My Lola

A note from Big Nugget:
It has been some time since I shared my friend’s words. I am grateful that he continues to trust this little community and continues to shares such vulnerable moments with us. Through other’s experiences, we learn compassion, acceptance, and peace — only a few among the many traits we can gain from listening to another person’s story.

Thank you Ricky, for sharing such a vulnerable piece with us!  

To read Ricky Congo’s last contribution to my blog, click here. To learn about the “A friend of the Nuggets” project, click hereComments and questions are encouraged. We want your thoughts and stories, too! 

As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed certain things… I’ve seen my dad frustrated, I’ve seen him angry, and I’ve seen him irritated — a lot of times because I’m hard headed, stubborn and set in my ways.  (Don’t laugh too hard dad for the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree).  If you know anything about my father, you know about the upset face, the furled eye brows, the big eyes and the pursed lips, but I’ve never noticed him sad. For 32 years, I’ve wondered if he could even produce tears.  That changed on Monday.

I received a phone call as I was leaving work.  My dad told me that grandma had passed.  I went straight to his house and found him in a state that I never thought was a possibility, crying and sobbing.  Understandably so, grandma, after all, is his loving mother.

Grandma was not like any other person.  Often greeting me with a hug and two sniffs, one on each side of my face, she was always generous and kind.  She was one of those people who got joy out of seeing everyone around her happy.  Her super power was food and she made sure you not only liked what she gave you, but that you ate until your stomach hurt.

I have a story that sums my grandma up.  You may find this hard to believe, but I was an extremely picky eater when I was younger.  For years, I unreasonably made sure I had a steady diet of pizza, steak and McDonald’s.  I was about 12 years old at the time and my dad took me to the new and only McDonald’s in Davao City, Philippines to get breakfast.  I came home ecstatic with two hash browns and immediately ate them.  Grandma noticed and instead of being upset that I didn’t eat her cooking, she watched me eat the hash browns and asked “you like?”.  Of course, I naively said yes and didn’t think anything of the situation.  The next day she woke me up and she had a bag of ten hash browns in her hand.  My dad shook his head, because McDonald’s was far from their house, and with a very stern look, he said “you better eat all of those”.  So I did, it hurt, but I did.  The day after that, grandma woke me up again, but this time there were 20 hash browns in the McDonald’s bag.  I looked at my dad, he started laughing and said “that’s what you get.”

Grandma loved to cook, she loved to feed you and she loved to see you happy.  So, when you’re eating today and you feel full, have another plate, just for grandma.  And when you begin to cry, because it’s inevitable, make sure you smile as well.  I truly believe grandma is watching from heaven and doesn’t want us to be sad while celebrating her life.  She would want us full and happy.

You know, I’m not supposed to be here… On 2 days notice and an expired passport, traveling across the world, you’re going to tell me that my grandma had nothing to do with this?  You can’t convince me.  As she prays often, I assume she has that kind of pull with the Lord.  So, grandma, thank you for all that you’ve done for us, we love you and we will miss you, always.

-Ricky Congo


Is Snapchat life?

A note from Big Nugget:
I am grateful to share another post from my friend, Ricky Congo. I shed some tears reading this one. Thank you Ricky, for sharing such a vulnerable piece with us!  

To read his last contribution to my blog, click here. To learn about the “A friend of the Nuggets” project, click hereComments and questions are encouraged. We want your thoughts too! 

A friend of mine passed away last week.  We were closer when we were in middle school. Back then we traded shoes (to borrow, not to keep), shared lunches and cheated off of each other in science class.  We grew apart a little bit in high school because I went to a different school.  We made new friends, but we never really stopped being friends with each other, there was no falling out and no reason to not be friends.  We were always cool and were always going to be cool.

Lately, we had been sending each other funny ass snapchats, lots of food snapchats, and even some sad ones.  That’s the effed up thing about Snapchat, some great memories are lost because once they’re gone, they’re gone.  You only get up to 10 seconds of joy and that’s it.  I didn’t think I would ever draw to this conclusion, but in a way Snapchat is like life.

There are some good memories and some bad ones, but that’s exactly what they are… memories.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.  You can’t get them back, you can’t change them, and you can only filter them the way you’d like to see them in that moment.

Man… we would snap each other food all the time!  He was a chef too… so, you know his taste buds were on point.  There were countless sushi and taco places that I would have never known were great had he not shown them to me.  I went to so many new places because of him.

One of the best Snapchat conversations we had was when I was at a basketball game and the guy in front of me was not watching the game at all.  He was on his phone the whole time with his headphones in, just going HAM on some Aaliyah music videos.  Of course I snapped it to my friend with the caption “This mothereffer really likes Aaliyah”.

He really got a kick out of that one.  He then proceeded to send me the link to his “Running Man Challenge” video.  I couldn’t stop busting up laughing.  He had moves.  He was in just his boxers (which come to find out, I have the same pair), I think the setting was what humored me the most.  There was an exercise bike, a treadmill, an elliptical, couches all disoriented, and of course, Fresh Prince was on the TV in the background.

Then there were some sad snaps.  Ones where he was at the doctor’s office.  He’d have an IV in and on the verge of passing out.  I never knew what his health issues were, nor did I want to ask.  I just wanted to know if he was going to be okay.  He always said yes.

That was the type of person he was.  He didn’t want anyone to worry about him.  Always happy, always smiling, always joking around, and always wanting you to have a good time.  Overall he was just a great soul; no wonder God wanted him in heaven.

Sometimes I think about why people leave this earth so soon… but I have come to realize that when you think about just automobiles, which are made with the finest equipment and machinery, you would be lucky if a car lasts 20+ years.  These things only cost thousands of dollars. Cars that are supposedly “reliable” sometimes give out sooner than expected.  If that is the cost and life expectancy of a car, then how much are our bodies and our lives worth?

Death really isn’t a matter of why? It’s a matter of whom and when?  No one makes it out alive.  So, you might as well love life while you’re here and appreciate everyone around you that loves you.

I love you bro, RIP and I want you to know we absolutely enjoyed you while you were here!

-Ricky Congo

Nothing but death is certain in this life. Thank you Ricky, for reminding us to live our lives fully while we’re here. -Big Nugget

Goals and Dreams

A note from Big Nugget:
I am grateful to share another post from my friend, Ricky Congo. This one brought me the enlightenment I needed at exactly the right time.

To read his last contribution to my blog, click here. To learn about the “A friend of the Nuggets” project, click hereComments and questions are encouraged. We want your thoughts too! 

This thought came about because that “New Year, New Me” bs is vastly approaching.  People start setting resolutions to do certain things, to achieve certain things or accomplish certain things.  They are committed to do it for the first two weeks of the new year and then say, “Eh, eff it.  I don’t really care about it that much.”

I think the problem is that people set their dreams and goals for all of the wrong reasons.  It’s very rare that people are setting this standard because they love it or they love themselves.  Think about it for a second.  How many of you wanted to lose 20 pounds just so that you could attract the opposite sex?  You wanted to save money to buy an engagement ring for the girlfriend you don’t have or save money for a downpayment on a house for the family you don’t have?

Now, if you keep those goals and switch up the mentality, you may be more susceptible to achieving them.  For example:  I want to lose 20 pounds because my knees and ankles hurt and the weight loss would take the pressure off of my lower extremities, it would also reduce my health risks and I won’t be tired all of the time.  Overall, it would just make me feel good to lose the weight.  When you think about it like that, then you’re more conscious of what you eat and how much you’re working out.

Another example would be: I want to save money because I don’t want to have any debt and in the event of an emergency, I would like to have the cash.  I would like to be financially independent and responsible.  I refuse to borrow money from anyone else and I would like to account for everything I earn.  Having excess money reduces my stress and makes me feel better.

It just sounds different when you intend to do things for yourself as opposed to doing it for other people.  So, this begs the question: who and what are you doing this for?  Why are you doing this?

Now, just so you know, I had those goals for those exact wrong reasons.  If you feel that I’m picking on you, I was that same person and it’s okay to recognize it and change your mentality.  It’s perfectly fine to want to do something for someone else as long as you’re not short changing yourself.

When I look back on my dreams, I wanted to be a professional athlete in basketball or football or both.  I wanted to be a fireman, then an accountant, a sports anchor, or a professional wrestler.

What do most of these have in common?  They are all high paying and most are entertainment types of jobs.  I have always wanted to be rich and I still do.  Clearly, I am not there yet, but I did buy a lotto ticket and I’m feeling pretty lucky today.

I’ve always wanted to be rich because my parents fought about money.  There was always a dispute on what was being spent.  I just never wanted that to be an issue.  So, my natural instinct was to try to be rich as soon as possible.  As, I have found and many probably feel the same way… sadly, you don’t just announce to the world that you want to be rich and it randomly occurs.

Now, I want to be rich because it will put my life at ease.  It will reduce my stress, help me become healthier mentally and I won’t have to worry about money.  I can enjoy life and just know that I will be able to do whatever I want in life.  I want to be rich for the love of me, but in order to be rich, you have to have a passion for something.

My problem is that I am good at a lot of things, but I’m not great at one thing.  I also am not passionate about something that I would work tirelessly on.  I don’t love something so much that it could become my passion either.  At least I haven’t found that particular thing yet.

I have noticed this characteristic with every wealthy and successful person.  They were passionate about their profession and loved their profession so much that it became their way of life, which in turn brought in their wealth.

I found this quote that may help you and I both:
“Find three hobbies: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to be creative.”

With this mentality, I do know that I will find what I’m looking for and I am with the understanding that I’m a late bloomer, always have been.  So, there isn’t a timeframe for this dream or goal.  I know it’s going to happen eventually because I’m passionate about constantly trying to figure it out.

– Ricky Congo

Thank you, Ricky! Your perspective and experience has inspired me to work a little harder at my goals and dreams. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. – Big Nugget