Thursday, December 1, 2016

Welcome To America! Have A Nice Day.

You’ve made it.  I don’t know where you’re from but you’re now here in the USA, the land of milk and honey.  You might be a little bit jet lagged, overwhelmed or simply agnostic to your presence here.  But what the heck… you’re here!

What now?

For starters, understand your immigrant status.  Did you come in as a tourist, a business visitor, an investor, a student, a fiancĂ©, a refugee, a border crosser, an immigrant or a full-fledged US citizen?  It doesn’t matter at this point.  However, you need to know “what” you are.  And you need to be honest with yourself with regard to your plan of making the United States your home.

You need a game plan.  You need a source of income.  You need a place to stay.  You need a support group.  You need a church.  You need access to the internet.  You need identification.  Yes, you do need all of these things.

Let’s start with your game plan.  It could be as elaborate as knowing every step to get your immigrant status.  You clearly know if you need to hire an attorney and your documents are either with you or on the way to the states via FedEx or UPS.  Or your plan could be as vague as going with whatever comes your way.  The latter sucks!  It’s best to know all your options from the get go.  This way, you’re not wasting time, which is of the essence.

In the land of the free, nothing is free!  You’ll need a source of income.  Are you coming into the country with money or a pipeline of funds?  Or are you here with the clothes on your back and a few dollars to your name?  Either way, you’ll need to be able to provide for yourself.  You’ll need to sustain yourself here in the states.  As illegal as it is, employers still hire workers who are NOT supposed to be working.  Here in Los Angeles, minimum wage is $10.00.  That’s a start!

As hospitable as your relatives or siblings are, they are busy taking care of themselves, even if most of them find it hard to admit to this.  But you’ll need a place to stay.  Barter.  Help out.  You’d be stupid to think you can be their guest forever. Follow the “3 Day Rule”.  If you’re still living with other people after three days, you better offer to help around the house and offer to pay “rent”.  Give them an opportunity to refuse your offer.  After 15 days… repeat!  You do not want to get complacent in other people’s home.

Jump on to social media like Facebook or Twitter and let your friends know you’re in town.  It helps!  Some of them will take you out to dinner, give you cash, give you something to start with, hold your hand when things get shaky and even help you when you need them most.  Don’t abuse them though.  They can only help you so much.

The best place to start making friends and to start building a productive network is through your local church community.  Get plugged in!  Network!  Make new friends.  Be nice.  Be a generous receiver.  Ditch the false humility.  Say “Thank you” a lot!  Give these new friends an opportunity to help you.  Appreciate!  In time, you’ll be where they are and they’ll be proud of you.

You’ll want to reconnect with your loved ones overseas.  It can get very lonely here in the states, specially during the Christmas season.  Valentine’s day too!  Okay fine… mother’s day and father’s day as well.  Birthdays, even.  Having access to the world can bridge the loneliness gap.  Get a smart phone with Internet access.  It doesn’t have to be the fanciest.  It just has to be smart.

Go to your local DMV.  Apply for an ID.  Even illegal aliens are given an ID here in California via AB60.  Look into it.  You always want to keep proper identification on you.  But keep it close to you.  Don’t let anybody steal your identity.  Why would they anyway?

Have fun and reflect a lot.  Be honest with yourself and find out as soon as possible if living in the United States is for you.  It’s different.  If you’re not used to independence, it may feel overwhelming.  Give it a shot.

Have a heart to heart talk with yourself until you find that inner peace.  Then commit to your decision, whether its to stay and make a different life for yourself over here or to enjoy your temporary time here and go back to your point of origin with closure in your heart and mind.

Either way is fine as long as you’re fine.

At the end of the day, no one is responsible for you and to you except yourself.  Go make it happen!

Paco Arespacochaga is an artist/musician, who migrated to the United States in 2001.  He plays drums for the band, INTRoVOYS.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Adele's 25

I've played her music with other musicians since Adele broke out years ago, but I've never really appreciated her body of work with first hand initiative until her latest album, "25", came out.

Initially, I have to admit, I was one of those people who associated her carrier single, "Hello", with Lionel Ritchie's song of the same title.  But then, I noticed the song growing on me.  Then it finally happened.  I allowed myself to listen to her whole album and BOOM!  I was hooked!

"25" made me go back to her previous albums, "19" and "21"!  It made me go search for her on YouTube.  I fell in love with her candor watching her "joyride" with James Corden.

All because of "25".

If I had 5Gs, I might even go watch her at the Staples Center.  But that's quite over the top!

Nonetheless, as late a bloomer I've come to be.  I have no shame admitting my admiration and appreciation of such a great artist!

Get your copy of Adele's album, "25".

Monday, March 16, 2015

In Love With the Thought Of Being...

It's hard to fall in love when you're young.  It's even harder to fall in love when you're in your 30s and 40s.  The reality is it's really hard to fall in love.

In your teens and 20s, falling in love becomes part of your daily living.  If you're not in love with this girl or that... you're in love with something or some activity.  There's always something to be in love with.  And what's fascinating about this feeling is the intensity of the passion one puts into it like there's no more tomorrow.  Or that the world would end if things don't go one's way.

Now, when you're in your 30s or 40s and you still feel that way, you've got a lot of catching up to do.

Here's my thing.  After being in and out of relationships for the past 3 decades of my life, I've come to the conclusion that often times, I was just in love with the thought of being "in love".  And that's not cool.  In other words, I was just looking for that "high" feeling that one gets when those brain chemicals start kicking in.  And yes, it can get very addicting.

But I realized this as I matured and really made a conscious effort to break the cycle.  Have I been successful?  I'm not perfect but I'm definitely learning.  And I've been better than I have been in the past.  I've learned to both heart and mind in a relationship.  In other words, infatuation doesn't exist in my being anymore.  It has no place in the world of "grown ups".

I'm pretty sure you guys have figured this out a long time ago.  And yeah... I'm simply catching up!  This said...  here are a 7 tips to keep your head straight and not go crazy irrational on other stuff BECAUSE your other half is causing drama.

1.  Give yourself a timeline to see if the relationship you're in is healthy for your well-being.

2.  If your partner finds motivation in causing drama to spice up your relationship, sit her down and let her know it's not cool

3.  If you're not able to express yourself to let her know "it's not cool" to cause drama, you know you're in deep shit and have no "say" in the relationship you're in.

4.  Don't be in the relationship you're in just because other people are inspired by your story.  Listen, at the end of the day, you're the one who'll have to deal with all the crap that's in it.  You better be in it because you know it's healthy for both of you.

5.  If both of you end up screaming at each other or walking out from each other after tryin to open up to one another, you're in an unhealthy relationship.  BAIL.

6.  Infatuation will die down.  And when it does, your relationship will look ugly.  Even the girl you're with will look ugly.  Life will look ugly.  You will see yourself as ugly... oh boy... that's ugly!

7.  You choose and decide what's best for you.  You can't give if you don't have.  And if you're not doing what's best for you, you can't do what's best for other people, especially the one you think you love.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Car As a Learning Platform

I might be “old school” when it comes to auto audio fidelity. Yes, my auto audio entertainment system set up is pretty cool that if you put a Foo Fighters' ditty on it, crank up the volume and sit back, you'd probably think Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foos were having a concert in my car.

But this week, I've decided to give them and the rest of my Spotify playlist music artists a much needed rest, including my very own band, INTRoVOYS.

In exchange to this sudden delta, I've invited the likes of Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Mark Cuban, John MacArthur, Zig Ziglar, Anthony Robbins and other gurus into my daily commute and travel.

It was so funny that after all these years of seeing one of those nice little icons, called “Podcast” on my iPhone, I finally pressed it and opened a new world filled with audio/video content that is geared to teach me, inform me, irritate me, arouse me, inspire me and all other future feelings I could ever possibly think of.

So today was a good day for me. I am very much inspired just listening to all these great experts speak about life in general.

So yeah… I just thought I'd share this new found experience with you guys!

Have a great day ahead!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tired and Lost

This is how I feel right now. It's 1:38 in the morning and I had just gotten back from my rehearsal with INTRoVOYS, my band of 28 years. The house is quiet and dark.  Except for the quaint lamp that adorns my living room, my apartment is a man's house.

At times like these, it's hard not to get sentimental about everything that has gone wrong in my life. Or better yet, everything that has led me up to this point. And honestly, as much as I would like to admit I knew what I was doing, whether it was right or wrong, right now I am lost! I don't know where the heck I am and where is it I'm headed for. It's like someone placed a blindfold on me and spun me around and ordered me to walk "north". Where the heck is NORTH?

Rehearsal with INTRoVOYS was alright. Thank God it's never boring! We always bring something new to the table and tonight was no exception. Jonathan Buencamino, our vocalist, came in with a brand new song that he doodled. He graciously allowed us to add our spin to it and I think it turned out pretty well.

Then we went ahead and rehearsed more songs in preparation of our upcoming US concert tour with other great Filipino musicians. And so we played a whole bunch of songs and now, I'm tired.

So here I am in front of my laptop, tired and lost. Go figure!

Friday, April 25, 2014

You Don't Need to Lose In Order For Me to Win!

The person in between me and my success is the person I see in front of the mirror every single morning.  I am in competition with him.  I need to persuade him to be better... to be a winner!

And while society pressures us to be better than everybody else, I believe that making it our aspiration to be better than who we were yesterday is a much better choice.

Of course, there are exceptions to this principle but that's another blog.

Tomorrow, try a new strategy.  Look at yourself in the mirror and make a commitment to do something better.

Simple tweaks done every day is 365 tweaks of self improvement in a year!

That, my friend, is a WINNER!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Going On Vacation Against Your Will

At some point in time, you and I will need to take a break from our day to day. Often times, we feel that giving in to the necessary evil of taking a break is a sin to the work that we need to be doing. And at times we feel that being in a constant state of busyness equates to being productive.

On the contrary, not all urgent things are considered important! And not all important things are considered urgent.  And this is where you need to be true to yourself.  This is where you need to ask yourself if you are merely spinning your wheels on the things that are urgent but not important at the expense of the things that are important but not urgent.

Take going on vacation as a perfect example. It's not urgent but it is important.  But because it's NOT urgent, you'll procrastinate and set it to the side all because you need to do something urgent but not important like... helping out a neighbor who is moving out of his house over the weekend.

Leaders know the difference between what is urgent and what is important and make decisions accordingly. The next time you think you need a break, you really do need a break. Have no fear and go on a vacation against your will! It's not urgent... but it definitely is important.

Thank you for reading!