It's my Mamba Year! As my uncle remarked, "It's all downhill after 21." And honestly, not to be dramatic, but I feel that so hard. Right now I'm in this very odd period of my life in which I feel millennia older than all of my friends still in college, but millennia younger than all of my colleagues in the workplace. So now I have all of these questions about adulting, like what is the average price of a laundry basket? How long are you supposed to cook potatoes for? Why are mattresses so expensive? Don't they all do the same thing? And most importantly, how the heck do you fold a fitted sheet?
I've had a great time this year, and one of the reasons I blog is to keep track of all of my memories, so I wanted to share some of my favorites (+ some pictures I never got to post!):
24 moments from 24
1. Ringing in the new year in Taiwan
with Conrad, Sandra, and Sam, and seeing fireworks from Taipei 101. It was a week of city-hopping, night market-scouting, soup dumpling-eating, and family reunion-crashing, and it was a wonderful start to 2017. It was also very strange being worlds away from my own family on yet another holiday.
2. Wandering around temples in Thailand
for a cool 48 hours with two random guys I met at my hostel—Lazslo from Hungary and Mitch from Vienna. One of my most prominent memories from this trip was sipping a cocktail on a rooftop bar and watching the boats sail through the sunset on the Chao Phraya river.
3. Collaborating with one of my favorite travel bloggers, Jinna from Project Inspo,
on a post about working holiday visas. This was a dream come true. I got to work with someone I've followed forever. She's so well-traveled and lives such an idyllic life; it was amazing to get her perspective on traveling and her opinion on the things I wanted to write about traveling.
4. having my heart broken in cambodia;
I saw the aftermath of the horrors of the prison Tuol Sleng firsthand and learned about the genocide that nearly destroyed an entire generation, but this was my favorite solo trip of Southeast Asia. I visited ten months ago, but I still think about this trip all the time, especially as our own political climate worsens. I was shocked by how open the Cambodian people were about the genocide, as it was a deeply shameful time in their history, but I loved their willingness to confront their demons, their sense of collective responsibility, and commitment to building a better state.
I also got to visit some of the most exquisite temples I've ever seen in my life. The stonework at Angkor Wat, still relatively intact after so many years, was absolutely gorgeous and intricate and majestic and everything I've ever dreamed of in a temple. My favorite one was Angkor Thom, a temple overtaken by massive tree roots and crumbling into a beautiful mess of ruins.
5. Celebrating my first real Chinese New Year in Asia
with a lion dance in our office, new knowledge of Lunar New Year traditions, and plenty of lo hei.
6. Sitting on the deck at the fairway overlooking Marina Bay
with two days left until I returned to the States, gazing at the lights of the Singaporean skyline. An especially bittersweet moment knowing that I wouldn't be coming back for quite a while. I loved my time in Singapore, but it's so tiny that it's difficult to visit. But this was truly a hallmark moment, the end of a really spectacular chapter of my life. I miss it a lot.
7. Finally coming home after six months abroad
and hugging my family! And seeing the cutest ever "Welcome Home" banner in the history of welcome home banners.
8. taking a mini-vacation in Chicago + New York
in which I learned that 20°F weather is actually tolerable (unless it's windy), that I love deep-dish pizza when it's done right, and that exactly zero things have changed about me and my high school friends since high school.
9. Discovering a new side of San Diego
and almost dying thanks to a very steep hike and ridiculously hot and dry weather (thanks, Chianna). The waterfall was very pretty, though.
10. Seeing Tchami in dtla
for what I think was the fourth(?) time live. He was amazing. Spiritual, even.
11. Playing tourist in Venice Beach
and walking along the very picturesque canals, and eating the best KBBQ I've ever had in my entire life in DTLA with my frat family. I guess I'd never had really high-quality KBBQ untl then, because this one changed my life. We still reminisce about thi meal sometimes.
12. Driving up the stunning highway 101 to Santa Barbara
for the millionth time, one of which was to see RL Grime...twice.
13. Surprising Conrad at his birthday party in sf,
14. Continuing our annual tradition of going to the Del Mar Fair
with three of my best friends! We ate a lot of fried food, I introduced Lianne to the magic that is smoked turkey legs, we watched the micro-pig races, and Josh and I attempted to beat our flip record on Magnum (we did not succeed, as our record is four).
15. WINNING TRIVIA at johnny v's
A little context: I've always loved trivia (it's how I met one of my very good friends, Melissa). But what I didn't know was that Rekha has also always loved trivia. So right before I moved, Rekha and I started going to trivia every week at different bars and pubs in San Diego. The first time we went, we listened to '80s music in the Uber and so our team name became Wham!. But the last time we went, we were the youngest ones in the bar (as usual) and dressed in full clubbing attire since we were seeing NGHTMRE downtown afterward, and everyone was judging us. But we won, by leading the session and then betting half our points on the last question ("What comedy series has been nominated for a primetime Emmy award every year since 2010?" Answer: Modern Family) which was alarmingly satisfying. We did end up going to Omnia after, but honestly after scoring 93 points with a two-person team, I didn't even care what happened for the rest of the night. It was one of the highlights of my life. I wish I could say I was joking.
16. Seeing the Manhattan skyline
from the taxi as I drove from the airport to my new home, signing the lease on my very first apartment, feeling like I was finally home, and hosting our first official G5 Summit housewarming party!
17. Participating in Creative Strategy Bootcamp + Griffin Farley's Beautiful Minds,
running around the city shooting, writing, creating, letting our imaginations run wild. I'm always in awe of what you can do in New York with an unlimited Metrocard. I got to meet so many smart and talented people in these two programs; it was truly a great experience.
18. Celebrating Madwell's 7th birthday party with the insights x experience team,
with a bounce house, remote-controlled shark balloons, custom pogs with our faces on them, a taco bar, a candy bar, and an open bar.
19. Taking a mini-trip to Philadelphia with PMO and Chianna!
Chianna flew into New York to hang out with us, and we all took a Megabus up to Philadephia for Labor Day Weekend.
It was such a cute little city; I think three days was the perfect amount of time. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, went to a really fun gay dance club, saw City Hall, ate some really amazing pasta/gnocchi, and visited the US Mint (Chianna's idea).
20. Eating charcuterie and drinking at a wine bar in Montmatre
with my new French friends, thanks to Airbnb x VICE. Everything about Paris was amazing: the food, the architecture, the museums, the pastries (oh my god, the pastries). But this was honestly one of the most surreal experiences of my life, because how does this just happen to people?!
21. Standing on top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh
and feeling as if I were on top of the world. This was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in my entire life, and I took a million and one pictures (more coming soon in a full UK travel blog!).
22. Spending my first thanksgiving in New York
running around Central Park, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, and Greenwich Village with Conrad and his cousin. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my entire life; my face literally hurt from smiling that day.
23. Joining a bunch of groups for women
like Girls' Night In (for introverts and fuzzy blanket lovers) and Ladies Get Paid (for professional, badass women) and starting a book club with my friend Vania. I've never felt so empowered or supported in my life. I highly recommend these to everyone (GNI has movie nights and book clubs in different cities, and LGP has an awesome Slack group). This year was a year for women, and being a part of a community in a big city is such a nice thing. It's great to have so many resources, to find things to do, and to meet new people!
24. spending my 24th birthday in Boston
with Britt and her friend Nicole, being lazy and watching Christmas movies, drinking hot chocolate, and frolicking around in the freezing cold.
All in all, a pretty damn good year. I may be getting old and decrepit, but nevertheless I'm excited for what's to come.
writer/creator. problem-solver. curious cat.