Girl Friends, Giving, and Going Home

2017 has been quite a year for everyone. As we’re looking forward to a new year, I’d like to take a look back at this one.

Year of Girl Friends

Sometimes you just get so busy with your life that you lose touch with your friends. This year, the Universe has determined that I need to be reminded that I have GREAT friends, and I should be connecting with them.

My friends Heather and Monica joined me for my usual OC Race series this year. They’re so much faster than me and I appreciate their waiting for my slow ass at the finish line. Heather also went on to run a half marathon. You go, girl!

OakMonster - OC Race Series

Me, Heather, and Monica with our OC Race Series medals

In the spring, my childhood friend Tammy came out from Thailand to visit any available friends across the US for a month. She spent about a week with me and we went on a fabulous adventure to San Luis Obispo, Hearst Castle, and Cambria before meeting up with another childhood friend Maruda in Solvang. Tammy and I have been friends since we were eggs because our moms were school friends, just like us. Maruda is one of Tammy’s BFFs and I also know her for the most of my life. I haven’t seen either of them in YEARS and yet it was just like I just saw them yesterday. We talked like we have never left school. We ate like we still have the appetite (and metabolism) of 13-year-olds. And we drank like we did in college…and that one, predictably, did not end well. LOL

Tammy, Oakley, and Maruda. Just like old times!

During the summer, I went on fabulous adventures with my BFF Christine and Amy, together AND separately. Christine and I convinced Amy to embrace her geek side and join us at WonderCon and Wild West Steam Fest. Amy and I also spent a weekend of geeky fun at Long Beach Comic Con and museum hopping. And of course, Christine and I would just go on random adventures just because. 🙂

There is no word to describe how much I adore these two fabulous women in my life.

And finally, the fall came a trip of a lifetime: New Orleans with Tamara. I was already in New Orleans for work so she came out to join me the moment I was off the clock. We bashed around the Big Easy for a few days: from the emotional visit to the World War II Museum and somber walk through one of the old cemeteries, to drinking, eating, and singing our way through the French Quarter. This is a trip neither one of us will ever forget.

In Khun Noi’s Service

This year marked the 10th anniversary of my mom’s passing. While I did not quite live up to the once-a-month Be Kind for Khun Noi kindness project goal, I’m exceedingly proud of the work we’ve done: beautification of the Long Beach Bluff with Los Cerritos Wetlands Stewards, sorting food for Grateful Hearts, worked on the farm for Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, and hosted a book drive for Operations Paperback.

In addition to the Be Kind for Khun Noi projects, with all of your generosity, I’ve raised $660 for Bracken’s Kitchen with my birthday fundraiser, ridiculously exceeded the $250 goal I set!

You Can Go Home Again

Brandon joined me on my trip home to Thailand this year for my brother Onk’s wedding…on my birthday. We stayed in Bangkok the whole time because everyone’s busy schedule, but we did get to spend a lot of quality time with family and friends, and that’s better than seeing the sights.

It’s weird to not have the physical place to call home any more. I could barely bring myself to look out of my dad’s condo balcony to the site of the old house. But there are still all the elements of “home” despite the fact that we were staying at the serviced apartment next door. I still saw my dad daily and everything else was more or less the same. My nanny/housekeeper demanded that we drop off our laundry to the condo daily–it’s the only way she could see me everyday and that is something she could do for me since we were not under her care.

On the other hand, there are many new things to be happy about, like I got me a new sister-in-law and met 2 out of 3 new nieces!

With my cousin Toni and our niece Margo.

Starting Over

With the end, there’s a new beginning, and there are many new things starting in 2017.

I’ve been taking tap lessons with the park and rec since January, and learning to punch with the heavy bag at home. I started gardening in the spring but I’m not very good at it yet. I also started playing Dungeons & Dragons with our friends. Luna Frittata, a level 4 hangry halfling assassin at your service!

I also participated in GISHWHES (The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) for the first time, which happened to be the last time since they’re not going to do this anymore apparently. I helped some friends with their tasks and reached out to people to help with other tasks. I was reminded once again that my network of friends is vast and awesome when people from around the world popped in the help.

Oh, and yes. I own a chicken tail feathers. Don’t ask.

Reading List

Continuing the tradition of listing the books I read this year, here’s my very short list. I must admit that I wasn’t feeling it about my choice of books I had lined up so I wasn’t entirely motivated to read. I ended up reading a lot of cookbooks and gardening books instead.

  • The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • To the Bright Edge of the World – Eowyn Ivy
  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  • Stardust – Neil Gaiman
  • Shanghai Girls – Lisa See
  • Feeding Hannibal – Janet Poon
  • The Broad Fork – Hugh Acheson
  • Appetites – Anthony Bourdain
  • Grow Great Grub – Gayla Trail
  • McGee & Stuckey’s Bountiful Container – by Maggie Stuckey and Rose Marie Nichols McGee
  • I Hate Fairyland – Skottie Young
  • Monstress – Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda — the most beautiful graphic novel I have ever seen!

I must state the obvious here that Brandon has been a SAINT throughout the year and all the shenanigans. I am blessed to have him as my best friend and partner.

Quite an emotional roller coasters of a year, you guys. But fun nonetheless. I’m looking forward to see what 2018 is going to be like!

1 Comment

  1. Christine Quimbo   •  

    There’s not enough ways to tell you how much I adore you and our adventures… Here’s to a bright, sparkly 2018! <3 <3 <3

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