I'm learning to go with the flow. Wherever life takes me, I'm sure to follow. That is living life to the fullest, I think. It's where the best and most unexpected adventures lie. And if you know me, I am definitely one for random adventures.

On Tuesday, as I was sitting across Christina at Barnes & Noble chitchatting about life, I noticed this guy just blatantly staring over at us. I didn't think much of it and soon after, he left with his friends. We left a few minutes after them. Hours passed and we randomly ran into them inside the Galleria and he introduced himself to me. Randomly. (and quite awkwardly, might I add).

Him: /extends hand for a handshake.
Him: Hey, uh... I'm JP.
Me: JP?! Holy ---- I KNOW YOU! You tried coming in between my friend and his girlfriend about 3 years ago! >:[
/dot dot dot.

Everything came back in an instant. I remembered how much I HATED this guy. Every time I ran into him, I'd curse at him. That was 3 years ago though. He's definitely changed, and for the better. He told me that he's signing up for the Navy and he pretty much has life figured out. In that 5 minute conversation, I went through about a million feelings:

[giggles like a schoolgirl. he's cute. this is an awkward conversation. omg, i remember him. i hate him. why's he still talking to me? i wanna get out of here. christina! dammit, why'd she walk away? rescue me, please. ohmygosh the Navy? wow, i'm proud of this guy. he's got life figured out. a complete turnaround from all the negative things i've heard about him from the past. hmm.]

That turned into lunch at In-N-Out with him, his friends and Christina. Cue me going to class from 6-9pm. JP, his best friend Stefan and our mutual friend Hiline picked me up from class and we headed over to Jewel City to shoot some pool. Besides figuring out how damn small Glendale actually is (we had an insane amount of mutual friends), I learned a lot about those three.

Let's start with Stefan. He got mad at me when I accidentally called him Steven and when I spelled his name with a "phe" in lieu of an "fa". (Stephen vs. Stefan). Anyway! He made me realize what a VERY sheltered life I live. He comes from a sheltered background himself -- being adopted into a family with two parents with PhDs (one graduated from Harvard) and being enrolled in military school all his life. *Insert weird chain of events here* and his stepmom proceeded to kick him out of the house. Since then (it's been about a year or so), he's been living on his own. As a direct result from his pent up feelings of anger, he became friends with a few... questionable groups of people. He has experienced some pretty crazy things because of them. As of right now, his life's in danger and it's not going to go away anytime soon. He's had a few close friends pass away because of the things they're involved in. Sorry for being vague, but I'd rather not get into detail. This conversation with him completely changed the way I thought about life because I HONESTLY thought stuff like this only happened in movies. I guess I'm just naïve. Despite all the harsh realities he has to face, he's always smiling and goes on as if nothing's wrong. He's down-to-earth, hilarious and very welcoming. And due to his impeccable taste in fashion, this Taiwanese boy has quickly become my quote, unquote gay best friend. Ha.

Moving onto JP. Can I start out by saying that I'm blown away by everything he can and wants to do? The boy speaks 5 languages FLUENTLY: English, Tagalog, Spanish, Japanese and Thai. There's more, but either he's learning or only knows a few key phrases. He's a Muay Thai fighter, wants to fly planes for the Navy/become a Navy Seal, is an amazing artist, (pretty cute & built :D), runs at least 5 miles a day, does Kendo and a bunch of other martial arts, etc. He's a bit awkward at times, but that's so petty in comparison to everything else. His past is pretty crazy also seeing as how he comes from a broken family. His mother would constantly do drugs and bring home random men that would beat her relentlessly. JP would stick up for his mom by getting in fights with these men. One night, she kicked him out of the house -- she chose her abusive then-boyfriend over her own flesh and blood. That was this past September. Since then, he's been living on his own also.

Which brings us to the lovely Hiline. Her family's pretty privileged. They live in a 5 bedroom house in the hills and they've been kind enough to house Stefan and JP, along with a few others who come from broken homes. See. Now, this is the kind of thing that gives me hope in humanity. I think it's amazing how Hiline's mom would take them in as if they were her own kids and give them a nice place to stay, a roof over their heads and hot meals to keep them going. I don't think I've seen such humility before. It's really awesome to see.

This brings me to how tight-knit their friendship is -- Stefan, JP, the other guys in the house and a few others. They hold themselves accountable for each other and help one another grow into better people. Wow, the things they've done for each other are nothing short of amazing. Stefan mentioned being a sacrificial lamb -- always making sure everyone else is in a happy state of mind, even if it means not being happy himself. I don't know. Maybe I just don't get out enough. Maybe I'm just not exposed to this kind of friendship, but I was speechless throughout our entire conversation.

I spent all day today (Wednesday) with them once again. Tons of laughs, more storytelling and getting to know one another, and definitely making memories to last a lifetime. I talked to Stefan and said, "I have NO clue what I'm getting myself into with you guys." He told me that if I was patient enough to stick around, I'd have friends that would always have my back.

Haha, re-reading this post makes the whole situation sound really shady. But I assure you, they're genuine. It's something that can't be explained through paper or a stupid blog. I guess you have to experience it for yourself. Hear their stories. Feel how comfortable you feel after a mere half hour with them. See their commitment towards each other before you judge me and my actions in wanting to hang out with a bunch of "strangers".

♥ We had a late dinner at Izakaya Honda Ya in Little Tokyo around 10 pm tonight. Before drinking our final cups of green tea, Stefan made a toast: "Here's to new beginnings and better endings". I've been hearing that phrase thrown around a lot recently -- new beginnings. Heck, here's to awesome new friends and starting the year with a bang.

Again, I commend you if you read all of this. Andrew. Haha :)


1 Response to "Unexpected."

GeOh said... January 8, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Going with the flow is lovely, as it takes you on adventures unknown. Take this from someone who had the "patience" to keep coming back to hang out with his friend's ladyfriend-who-became-his-girlfriend-for-a- brief-time-who-he-now-wants-back
and her strange teenaged friend. My, we had some mighty good times, as I'm sure you guys will. It doesn't sound shady at all; the same could easily be said about me. I commend YOU for turning into this amazing young woman who isn't afraid to go out there and trust people. If I remember correctly, you used to be a worried little bugger who always second-guessed her choices. This newfound confidence in people is extremely intriguing ; as much as it was fun to hang out with you before, I would DEFINITELY love to spend time with this you. As long as this you retains all the qualities of the young you that I always admired, the unwaivering innocence especially. It suited you.

Currently listening: