Oh My God. I just watched one of your videos where you re-wrote an entire address card...your calligraphy and your flourishes are crazy gorgeous. How exactly do you decide what flourishes to add? How do you know it's not going to be awkward looking or anything? :)
Thank you, I’m glad you like them! The secret for flourishing is to add just enough but not to go too crazy with them. Here is my process for making an envelope.
The first thing I do is stick a stamp on the top right corner. Sometimes I stick more than one stamp, sometimes I use stickers, but the point is that I want to know exactly how much space I have. Once I stuck my stamps, I consider what the address is. Some addresses are super long (international addresses) and some rather short. It helps to have a visual of the address as well. Here I have one for Ned Flanders which is a standard American address, a name, a street, city, state and zipcode. Knowing that the address is four lines, I draw my guidelines with pencil. I always make them wavy because I can’t be bothered with a ruler. Nevertheless, I make sure there is plenty of space at the top or bottom in case of overflow.
I always start with a large name, because this is what the recipient wants to see. I don’t make it very fancy to start with, instead I make sure the whole name is written well and readable and fits well in the space that is available.
When the name is done, I add some flourishes at the beginning and ending, but making sure it is not over the top yet. I want to leave space for the rest of the envelope.
Now for the street address, this is super important because this is actually what the postman is looking for. Again, make it readable and add flourishes later.
Leave all that tantalizing empty space for now.. put in the city..
..And state. You can just use the two letter state abbreviations, but I always like writing out the whole state especially if it’s just one short word. If it’s a long hard to spell word like Masassachussettchustetts or Pennysylvavniavaninia then I’ll just use an abbreviation. Also I always make sure the zipcode is visible, it is the most important part of the envelope for the postman!
Once everything is down, then the flourishing can start. Tastefully fill in the empty space.. it’s really hard to not go overboard, but once you have that figured out, let me know..
When the ink is all dried (I hold it up to the light to see if there’s any glossy ink spots left), I erase the pencil lines. It should look like the lines are floating! Sometimes at this point I add more stuff, but usually it should be ready to go.
Hope this helps!
September 11, 2001. My family were scheduled to depart the Philippines on this date; from our homeland, to the United States. My father, who is an Aircraft Mechanic was petitioned by an Aviation in the United States to work in America, and was granted to bring his family with the contract of legal residency upon completion of his signed settlement with the company.
9/11 - the attack on America’s soil, that until now is questionable occur.
And thus the story begins……
I remember so vividly on that date, when my father came home from a travel to the Philippine Embassy or a place where our paper works were being taken care of. He had a mix feelings of panic, worried, frightened, fear that we won’t be able to migrate to the United States any longer because of the bombing of the twin towers. I was 14 years old then, still ignorant in many ways and I actually didn’t want to leave the Philippines. Mainly because of friends and my accustomed habitat that I grew up in. But I had no choice. Our flight scheduled was re-scheduled in September 26, 2001. A couple of weeks after the 9/11. We were able to fly in after all.
We landed on September 27, 2001 in LAX [Los Angeles International Airport]. My brothers and I were dressed in black trousers and white long sleeve shirts. So was my Dad, but I believe he might’ve had a neck tie on. My mother and my sister were dressed nicely as well. We wore our Sunday’s best. We were told that, we needed to look representable upon arriving the U.S. soil and so groomed we did. But to be honest with you, I remember either my mother or my father mentioning that, we should look like “we have money”. You see, before somebody migrates to the United States, one must show efficient money which is also known as the “show money” to prove to the U.S. government that they can support themselves here. At least in our case. We sold all our assets except our house and still came short. Our funds were so insufficient, that we had to borrow money from our relatives here in America for our show money and for our plane tickets as well. We truly could’ve arrived in our t-shirts and shorts.
So land we did, in the United States. My father was so happy that he actually knelt down upon setting foot outside of the airport and kissed the concrete floor of the road. I think me and my brother might’ve laughed at him and thought he was crazy. We were picked up by my mothers cousin, and she drove us from Los Angeles to San Diego. I don’t remember much of the drive for I had fallen asleep from the travel. What I did remember was pulling in, in my Grandma’s one room house, probably the most smallest one room house that I have ever seen in America. It was like a size of an RV or a Trailer. You see, us in the Philippines [and I think I speak for many third world countries as well] we grew up knowing America as this golden place. Full of beautiful babes, beaches, cars, Hollywood, big houses, mansions, money, living the life etc. etc. This was what the media had taught us. What many of those who were ignorant of the truth who came before us who too were blinded by these lies, have also passed on this fairy tale world to the generation that came after them. I honestly thought we were going to live in this huge house, given that they are 6 of us in my family. I honestly thought that my grandparents were rich.
We pulled in at evening time and rested ourselves in my grandparents home for a few weeks. Somehow, we managed to sleep in her very small living room and compacted 6 people and slept there. Few more weeks passed and my father received a call from the company that he signed contract with. They informed him that they can no longer hire my father due to the 9/11 bombing. They informed him that certain protocols had to be obeyed and one of them was, that all Aviation company are FORBIDDEN to hire any non-U.S. citizen employees. Be aware that the contract has already been signed. But that didn’t matter. An attack was executed, and the United States must protect its citizens.
The Aviation that employed my father was gracious enough to still grant my father his H1-B visa [work visa] and us his dependents H-4 visa for 3 years. It was the best that they could do. With this, there were no longer petition for us to get our green cards. This was IT. We had to figure things out on our own. We had two choices, 1) We stay here and figure a way out to still get our green cards process. 2) We go back. H-4 visa is a dependent visa. It only grants the holder to attend public schools and they aren’t allowed to work nor drive. So it was only my father who could work. We decided to stay obviously, for we have no where to return to given that we have sold everything that we own in the Philippines except our house. From this point on, with the little knowledge we have in America and specially in Immigration and with so very little money, we tried our best to inquire and hire lawyers to fix our situation. Not one of them could fix it for one major reason, that we couldn’t afford the fee to even start processing our paper works. The other who were kind enough to look into it, have all told us, that our case is very “rare”. But to continue on, we must pay the fee.
Three years have passed, 2004. Our visas are now expired. We became officially to what others call “
I prefer Undocumented Immigrants. For the 12 years my family and I have lived in people’s houses. My grandmother kicked us out of her home after a year living there. My father managed to contact an old friend of his and they took us in for 6 months. After that, another house, a friend, my Uncle, another friend. Me and my brothers have probably slept in 5 different house garages. We managed to get an apartment for a year in San Diego and so that was a bit of a progress. My father took two jobs and we went to school. Still undocumented. In late 2004, my mother got a hold of her best friend that she went to school with in the Philippines who owned a home care facility in Simi Valley, CA. She offered my mother a job as a caregiver and gave us a room to stay in their home. So we traveled North to Ventura County, CA.
2007, my parents divorced. Turned out that my father has been involved with other women ever since we were in the Philippines. I found out later that year that we have a half-brother who was 7 years old that he named after him, who’s living in the Philippines. If you have been paying attention to the time frame, we left in 2001, and in 2007 our half-brother had turned 7 years old, given then that he was born the year we departed the Philippines. I also found a footage of him having intercourse with another women in America.
Until this day, I have not forgiven my father for what he had done. My mother have, and she have informed me that I should forgive him also. I’ve tried, a handful of times. I just can’t find it in my heart to do so at the moment. He left us during our worst years as an undocumented immigrants in America. I don’t like to talk about him much for it gets me frustrated and angry, for out of all my brothers I was affected the most. I used to look up to the man. Growing up in the Philippines, if your parents are fortunate enough, they would acquire work overseas. The only downfall of that is, they wouldn’t be able to be there for their children to mentor and raise. This was the case for us. To many in the third world country. My father worked overseas as an Aircraft Mechanic, and my mother as a District Nurse who traveled the Philippines. Me and my brothers were watched over by our nanny’s and family relatives. My siblings and I had to figure things out on our own. Not one of us have the same view in life, to the least a few similarities but rarely the same perspectives. We all had to learn how to be a Man on our ways without a father figure to mentor us and have dealt with our situation in America on our own individual ways. My father was a Martial Artist and I was the one that he would always bring to his tournaments. He held several ranks in different styles including Judo, Jujutsu, Kyokushinkai, Sikaran, Eskrima/Arnis/Kali, Aikido, and Taekwondo. He was also well versed in Sports and competed in Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Table Tennis, Fencing and Bowling. He would bowl with both hands. To top that, he was an Eagle Scout.
In 2013, my older brother and I were granted Deferred Action. For two years, we are protected from being deported and have been given two years of work permit [renewable] to work things out in the United States. People say we are “good” now but technically we are still undocumented. The papers we hold does not provide lawful status in the USA. My little brother was denied, unfortunately. We lacked one year of evidence that they required and so they did not grant his approval. I didn’t submit an application for my sister, for the requirements that they need as proof of evidence she highly lacked. So me and our lawyer have decided that we will just waste money if we do submit her application given that it is inevitable for denial.
Many of you have questioned our move to Maryland from Simi Valley, CA. Why drive across the country ? Why move out of California and go to Maryland?? “It’s normally the other way around.” Well, I will answer the questions now. For a handful of years, my mother found an employer who was generous enough to take her in and allowed her to rent two rooms at the facility that she worked in where we stayed. On July 1, 2014, they have decided that they had enough. I won’t go into details on that part for the sake of the other party but they have asked us to move out by the end of July, like a snap of a finger. Rent in California is expensive, and with the income that we were making, we just couldn’t afford getting an apartment with two bedrooms. Renting a room was also not an option for there are numbers of us. So I called my Aunt in Maryland and informed her about the situation and told her that we have no roof to stay in after July 31st. She agreed to shelter us and thus the packing and cross country road trip begun.
I’ve decided to share this story of mines that I have kept to myself from the public and friends for a long time because I have been tired of hiding. There were so many times that I wanted to just leave! and go back to the Philippines. Almost every year. There’s a handful who are aware of our situations, those who earned my trust. I don’t need sympathy from people nor do I complain. How could I? There are far more worst situations that are occurring around the world FAR MORE WORST, not even a scratch to what my family are going through. Although I will not take away the fact that it has been very difficult. Many times I have almost given up, to the point that one time I was so angry to the situation we are in, and that I couldn’t do a single thing about it; that I ripped a small poster size of Jesus Christ in my room that my mother had put. My anger, stress, and everything truly reached that boiling point that day……..
I am still here, because I want to be better. I want to be able to raise my family from this situation and provide for them. I want to make something out of my remaining life here on Earth. I write, not for the sake of just a hobby. I write, because I believe that penmanship may have a way for me to acquire a green card that will eventually become a U.S. citizenship. Us DACA recipients aren’t allowed to join the military or can access to grants or student loans from the government. Even with this given fact, I still went to the recruiting center and inquired to join the military and also inquired to attend college. For two years starting 2010, I was conditioning myself to join the SEAL even the fact, that legally I cannot join. I wanted to just leave everything behind and provide for my family. But I can’t. Even now, I can’t simply pursue my dreams and goals for I am the only one here in Maryland with my family who can work legally and drive. My older brother have decided to stay in California to start his school there.
It makes one question, what is an American ? and to quote Jose Antonio Vargas uncles words
"Define American ? How would you define American? define not by vocabulary meaning but what I mean is, whom is really the Americans? I would say they are supposed to be the people who are willing, who came here and willing to contribute and do good for this country. Not because they were just born here in this place. That’s how I define an American.”
I was born and raised in the Philippines and grew up there for 14 years. But I matured here in America. America has become my second home, I have lived half of my 27 years of age here. I strive to reach the Master Penmen level not for the name or title. But because I see it as a way for me to tell America, “Here I am, I am an undocumented immigrant who is practicing YOUR ART, American Western Penmanship. An art that was highly regarded during the golden age. A lost history of America. Let me write for you, for the people.” I am working to reach the IAMPETH Master Penmen title to challenge my self and someday work in the White House as their calligrapher. Perhaps then, they will recognize me and millions of others like me who truly are just working to provide a better life for their family and their selves.
My name is Jacob Ira Azurin Vijandre, and I am a Penman.
Welcome to my blog.