pure blood.
I remember working on a family tree at school and I could only go as far back as my Great Grandparents. My dad told me they didn't have records like that in the Philippines as it wasn't really an important thing to most. Needless to say I was disappointed.
I used to look at old photos of my family. My dad as a teenager, especially, looked part African. He had really curly, hair and has a caramel-colored skintone. He looked like this little black boy I once went to school with. My maternal grandma had long hair but extra course and curly and very light-skinned. She didn't look very "filipina" to me.
Filipinos have these distinct features that I didn't necessarily have. I had course and very curly hair, my body type was a bit on the muscular side, and I have these big, cherry tomato eyes while the other girls had thick, straight hair with a thin build, and almond-shaped eyes. I never quite fit in with the other filipina girls when I was younger and was once told by another "you're not a true filipino - you're fake." This hurt me in ways you may not imagine and I was socially awkward around the others.
I actually bought my kit back in mid 2017 but just NOW decided to go for it. A former co-worker told me that she had hers done and was really surprised at her results. I thought, "HOW COOL?! I've always wanted to know." One of my oldest friends decided to do it as well and found things about her DNA that she never would have suspected. A designer I worked with told me her boyfriend's results and then I thought...hmmm this seems like a sign since everyone seems to be doing it and I got to thinking...what the hey. LET'S DO THIS.
My husband was annoyed that I wanted to know so bad - he'd always say "Why don't you just accept you're Filipino?” I think I really just wanted an answer for myself...where I came from. You'd never know but I struggled with checking the box "Asian," "Pacific Islander," "Hispanic," or "Other." HAHA
The kit is pretty simple - it comes with a sample tube (to collect your saliva/DNA), a pouch to place your sample, and a box with the address to the lab.
My brothers were anticipating the day I'd turn in my DNA sample because, whatever I'd get, they'd be the same. However, I've read that one sibling may get more of one ethnicity than the other. If you saw my brothers and I - we look totally different from one another. The only thing you can probably tell that are similar between us is the shape of our legs. Weird, I know.
One brother looks islander, one looks the most Filipino out of the three of us, while I thought I looked mixed with some African or maybe Hispanic.
To activate your kit, take note of your activation code (found on the tube) and register online. This is where you will be able to read up on your DNA results and find a little more on your background.
Taking the DNA Sample
Providing the sample was a bit off-putting to me. I absolutely get turned off when I see or hear people "hawk a loogie." The fact that I had to provide a significant amount of saliva kind of put me a little on edge. There’s a little funnel to attach to the tube to catch your saliva so I tried to be extra careful so as not to make a mess. You spit up to the indicator line on the tube.
Once you provide the sample, you place the cap back onto the tube and there's a liquid to (I think) preserve the saliva. Once the cap is tightened, the liquid will be released into the tube and mix with the sample. You then place the tube into the pouch, then secure it inside the box and send it off.
Next is when the waiting process begins (about 6-8 weeks or more depending on the lab submittals).
I received an email notification of my results and was not expecting the news (see my results in the photo below)...
I should have known! I looked into my Polynesian heritage, which is primarily Samoan and Tongan. Not only was that a surprise but the fact that there is a significant amount of it in my DNA. In high school, many of my Polynesian classmates asked if I was Samoan and when I'd tell them I was Filipina, they weren't buying it. LOL. The Guamanian side of me was also a pleasant surprise so I’m looking forward to learning about that as well!
When I read more online, I saw that Ancestry matches you up with possible family members - those that range from fair to very high possibilities. I have yet to contact some of these people. In the meantime, I am going to soak in what I can learn. I'm debating trying other DNA kits to see if they're similar but I'll set that aside for some other time.
My son, Ashton, is now intrigued to find out more about his mix. He says his dad doesn't really look Vietnamese so he wants to find out soon. :-)
If you're interested in getting a kit, these run $99 online. If there's a special discount running, then even better!
~ XOXO, Mari
If you've read my "Meet my Fam" post from July 2017, you'll have read a brief rundown of how my husband and I met. If not, find it here meet-my-fam.html
We recently just celebrated our 16-year wedding anniversary (however, we've been together almost 22 years) and just flew back from our anniversary weekend celebration in none other than Vegas!
BTW, I will be writing an entry on our trip in the travel section of this blog...be on the lookout! :-)
Every year, we try and do something new to keep things fresh between us (because, let's face it, PARENTING IS A FULL TIME JOB). Now there's plenty of advice to keep a union fresh and a whole book could be written about it but this is what we do...
Usually, we'd travel to places we've never been or revisit a place that we hold dear to our hearts. Last year, we took a very scenic road trip to Vancouver Island, staying the weekend at a remote villa; the year before, we stayed at a lodge east of Seattle, by the wineries; and so on. This is a tradition we started when we exchanged vows back in 2002.
There have been moments we weren't able to travel because of obligations, so we'd try and make it a point to carve out some time to go and have an intimate dinner at some fancy restaurant.
NOTE: Some of the photos below contain links so you're able to get redirected to the places we visited.
Whatever significant occasion you're both celebrating, we recommend NOT bringing your children (especially if they're too young to know better) to your romantic evening...
Our 1st year of marriage, my husband cooked us a steak and lobster dinner and set it up picnic-style in our apartment dining room (we didn't have a dining set yet) and our (then) baby son was crawling over everything! He was supposed to be napping but didn't because of all the commotion going on in the kitchen. It's funny thinking about it now but I could see back then that hubs was bummed because he put all this thought into it. So, yeah, definitely NOT what he envisioned the night to be. LOL!
There was even one year we had all our kids join us for a dinner out and, although we don't mind having them around, we wouldn't do it again (nor would we recommend it to anyone) especially on our date nights! All evening there was bickering and attitudes firing off from one kid to another. Not exactly how we wanted to spend our time.
Keeping things new and exciting for us by having that time alone has helped us to grow together as a couple and has allowed us to communicate better - we'd discuss our lives or what new things we'd like to experience....but, for some reason, a major part of our talks are centered around the kids! Being "on the go" often times than not, it was sometimes difficult to just talk to one another. Dinnertime was mostly centered on our kids' day at school.
Now when I say "time alone" I mean TIME ALONE. Refrain from inviting other couples to join in on your rendezvous and don't even consider staying at a family member/friend's place wherever you're visiting! You want to be alone together to truly connect. I've known other couples who've said that it's exciting when other people are around. I'm curious to know, what is so bad about spending quality time with the person you agreed to share your life with that you rely on the company of others to make your togetherness more interesting?
Don't get me wrong, group dates are fun but should be done on occasion. If done often, there is sometimes the need to put up a facade when you're around others. It's important to my husband and I that we especially set aside special life events for us alone as a couple.
I’ve run into those who have been married to someone 10+ years and say they're too old and going on dates no longer matters because it's frivolous or a waste of money. One person seriously told me "well, she married me so I must still be doing something right." Now they're divorced. Uh huh.
Or, even "what will people think?!" So? What is there to be afraid of? Because, really, there'll always be haters out there. These are the people who aren't happy with themselves that they feel the need to criticize others. So do YOU, boo.
If you have the means to do so...take a trip, eat a fancy dinner, go to a movie a couple times a month!
Of course there are plenty of other things that don't require much money or NO MONEY AT ALL. Eat in while the kids are at a sleepover, take a walk at a park (holding hands, of course), do something active like bicycling or hiking, etc.
The point is you NEVER STOP COURTING ONE ANOTHER. Do something special for your love, just because. Help your partner out when they need it. Be each others "plus one" at functions. Support one another's passions.
Aside from the cliche "don't go to bed mad at one another," which, rings especially true - it is imperative you don't stop dating your special person. Life is hard and it's harder when other factors are introduced into the mix i.e. a stressful job, a demanding career, raising kids, maintaining a home, bill payments etc. The list goes on!
Just remember to reserve the time occasionally for only the two of you. Not only will you rekindle that spark that initially brought you two together but you may get to find out something new about one another as well!
For those who meet me and find out I have 3 children they are, most of the time, surprised. Sometimes they think I'm younger than I am (I was born in 1978 - yeah, I know, I'm "old" to some of you) or they just think I don't have a family because of what I do.
Often times people ask, "How do you do it?!" The answer is simple..."I DON'T KNOW." I really don't. Although, when I think about what I go through on a daily, I can truly handle a heavy load that come with high levels of stress. And I mean HEAVY. But everyone feels that way at some point in their lives if not every day.
I met my husband, Vuong (pronounced VONG), in high school - YUP HIGH SCHOOL - and we've been together (mostly) since. I guess you could say he was my high school sweetheart, though, we didn't get together until after I graduated (so, maybe that would mean I was technically his.). Anyway, check us out - we've got that 90's flava going on...some say we look the same but I beg to differ:
He officially asked me to be his girlfriend on June 27, 1996 (as of today, we've been together a little over 21 years...is that crazy or what??). Our younger brothers were with us when he asked me. His brother, Vinh, wrote our special day on their calendar and my brother, Joe, high-fived me like crazy. Cute AND corny.
Here's a photo of us today:
We eventually married on January 26th 2002 during a snow storm. Eek, right? I was also pregnant with my 1st child - a boy. Double EEK.
Most of Vuong's family were excited because, apparently, having a boy as the first born child is known to be "special and lucky." I had what was considered a "high risk" pregnancy where I was diagnosed with oligohydramnios at the end of my 2nd trimester. This condition is where the amniotic fluid is low and can cause deformation or, worse, death of the fetus.
Long story short, I was able to get my fluids up and carried my baby to term. We had our son, Christian Tai (pronounced "Ty") on June 4, 2002 (at 7 lbs., 6 oz, and 20 inches long). He came out with one club foot, jaundice and appeared VERY thin-looking compared to other newborns I've seen. Still, he was beautiful. and had a full head of hair. Here are a few photos of him from then until now.
Fast forward to November 13, 2004 and our 2nd son, Ashton Duc (pronounced "Duke"), came into this world. This birth was so much easier than the first and he came out right after the 2nd push. He arrived weighing 7lbs, 4 oz at 19 inches long and looked exactly like me. For some reason, I was both amazed and weirded out by it...like here was my little twin. Here are photos of him - you be the judge.
Finally, our last child, Ava Quyen (pronounced "Quinn") arrived on June 8, 2009 at 7 lbs. 8oz at 20 inches long. She was extremely solid...almost muscular yet a bit chubby. Not even sure how to explain it but I was ecstatic nonetheless...I FINALLY HAD MY GIRL.
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