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S1E15 - Introvert Moves Across Country w/ Leah Guillama (Part 1)

Episode Description:

In this episode, I am joined by my sister-in-law, Leah Guillama. She’s a fellow introvert like myself and that’s actually what bonded us together. Leah decided to leave all things safe, comfortable, and familiar for a new life all the way across the country to Virginia. We talk about her reasons for leaving, the pros and cons of living in a completely new environment, and how it’s been so far. I feel like a lot of introverts will resonate with the experiences that Leah goes through and the different tangents we go off on. Have you moved across the country or even farther? How was that experience? Please let me know on social media. I’d love to hear your stories.


Some parts of the transcript may be edited for better readability, but the content remains the same. Mostly removed duplicate words, vocal filler words, and added/removed some words for clarification.


Hey, everyone! This is Meliza, and I'm the Talkative Introvert. In today's episode, I am joined by my sister-in-law. She's rare just like me because she too is an introvert in a very much extroverted family. That's honestly what really caught my attention after being introduced to my husband's family, like getting to know them. We're just really two very introverted Filipinos, which in my experience, is pretty damn rare. So anyways, in this episode, we're going to talk about her experience with leaving California and moving across country to Virginia. And honestly, when she did that, I remember thinking, how crazy she is for leaving everything she knows, behind to do that. Leaving behind her friends, her family, her job, to move across country. But at the same time, I thought it was also pretty brave of her to do, which I don't think I ever told her that. But now she's going to hear this. So now you know, proud of you, Louie for surviving that. I'm not good at complimenting people. To be honest, it's a work in progress. I'm working on that. I can be pretty blunt sometimes. And sometimes people think I'm mean, but I'm not trying to be mean. I think I'm just a little too honest with people. I don't know what the deal is. Alright, so let's get into episode and I hope you guys enjoy it. Okay, are you ready? Do you have any questions before we start?

Leah 01:44

I don't think so.

Meliza Manalo 01:46

Okay how do you say your last name? 'Gui-Yama'?' Gee-Yama'?

Leah 01:50

Yeah Gee-Yama.

Meliza Manalo 01:52

Gee-Yama. Okay, man. Gee-Ya-ma.

Leah 01:57

You never took Spanish?

Meliza Manalo 02:03

Yeah, I did take Easy Spanish, but I don't remember that thing.

Leah 02:09

Actually, there are a lot of Hispanic people who speak Spanish and can't pronounce it properly. I'm like, what is wrong with you?

Meliza Manalo 02:16

Because it looks like 'Gui-yama'. Yeah, but it's 'Gee-yama'.

Leah 02:20

We get that a lot actually.

Meliza Manalo 02:23

That 'UI' messes me up.

Leah 02:25


Meliza Manalo 02:27

Okay, ready?

Leah 02:28


Meliza Manalo 02:31

Okay. Joining me today is, oh dammit. I was gonna say Gui-Yama. Hold on. (Laughter) Hold on. That always messes me up. Okay That always messes me up. Okay. Joining me today is Leah Guillama. She is my sister-in-law and also former roommate. Hi, Leah.

Leah 02:50

Hello! What's up?

Meliza Manalo 02:52

Thanks for joining. I'm so excited.

Leah 02:55

Thanks for having me.

Meliza Manalo 02:55

Yeah, I'm so excited to have you on here. Unlike the rest of our family, Leah is an introvert like myself.

Leah 03:05

We're a rare, rare breed in our family.

Meliza Manalo 03:08

We're very rare. People don't get us in our family.

Leah 03:13

No. (Laughter)

Meliza Manalo 03:15

I don't want to say we're the black sheep, but we're like the oddball, if you will.

Leah 03:22

Yeah, definitely.

Meliza Manalo 03:24

Yeah. I also call Leah, Louie. So, I might use both words or both names.

Leah 03:33

It's actually kind of weird hearing you call me Leah.

Meliza Manalo 03:35

Yeah, because I don't ever call you Leah. I always say Louie. That's how it was with a Casey's episode,

Leah 03:41


Meliza Manalo 03:41

Because she's 'Katrina'. But she goes by Casey. And same with me.

Leah 03:47

Yeah, Filipinos and their nicknames.

Meliza Manalo 03:49

Yeah, seriously. It's very confusing. Like Mikie.

Leah 03:55


Meliza Manalo 03:56

So Mikie is my brother, but his real name is Eugene. So, it doesn't make any sense. Neither does lot of...

Leah 04:05

Like Dotan.

Meliza Manalo 04:05

Yeah, Dotan too. But his real name is Jonathan. I mean, it's kind of similar. Dotan, Jonathan.

Leah 04:13

I don't know.

Meliza Manalo 04:14

I don't know. They like asianified it.

Leah 04:16

Yeah, no one even knows where it came from. I keep asking his mom and she's like, "I don't know."

Meliza Manalo 04:22

That's a good point. Well, a lot of nicknames, I feel like people don't know. Because, for example, John, his nickname was Boya. So, I mean like what is that? Where does that even come from? It has nothing to do with John. John is one syllable. It's so much easier to say than Boya.

Leah 04:41

Nickname is longer than the real name.

Meliza Manalo 04:45

I don't know. Nicknames are weird. I think they like just randomly give you a nickname. Like the adults give it.

Leah 04:53

It is good though when you have a nickname.

Meliza Manalo 04:55

Yeah, it does. It's very homey.

Leah 04:58


Meliza Manalo 05:00

I go by 'Meliza' in the podcast because that's just my real name. But it's weird when people say Meliza. It's so formal.

Leah 05:10

I haven't called you that in a very long time.

Meliza Manalo 05:12

Yeah. I think the only reason why you did was because of school. We went to school together. No that's not true. People at school called me Mia. But only my close friends did. No one else did. Anyways back to Louie. So yeah, you're my sister-in-law, you're my husband's sister. But I do consider you also one of my closest friends. Especially because of the whole introvert thing. I actually found another fellow Filipino, that's like me.

Leah 05:52

Yeah. Hard to come by.

Meliza Manalo 05:54

Yeah, we got that special bond. Like, oh my god, you get me, kind of a situation.

Leah 06:01

I'm pretty sure that we bonded over anyway in the first place.

Meliza Manalo 06:04

I think so. Yeah. I don't like stuff that is overstimulating, which is like every single party.

Leah 06:17

We're always hiding in a corner together somewhere or something.

Meliza Manalo 06:20

Yeah. And then, we always leave at the same time.

Leah 06:26

Mm hmm. That was nice about being roommates.

Meliza Manalo 06:30

Yeah. Because then we just go home. It was nice because we would ride together, right?

Leah 06:40

Mm hmm. Sometimes.

Meliza Manalo 06:42

Yeah, sometimes. And then I think Casey or whatever would drive separately. Like we would drive separately with everybody.

Leah 06:49

Because we already know we're going to get tired and want to go home.

Meliza Manalo 06:52

Exactly. So, that was always really nice. And I totally felt for Casey being the only extrovert in our house.

Leah 07:00

Yeah. That's a poor thing.

Meliza Manalo 07:03

I know. Oh, if you guys don't know, Casey, aka Katrina, her episode is Episode 11. We talk about our roommate situation. And God, she was just like an Energizer Bunny and always wanted to hang out and poor Casey.

Leah 07:20

And I worked with her.

Meliza Manalo 07:22

Oh, yeah. So, you guys saw each other almost 24x7.

Leah 07:25

Yeah. Which was awesome. I loved it. I actually really miss working with her sometimes. I honestly never got tired of her energy and being around. Because the one thing that I do like about extroverts is, they kind of take all the attention off of me. And they do most of the work, the socializing.

Meliza Manalo 07:46


Leah 07:46

So, when it's me and Casey at work or something, if I get tired of talking to people or something like that, usually they just walk to Casey. She kind of takes over.

Meliza Manalo 07:58

Yeah, I never really thought about that. Yeah. Because sometimes, with Bailey, I'll just sit there, and she'll be talking to someone. And I'll just listen. Like sometimes it's nice to listen.

Leah 08:09

Oh, yeah. I love that sometimes. Most of the times.

Meliza Manalo 08:14

Yeah. Because it's really interesting. Like, that's kind of another trait, right? Like, introverts are very observant, but I like that. Like, I like people watching and listening to conversations.

Leah 08:26

For sure.

Meliza Manalo 08:27

Yeah. Because even though I don't really gossip. No, that's a lie. I do.

Leah 08:33

Anyone who says that they don't gossip is a liar.

Meliza Manalo 08:37

But I like listening to it, listening to the gossip. We have a lot of that in our family.

Leah 08:43

And that's the Filipino in us. Like, we have to listen to the gossip. We want to know everything, but we don't really always want to actually be talking about it.

Meliza Manalo 08:54

Yeah. Exactly.

Leah 08:55

We just want to know it all.

Meliza Manalo 08:56

Yeah. Because I don't think there's whole lot of, there's not like a whole lot of gossip, I don't think, of me and Brandon, just because we don't talk a lot.

Leah 09:07

That's true.

Meliza Manalo 09:08

And we're not also around as much. Because there's a party every weekend, but we'll go like every other month or something.

Leah 09:15

It's funny because I go to the parties probably more than you and Brandon do. Mostly because I lived with my mom at one point longer and before I moved here. But it's funny being at those parties and anytime you and Brandon come up, it's usually short and simple. It's like "Oh, it's just Brandon and Mia. That's how they are." (Laughter)

Meliza Manalo 09:38

Yeah, there's not very much to go off of, you know.

Leah 09:42

Yeah, that's crazy and then you bring up another family member and they'll talk for days.

Meliza Manalo 09:48

Yeah, exactly. Like I'm really glad it's like that though. I mean, there really isn't much to talk about us because we are homebodies, so it's not like we're doing anything crazy. And then when we have our arguments, we don't share it to the world. Everybody else does.

Leah 10:06


Meliza Manalo 10:07

So, it's like no one knows about it if we do. Anyways, so we went off topic a little bit. We haven't even gotten on topic actually. (Laughter) So, before we get to the main subject, so you did take the introvert type quiz?

Leah 10:27

I did. I got social introvert. But I think that's actually really wrong.

Meliza Manalo 10:36

Oh, really?

Leah 10:36

Yeah. Because when I read it, I was like, oh, it's not really me. And then I read the other. Because there's four types, right?

Meliza Manalo 10:43


Leah 10:44

And I read the other ones. And I feel like I'm a mixture of anxious and restrained. Those really spoke to me, I guess you could say. But...

Meliza Manalo 10:57

I feel like you're not really restrained, though.

Leah 11:01

I don't know, I can be. I think I'm really good at hiding it. I'm really good at that. Because I get people telling me all the time that they think I'm an extrovert. I'm like, "No, I'm 100% not."

Meliza Manalo 11:14

Oh really? Because you talk a lot.

Leah 11:17

I can talk a lot. But I have to be very comfortable. But then at the same time, I think because of work because I'm a receptionist. So, I'm talking to people constantly, like small talk constantly. I'm seeing so many different people every day. Because we get 40 something appointments in one day at my salon. So, I'm seeing all these people coming in and out and it's just constant. So, I think that's what makes people think that I'm an extrovert because I can handle that really well. But it's only because I have to. I get paid to do it. So, I have to do it.

Meliza Manalo 11:59

I get that. It's like years of working in customer service kind of makes you that way.

Leah 12:03

Yeah. Because before I ever had a job, I was very much like that. Just super shy, did not know how to talk to anyone at all. I was painfully shy. But having a job kind of forces you to learn how to deal with it. But then the second I come home I don't want to talk. Like Fabian, he gets on me all the time. Because he'll ask me to call a restaurant or something. I'm like, "No, I don't want to do it."

Meliza Manalo 12:34

Oh my god.

Leah 12:35

Yeah. But my job is a receptionist, I'm constantly talking to people on the phone. But the second I'm not at work, I'm like I don't want to do it.

Meliza Manalo 12:44

That's how Brandon is. He doesn't like calling in the order for restaurants. He doesn't like to be the one that opens the door. When we get a delivery.

Leah 12:54

Never. I never open the door. I always make him do it.

Meliza Manalo 13:00

Oh my God.

Leah 13:00

I think it's the worst anxiety when I think about opening the front door. And when he's not home, I literally just let people knock forever and pretend I'm not home.

Meliza Manalo 13:12

Yeah, our DoorDash, I mean, thank God for this quarantine sometimes. I know it's not ideal, but...

Leah 13:21

I understand.

Meliza Manalo 13:22

So, for DoorDash now, you could put it in the comments, 'Leave that door', and then 'Don't knock'. So, ours is like, 'Don't knock and text me when it's at the door.'

Leah 13:33

Exactly what mine is said too.

Meliza Manalo 13:37

Which is like really nice.

Leah 13:42

You'll get a big tip from me if I have zero interaction with you.

Meliza Manalo 13:46

Yeah, it's funny because my desk is in the kitchen so I can see when the person comes in. So, I'll just watch that. And just watching them drop it off and then walk away into their car and then I'll go to the door.

Leah 13:59

Oh, that's me. We're such creepers.

Meliza Manalo 14:05

Yeah, because I have it slightly open, but not open enough that you can see the inside. You know the one. I tested it just to make sure. Just like this person staring at you. (Laughter) Okay, so you said you're restrained and then anxious. So why anxious?

Leah 14:26

Ah, hold on, I have to reread like, what it means. I remember looking at it, but I don't remember exactly what they mean. Oh, just because I am very self-conscious. Like, I am awkward with social interaction because I'm self-conscious about the way I speak. And especially with people that I don't really know very well. That's what makes my job so hard sometimes. Because it's hard for me to talk to people I don't know. And I automatically feel like I'm going to say something wrong or stumble over my words and whatnot, which I feel like I do all the time. So, I think that's where I get the anxious part out of it.

Meliza Manalo 15:10

That's interesting. Because I think you speak pretty well and pretty eloquently, unlike me. Which is weird because I have a podcast. But like I...

Leah 15:23

I know.

Meliza Manalo 15:25

Oh, man, my first few episodes, I edited it a lot. Because I was like, God, why do I sound like that? I sound so stupid.

Leah 15:32

Oh, man. You're so brave, honestly, for starting this. Because I would be the same way. And I have a hard time just listening to myself.

Meliza Manalo 15:42

Mm hmm. That is the hardest thing, I think.

Leah 15:45

Yeah. And you have to do it. Because it's your podcast. You have to edit it.

Meliza Manalo 15:50

Yeah, exactly.

Leah 15:52

And I don't have to listen to this episode probably. (Laughter)

Meliza Manalo 15:57

That's true.

Leah 15:58

I probably will. It will be painful.

Meliza Manalo 15:59

Yeah, that was the hardest part. Because, man, if you can hear the voice in my head, it's so beautiful.

Leah 16:08

Right? Mine is definitely deeper in my head.

Meliza Manalo 16:13

Yeah, mine is way deeper. So, do you think I have a high-pitched voice?

Leah 16:18

I really don't think it's that high pitched.

Meliza Manalo 16:20

Yeah. I mean not like you. No offence. (Laughter)

Leah 16:28


Meliza Manalo 16:30


Leah 16:31

No, it's alright. I already know.

Meliza Manalo 16:33

Well, like in my head, I have this very nice, I don't know, deep, like Lana Del Rey type voice, you know, like that deep. But then when I hear it myself, it's higher pitch and raspy. Which is the complete opposite. Oh, man.

Leah 16:56

Yeah, it's funny how that works. But I'm the same way. I hear my voice on recordings, I'm like, man, how are people not annoyed by me 24x7?

Meliza Manalo 17:07

It's not that high, though. I'm sure like recordings probably, I don't know how true it is to the actual voice. But, I mean, I've got a new mic. And I think it's supposed to be pretty accurate.

Leah 17:24

It does sound really good.

Meliza Manalo 17:26

Thanks. Yeah. I know. I treated myself. I was like, Well, if I'm going to do this podcast...

Leah 17:33

It's worth it.

Meliza Manalo 17:33

Yeah. Thanks. Because my gaming headset, that sounded atrocious. Like it was just...

Leah 17:40

It didn't until I heard the new mic.

Meliza Manalo 17:43

Yeah. Because I thought it was fine. I was like, oh, this is fine. It sounds fine. And then I did a comparison because I always listen to the last one before I do the new one. And I was like, holy crap. Why did I listen to this? Or anyone listen to this? But yeah. Okay, so you think you're restrained anxious, but you got social. So why don't you think it's social?

Leah 18:08

I'll have to look at the social one again.

Meliza Manalo 18:09

That's the one where you like mostly say no to parties. I mean, it's called social, but it should really be like anti-social.

Leah 18:18

Yeah. See, that's the thing. Because I think maybe in the past, I was more of a social introvert. But I think being away from home has made that a little different. Because I noticed that every time I go back to California, I crave those big family parties. I know it's a family party so I'm more comfortable being around everyone in those parties. But sometimes I really want to be in a place where it's really busy, really crowded. And I just kind of like that atmosphere, but I don't necessarily want people talking to me or paying attention to me. It's more of just I like having a little bit of that chaos around me. But not quite directed to me. Does that make sense? Kind of yes.

Meliza Manalo 19:11

So, you like that social environment? But you don't want to do the actual socializing part.

Leah 19:16

Exactly. That sounds horrible.

Meliza Manalo 19:21

No, that makes sense, though.

Leah 19:23

That's exactly what it is. Especially when, I don't know if I've mentioned this already. But you know, Fabian is in the military, my husband. So, when he is gone, and it's just me in this house all the time, which most of the time I do love being by myself, especially when it's in my house. I love being by myself. I don't really invite people over very often. Because it's kind of hard with the dogs anyway. But there'll be days. It'll be a big stretch of time. They'll be like a couple of weeks where every day I just want to be around people. I want to go to a restaurant and eat in a restaurant or something, but at the same time I still want to be by myself. I just want that that atmosphere.

Meliza Manalo 20:08

I think mainly because we're Filipino. And we're just used to that. And that's how we grew up. Okay, so to preface what's happening, this episode, we're going to talk about Leah moving from California to Virginia. And so, right now, there's no families there. All of our family is in California. And so, what am I getting at? Oh. So, I think, what is the problem, I guess for you, in being in Virginia, away from everybody, it's just like, we grew up with just so many people around us constantly, and so much noise constantly. And every weekend as a party. And now you went from 100 to zero, when you moved across the country.

Leah 20:59

That's true. I've never really thought about it that way. But that makes so much more sense. Because I've always wondered why I feel like this now. I never felt that way. I remember living in California. Those family parties, half of the time I didn't want to go. But now that I'm here, and I don't have it. Because back in California, we have them like every weekend. So, you never run out of those parties. There's always one that's going on. You know one is going to come up, so you don't really like, it's not that you don't look forward to them. It's just...

Meliza Manalo 21:34

It's just another house, like another weekend.

Leah 21:37

Yeah. It's just kind of the same thing over and over again. But being over here, with no family, all my closest friends are still over in California, it's different. It is a lot quieter here. Not that I'd say it's lonely, because I don't feel like I really get lonely very often. Because I'm an introvert. It's hard for me to be lonely. But I'm very much alone over here.

Meliza Manalo 22:06

Mm hmm. Yeah, because even for me, even though I don't go to all the parties, now that we're quarantine then I work from home, I love it, by the way. I love working from home and I love being quarantined. But I do miss the noise, so I always have something on. I always have a podcast playing or the radio. Even the TV. I'll have the TV on, but I won't be watching I just need that constant noise I guess because I'm just so used to that.

Leah 22:21

Yeah, I am too.

Meliza Manalo 22:21

Because like when we were younger, we also lived with our family members at some point. There's been times where I went and lived with my sister or both my sister's families and there's one point where my brother's family came and moved with us. And so, we were just always with somebody and there's always no noise and...

Leah 22:22

Oh, is it? Yeah, I remember that one house where we lived with 14 people.

Meliza Manalo 23:06

Yeah, exactly. Oh God. So, we have something like that, too. But, man, that's just like having a party every day.

Leah 23:18

Oh, my God. I know. And it's nice because we're all around the same age.

Meliza Manalo 23:25

Mm hmm.

Leah 23:26

We grew up with our own generation, and there's so many of us, which is really nice. It's really cool. But it's a lot as an introvert.

Meliza Manalo 23:36

It is a lot. And then if you live in that situation, it's hard to escape. I was pretty lucky because I was the only girl. When we had that situation where our families lived in the same house for a while, I was the only girl, so they gave me my own room. And then the boys all stayed in the loft. And man, that loft, it smelled bad.

Leah 24:05

Oh, I can't even imagine.

Meliza Manalo 24:07

And it was just always a mess. And it was terrible.

Leah 24:11

Yeah, I remember that. I think in that house, in our house, we had three boys in one room? I can't remember if Brandon had his own room.

Meliza Manalo 24:22

I think Brandon had his own room. Because he was the older one.

Leah 24:26

Yeah. But then there was Patrick and Dotan in one room. But they always all spent time together in one room. Yeah, boys’ rooms get gnarly.

Meliza Manalo 24:39

Yeah. Did you, Casey and Kaylee shared room? Or was it just you and Casey in one room?

Leah 24:44

It was just me and Casey. I think Kaylee had her own room. I'm pretty sure. Yeah, it was just me and Casey. Those rooms were tiny too.

Meliza Manalo 24:54

Mm hmm. Because it used to be like a retirement home. Or a living...?

Leah 24:57

Yeah, a care home.

Meliza Manalo 24:59

Care home. Yeah. That's what it's called.

Leah 25:01

Yeah, but me and Casey, we've lived together so many times growing up.

Meliza Manalo 25:06

Mm hmm.

Leah 25:07

It's like, if you include our situation, our roommate situation, I think it's three or four times we lived together.

Meliza Manalo 25:14

Yeah. So that's probably why you're just used to her energy.

Leah 25:19

Yeah. Very true. I never really get tired of it.

Meliza Manalo 25:27

Yeah. Because I guess our equivalent is John. So, John is way over the top Energizer Bunny though.

Leah 25:37

He is.

Meliza Manalo 25:41

He's just go go go all the time. Like you think that, I don't know. He's like on meth all the time or something. (Laughter)

Leah 25:51

From what I remember, yeah, he's always been like, just going.

Meliza Manalo 25:56

Yeah, nothing stops him.

Leah 25:58

I feel jealous sometimes.

Meliza Manalo 26:03

I know. Because I get so tired, man. I guess physically tired when I hang out with people.

Leah 26:10

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Meliza Manalo 26:12

The best naps are after a party. (Laughter) I wish parties were in the morning, and then you could take an afternoon nap afterwards and then have the rest of the day to yourself.

Leah 26:30

That's ideal.

Meliza Manalo 26:31

I would totally be down with that.

Leah 26:34

Last week I had some of the best sleep of my life. Because so my salon has two locations. And I primarily work at the Ghent location. I've been there for three and a half, almost four years. And then I worked at the Hilltop location for the first time in three years. I did two days at the hilltop location last week, only two days, and it was five or six hours each day. But I was totally exhausted after those days. Just because it was a new area. I hadn't been there in so long. So, it just felt like a new job. It was a new atmosphere. Some of the stylist I didn't know as well were over there. So, my co-workers don't feel as close as like the Ghent location. And even at the get location, I know a lot of the clients from being there for so long. So, at Hilltop, everything just felt completely different. Even though it's the same job, it's the same owner, same salon, same services, it's just being around different people that you are not used to every day. And then being in a different atmosphere just made me so tired.

Meliza Manalo 27:45

Oh, I'm sure. It's kind of nice. My current job. So, I got a new job in January, but it's still the same. So, how do you explain this? So, I used to work on the vendor side.

Leah 28:03

Is it a different like contract type thing?

Meliza Manalo 28:05

No. So, okay, so I used to be on the vendor side. So, there's two sides in IT. There's the vendor side and there's the client side. So, I'm on the same project, same exact project. And I just moved over from the vendor side to the client side. So, it's a new job, but it's the exact same environment, same people, all is same. The only difference is that, instead of me doing the work, like creating the product, if you will, I am now reviewing and approving the product. But it's just a really good transition, because I already knew everybody, nothing was new. It was just on the other side. It was funny because when I came back to work, they announced leaving at my previous company. And then when I moved over and I started my first day there, my former co-worker was like, "Why are you here? How did you get in?" And I was like, "Oh, yeah, I'm on the client side now.". And they were like, "Oh, okay." They were so confused.

Continue to Part 2 to read the rest...

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