I awoke on Sunday morning several days ago to a few exclamatory texts wishing me a “Happy Chinese New Year!” Because our home was quiet, it had felt like any other lazy Sunday morning. But after seeing those texts, I immediately thought about all the celebrations that must be happening on the other side of the world. I remembered how fun it was being part of those festivities, and my groggy eyes darted to the little pinwheel sitting on my shelf. Even though it’s been two years since I hand-carried this fragile souvenir back home, I still recall the satisfaction and happiness when the pinwheel spun for the first time in my hands.
The 4 Chinese characters translate to having your heart’s desires become a reality. I want to say that my heart’s desires from 2 years ago have been fully fulfilled (I was a 5th year college student. I most likely just wanted to soak in all the opportunities abroad and to make some money at my first job. Check and check). However, fast forward two years, and my heart’s desires have certainly evolved. It’s exciting to know that in the future, we will probably want something that we haven’t even yet thought about in the present day. (Makes sense, right?)
I recall a quote by Randy Pausch in his Last Lecture. He said,
“Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress.”
But I think the sweet twist to that quote is when we surprise and impress our own selves.
Like many of my peers, I don’t know exactly what I want, but if the rough draft version of my heart’s desire does become a reality, then I would be celebrating these Chinese New Year festivities in the middle of all the action a couple zodiac signs from now. The idea is bold, a bit crazy, and “dramatic” as a friend has called it. But maybe this not-so-fleeting thought just has the right amount of excitement and risk (with a hefty splash of scary) to it, because I somehow can’t shake it.
Who knows what the future will bring — but moreover, who knows what we will bring to the future? Happy Year of the Serpent, and “Xin Xiang Shi Chung” to all. =)
Polaroid camera + DSLR = a very happy snappy day indeed. =D
On the last Sunday of every month, Photobooth in the Mission District holds free photo walks. The retro Polaroid cameras are free to borrow — you just pay for the film. At $15 for 10 exposures, my cousins and I carefully planned what pictures to take. This sense of caution and heightened care in framing each shot was reminiscent of yesteryear’s film cameras.
Perhaps it was the extra cost of each shot, or the extra minute involved before the image developed (snap the pic, pull out the film from the side, wait, peel the photo from its backing), but the anticipation in seeing how each photo turned out was much more exciting than seeing the instantaneous image on digital cameras. That said, will I be transitioning to film photography any time soon? Nah….I’m still a very loyal fan to my Nikon d90! =)
Backyard Adventure @ Tennessee Beach, Marin Headlands
Even though I’ve lived here all my life, there are so many unexplored places in the Bay Area. On this sunny day, Kimmy and I enjoyed a great day at the beach in Marin. The weather was no where near swimsuit status, but we had so much fun hiking, yoga posing — and even whale watching (see the top right picture…that little spot is a whale breaching)!
With the dawn of the new year comes new plans and wishes for the next 364 days. Regardless of our resolutions, I hope we learn to love life — and those who are in our lives — a little bit more this year.
I am a little bit embarrassed to reveal that as a SF native, this was the first year I rang in the new year at the Embarcadero. Nevertheless, the night was clear and crisp — perfect for watching the fireworks at the ferry building!
Climbing the Hill (who said anything about getting OVER it??)
I wanted my birthday tradition to be a day free from going to work, but because of my wanderlust, my PTO days were extremely low. My half day at work turned out to be a great time =D I received a surprise delivery of a dozen delicious cupcakes — I became extra popular that day when I shared the treats. My senior bought me a giant bee balloon, and the team decorated a “BEE-day” sign for me. It hung from the ceiling atop my desk as a giant announcement. I guess the sign was so large that the head of administration noticed it and said I had to take it down (good thing this was the next day) because it was against building regulations. Sad! Haha
As I have done for the past several Wednesday afternoons, I went in to tutor that day. My tutee remembered it was my birthday, and also got me a cupcake!
Come lunch time, Kimmy and Kelley booked an extra long lunch break so that they could go on a lunch adventure with me. We went on a bit of a walk in order to get in on my favorite corned beef sandwiches!
Teacher Cheri was already on her 3 week winter vacation at this point (I am not jealous at all. Nope. Not. One. Bit…), so she spent the rest of the day with me watching Monsters Inc 3D (we surely act our age) and romping around the city wearing her reindeer antlers while I donned a Santa hat (again, we surely act our age).
My family and I also had a little birthday photo shoot at City Hall. The giant tree was glittered in gold and white. Upon a closer look, the white decorations were actually folded paper cranes!
Ktom joined us all for dinner, and it was a fun, relaxing night!
As my vacation came to a close, I was very happy (and relieved) that this city was just as awesome as I remembered it to be. Romanticized memories can surely alter perceptions; thank goodness that was not the case! I had a great week enjoying the city scenery, eating good food, and taking time for some photography. But overall, the best part of the trip hands down was seeing my local friends again. These girls had such packed schedules filled with impending final examinations or unforgiving work schedules, yet they penciled me in whenever possible.
It’s kind of funny to think about — the time I’ve been away is over 3x as long as the time I had spent with them in Hong Kong. But I guess neither time nor distance (nor language barriers!) puts any damper on these friendships. Thank you for welcoming me back, for bringing me to eat at tasty restaurants, for showing me new corners of your city, and for being an important piece of my life. =)
There was no turkey on the table this year, and there was no football playing on the TV in the background, but I was just as thankful for my all my blessings. Of course, one of the obvious things I was thankful for was being able to visit Hong Kong again with my family.
This year, instead of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, we had hot pot. My dad invited all his HK friends, and I even convinced my shy local friend to join us. Thanks for coming out, 9jai!