Shit just happens for a reason

So in my last post Nov 12 I was just getting ready to head to the Philippines for a little recon. Some friends of ours were planning on moving there and they wanted to check it out 1st hand. Flash back to the day we were leaving. I head to Puyallup to watch Tara’s high school team go 1-0 during the 1st half of the 3A state finals. They lose 2-1. Shit happens like that. As soon as it’s done I rush back to Seattle finish packing and we head to Vancouver to catch a flight.

Really the 10 days in the Philippines were filled with really good food, walking, sun, and getting to know each other better. These are some quality people right there. We 1st met these friends from baseball, he was Teren’s coach. He had two of his kids on the team. Instantly these kids became buds. We talked about how him drafting Teren put us in the position to be in PI together. Shit just happened for a reason.

We also checked out a few schools. Grocery stores. Lots of malls. Met with Donna. Met with a visa guy. I got to finally check out Taal. Hung out with the cousins and the 3 Nava Aunties. Even got to talk to my Auntie in Sweden for a bit, the 4th. RIP to the other 4 uncles. My blood father passes and my family makes it to the US. Imagine if he didn’t what my life would have been like. Reason(s)why shit happens??

Got to give props to Almie for watching our 2 kids and their 3 kids. They had a good time for sure. I’m sure they ate really good since they have a full sized kitchen and Almie went to town. Props to my mom and dad for helping out too. I arrived home Wednesday as she was on a flight to North Carolina with Tara for more soccer that morning. They came home Sunday but Almie had to catch a flight to Calgary. Luckily the flight got there early and we were able to hang out for like 10 minutes. Shit happens like that. She’s back to tomorrow and I can’t wait! Tara’s soccer team, some parents, the coach got heat about van life.

Speaking of van living. We will have had Vanessa a year this coming December 18th. We will have been van dwelling a year come January 13th. I just started pulling up some pics of Vanessa in preparation to sell her, we are about to get our newly converted house/used van. Change is always scary but we crazy family we are will get thru it. Still want to give props to everyone that has let us park, get water, shower, sleep, eat etc etc etc at your house. Love y’all, you know who you are. The reason for the van downsizing has its own reasons, they ain’t bad though.

The homie Tara getting called at the final game. 1st team Metro honors for the season. You played well and grew as a player and as a person.

Me and the homies taking a bamboo bike tour of Intramurous.

Philippines, that traffic though.

Singing sob

Dinner, 2016 the family raved about this place. Big Bad Wolf. 2018 we still raved.

Thanksgiving. Teren’s bday. Almie’s and I anniversary all wrapped in the same day.

Inside the lake with in a lake.

Another view of the inner lake. Thanks nature.

At my Aunties farm, I’m feeling at home here.

Fam dinner 1.

Fam dinner 2.

Almie sends me crazy stuff like this.

FaceTiming while I’m in a mall like that is like Venice in the Philippines.

Halo halo. 3 times at 3 different places. This is #2.

A farmers market/eating market in the middle of a metro.

The homie getting taken to medical before the flight home. She almost passed out right when we getting our luggages scanned.

Seattle fam annual Christmas party.

Miss this chick.

I’m coming home, tell the world I’m coming home, Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday

In a week I’ll be heading to the Philippines for 10 days of doing what ever. It’s going to be hot and I will like that.

Been busy here on the home front. Tara and her high school team just beat what probably was the best team in the state in 3a soccer. They got a chance to win the state tournament with 2 more games left. Teren started basketball and just finished off flag football. He really likes playing defense. He said it would really be cool if I could tackle..haha. Almie’s new job is in full swing. She travelled, drove to BC, for some meetings which left me 2 days with the kids. I’ve been volunteering at Teren’s school a bunch. It’s kind of fun, but busy.

Last week we parked at Fels for a few days. That was cool to get off our routine a bit. Since our new van is coming I talked to a dealership about selling Vanessa, damn they want to highway robbery me. I’m mostly likely going to sell it on my own. The new van, will be ready for pick up in about a month. Working on getting it insured, these big companies won’t do it. Quote was $1200-1300 a year. Just about what I pay for the RV.

As more and more this life becomes the norm. I’m less and less about pushing it. I don’t even feel like sharing these blog posts out to social media. It’s kind of like when I first started riding bikes I thought everybody should be on a bike. Now I’m like, fine don’t ride bikes, don’t experience the joy of the wind on your face or the bombing of a hill. I’ll keep all that goodness to myself. With the van, I’m like I live in a van and shit is amazing. I would love for you know how awesome it is, but I’m keeping it to myself unless you ask. I still get asks…when I do my excito meter goes off. One of the things I’ve read (from mali.mish) about this life that resonates is that….the simple life doesn’t necessary mean the easy life.

In one of my earlier posts I talked about how some people support it and some of our friends are confused by it. After Almie and I were at a Friendsgiving party this weekend she said the term “hole poker” which is a someone that pokes holes in what ever you are telling them. Makes kind of sense. When I’m telling you what my plans are you should be cool with it and be supportive and not try to poke holes in it. Also at this party talked to a guy that almost died. I asked him what he was doing different since he has a new lease on life, a second chance per se. He told me something he was starting to do, I was like do that shit, enjoy it, life is short. Not a hole was poked by me.

Friendsgiving party

End of flag football team pic

Sunlight cafe moved. I need to go check out their new place.

I really only want to ride my bike. Lunch with mama Lu

HNA ladies getting a talk from the only coach (in blue) that has won state.

Patty found this gem. I’m in the back behind the webs, I dressed up as Messi.

Hello from the other side….

It’s been about a month since the last update. Descend on Bend… still on the brain.

So what’s been up since then. Lots and lots of high school and soccer for Tara. Almie started a new job October 1st. They found out, she told them, she lives in a van. Naturally there were concerns. I made jokes, like “ooh you in trouble, your work found out you live in a van”. All the more reason for her to crush it. Teren has been busy with school, soccer, and some flag football. He got way too much candy for Halloween. I took another turn around the sun. Work had some stressful moments in there, stuff I hadn’t had to deal with in a while, like shit breaking and having to rebuild stuff unplanned. Haven’t had a 21 hour day in a long long time. My body just wouldn’t let me do a 24+ hour. Too old.

Van status?! Today it became a reality our #vanlife with Vanessa is coming to an end when I talked with Nanci, the lady who sold her to us, about possible ways to sell Venessa our home for almost 10 months. As the world turns…the very same day our builder sent us pics of our new van (name tbd). We’ve been parking pretty much the same place for a little over a month. Not part of the plan, but this place gives us mutual benefits for both us and the drive way owners. We really love their family. We do miss our other #vanfamilies though. I should make it a point to park there once in awhile.

Here are pictures from October 2018.

Soccer hommies. We’ve know their family since they were 10yrs old. They hold a special place in our heart.

Water fill. Last days of house sitting gig in Lynnwood.

Teren making faces. Having dinner with his God Sister.

Family van dinner then homework.

Clowning on my volunteer badge pic

Homework and making faces

Almie and Teren on an early morning at the airport headed to San Diego

Making faces with cousin

Checking out the new van

Testing the new toilet

Almie and her grade school BFF

Teren with Tara’s ninang

They tried to steal the bike. Crackheads!!!

Water fill at Joel’s.

New toy. Projector for the new van since it won’t have a tv.

Senior night

School event where kids ride bike around. Some parents from Tara’s class

Trunk or treat at Teren’s school

Horsing around at trunk or treat

Water fill at Safeway

Our new front door

Scary ass pic of your home gutted

Garage and bedroom

Descend on Bend

Woah…..tough to put it into words

I thought it was the weekend before and Almie was in San Diego at that time, so I wouldn’t have been able to go as we were house sitting and dog sitting. Which by the way ends tomorrow night. Since the event was this past weekend I asked Fel if we could tag along. Brought Teren and we hitched a ride with Fel and his kid, Xavier, in Ariel that red vanagon.

Hit up Fred Meyer (Wednesday) the night before because we only have 1 sleeping bag, which is in Bremerton. Teren got packed up. Almie helped out with the food. I waited till the last minute. After work, soccer game, bike commute, dinner, shower, you know life….We ended up leaving late Thursday night. Fel drove the 8 hours and the boys slept the whole way. Got in around 6:30am Friday.

Lots of hanging, meeting people, camp fires, bbq, looking at vans, talking vans, listening to live music, watching the kids. So good that it is tough to put into words. You must go for yourself and create your own experience. A bonus was there was no cell service out there. But I got some pictures. Thanks for Fel and X for having us. We looking forward to next year.

Almost packed up to leave

Bathroom break

Walmart for more water!!

Hole in the ground

Stepping out to see the hole

🌚 🌞 [/[/

This van had a piñata of itself that the kids got to beat on
Hot wheels, I’m sure there is a van in there
Fancy tool holder
If your got custom paint, you win at life
Close up. Oregon Coast, other side was Florida palm trees. Repping they migrate.
Custom blocks
Future looks bright
Camp stove winner. Up cycled farm tool made into a wok
No digital games
Wine van

We had running water!!
Dark side of the moon
Keeps the dust down, but also a free shower
Somebody said I should try this
Sets in the West
Hole pics
Starting to gather at the bottom of the hole
Rally down to the hole
Pic doesn’t do this paint job justice
Buses too
Bouncy house VW
This was very boxy, vey nice
Sticker game
Selling of the wares, like a swap meet but cooler
These dudes are happy
Fel and the army of cooks
Night highlight
Crazy kid
Chatting up at the fire
Take a pic of me pretending to sleep. Yeah cool, you know you got lost last night and your mom couldn’t find you cause you were really sleeping on a chair.
End of the road
Thanks Fel and X

You live in a van?

I guess this is a FAQ part 2 of sorts! Going on our 9th month as full-time vanners, we still get a ton of questions and for the most part, pretty happy sharing our story! A couple months back I had asked for folks to ask us anything about our #vanlife…here are the questions + the ones we get when telling someone for the first time:

Q: Where do you guys park?
A: We have our 3 go to spots (thank you to our vanlife families!) We have had some serious support from a handful of friends letting us be neighbors! Mommy Lou has been added to our list, she’s given us the invite to stay through next summer. We typically park on the street and if it’s free, the driveway! 

Q: Have you installed a bidet in the van?
A: Ummm, no. A water bottle does the job 🙂

Q: Where does everyone sleep?
A: It depends on how late Tara will be with her homework, usually Teren and I sleep in the back since we’re ready for bed by 9pm. 

Q: How do you and Terence get alone time?
A: We make it work, haha!

Q: Do you guys ever plan on getting back in a house?
A: Nah, I (we) really love living in the van. Don’t think I could ever go back to living in a house. It’s super freeing to not have any financial obligations, commitments, yard work, etc…plus this whole minimalist living is pretty amazing. 

Q: Where do you keep all your bikes?
A: In our mini-van. We ended up trading in our Honda CR-V for a Dodge Pro Master City. It’s big enough to keep a couple bikes, a couple bins of seasonal clothes and the kids sports gear and equipment. Terence ended up trading in my mountain bike for a cross bike for himself, I gave a former teammate my track bike, sold my cross bike…which leaves me with just my road bike. Terence on the other hand has 4 bikes (I think!)

Q: How do you guys fit clothes for all four of you?
A: We don’t own much. I probably have 30 things to wear which includes my workout gear, work clothes, and shoes. I’m always getting rid of stuff! We do have a bin in the mini-van with our winter stuff (sweaters, jackets, etc…) try to keep the essentials and must-haves versus the wants. 

Q: How do you guys shower? Do you have a bathroom?
A: Yes, we have a bathroom with a toilet and shower. Teren is probably the only one who really uses the shower in the van. Tara and I take our showers at LA Fitness. Which works out in the end because it forces us (ME) to workout and keep my fitness 🙂 Terence takes his showers at work. 

Q: Does it smell like a porta-potty in your van?
A: C’mon! No, it doesn’t smell like a porta-potty. It smells like our home. There are chemicals and RV stuff we use so it prevents the black tank from smelling. 

Q: Do you guys work?
A: Terence never stopped working, he’s been at Children’s for 12+ years. His schedule is fairly flexible and works remote when needed. I was laid off at the beginning of May this year and been working on my consulting business which is going well! And…I recently accepted an offer with a dental start-up company. I wasn’t really planning on doing anything full-time like this but the opportunity found me and things just fell into place. It’s a remote, wfh position, which is AMAZING and perfect. 

Q: How are the kids doing with it?
A: They’re doing good! Tara has totally embraced van living and minimalism. The same for Teren. I mean, as long as his XBOX is connected, he’s fine. He’s been pretty open about our future plans for van living and next adventure so I would say that is a good sign. We’ve been parking the big van at his school and at first thought the kids would make fun of him but totally the opposite! 

Q: Do you guys have any road trips planned?
A: Both kids are back in school and in full swing with sports which means trips are on hold until the holidays and summer! The one pending road trip we have will most likely be late November/early December – getting a one way ticket to San Diego and picking up our new van then driving it back to Seattle!

That’s it for now until the next post!