Year 2021

2021 was kind of almost like 2020, but I really believe that it was better. Fortunately, nobody in my family and circle of friends suffered at least from covid. Outside of the childcare, job, pressures, media, misinformation. Have we gotten to the bottom yet? There are hopes like an invitation to Bali, in-person writing workshops, and everything else?

There were the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

May 2022 be better. And just 2020 TOO?

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2021: Moments

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2021 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2021.

2020 5 minutes, 2019 5 minutes, 2018 5 minutes, 2017 5 minutes, 2016 5 minutes, 2015 5 minutes, 2014 5 minutes, 2013 5 minutes, 2012 5 minutes, 2011 5 minutes, and 2010 5 minutes

Sometimes I wonder if this is my favorite end-of-the-year entry…

  • January 6 insurrection right as a PSC overview was happening
  • No new year’s brunch
  • Getting my first dose of vaccine after being told that I was eligible and rushing over to SF general and all that tearful joy/happiness at that moment
  • Texting my group letting them know that I was going to be late because of the vaccine
  • Getting my second dose
  • Taking a sick day after my first dose, but realizing that I didn’t really need it
  • Taking a photo of myself getting the vaccine
  • Hearing other people getting the vaccine
  • Going to Tahoe and spending a day snowed in on my birthday
  • Eating at a restaurant (indoors!) for the first time in over a year
  • Realizing that I wasn’t afraid that Chris was going to get a headache due to a busy place anymore, sort of
  • Eating at at a restaurant outdoors and telling people that it’s our first time…eating…in a long time
  • Getting lots of fancy takeout like from Ernest, Farmhouse Thai
  • Showing proof of vaccine for the first time to an indoor thing
  • WEDDIN
  • Making the Weddin invite video
  • Making the Weddin website
  • Preparing all the little things
  • Making the Weddin book
  • Going to Sensorio
  • Staying in Paso Robles
  • Hawaii, oahu, honolulu
  • Getting my bag (and phone) almost swept away
  • Flying during this time
  • Fully masked but vaccine
  • Holiday video Tiktok version

2021: One Word

One Word. Encapsulate the year in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2020 for you?

From years past: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

The one word that captures this year:
Unstable

What can you say about a year that feels like progress from 2020, but not really. In some ways, it felt like hope. The vaccines arrived, but then so did variants. The new president was…well confirmed, but then the denial and the lies kept going. Not to even mention that the insurrection began the whole year, the shootings of Asians in Atlanta, the harassment we endured… And then some professional failings. And personal, which was only consumer loss, but it felt too personal—the car, the phone, the ebook reader. But what is it all really, if it suggests new beginnings?

Last year, I said grief, maybe because 2020 started off with my grandmother—the last of her generation in my family—gone. And then the loss of what. There was the isolation yes, but also the pleasure. When things did open up in 2021, I resisted the interaction. I didn’t want to see people, but I eventually did. And it was fine. I liked seeing people. But I also felt like I was obligated. There were ups, my own creation, and downs, the failures.

And then I had then thought this year was hope. But instead, I say unstable. How can things be good and bad? It’s all in the reframe if I decide that it’s all good or all bad. I see it as a snake winding up and down, up and down. But what if the bad is simply just little bumps that you expected anyway to the good?

Next year, maybe more optimism. Beginnings. To new beginnings.

2021: Travel

Of course, travel in 2021 became…more ok? But not really normal. But well, you know. Fortunately, I am older and don’t need to be constantly seeing new things. But…

How did you travel in 2021? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

In 2020, in the first year of the pandemic, I stayed local and only went to a few overnight destinations within a few hours of a drive—one before the pandemic (so it doesn’t count) and down to Central California. In 2019, I made a big trip to Japan and many domestic trips to Phoenix, Portland, and New York. In 2018, I traveled very domestically, mostly local for retreats in Ukiah, Scotts Valley, and Big Sur. Then San Diego for a work thing. And a trip to Squaw Valley. And a crazy long adventure through Chicago and New York. In 2017, I traveled to Minnesota for work, LA twice for “fun”, Las Vegas for a not-so-good fun, and Thailand/Myanmar! Also somehow forgot to mention Cincinnati for MidwestUX! And did I forgot to mention Phoenix? In 2016, I traveled to Finland/Sweden for my first big speaking gig, Portland for a “bachelorette” party, road trip to LA for my sister’s wedding, and Minnesota for work. In 2015, I went to Brazil for a conference, multiple work trips, and a midwest trip. In 2014, I went on multiple weekend trips, increased business trips, and found a destination for ice cream and writing. In 2013, I finished off the bulk of the travel for the Ice Cream Travel Guide. In 2012, I started the journey of a life and went to what I thought was unfathomable (in my life) — six domestic destinations and eight international destinations — for professional and personal reasons. In 2011, I went on one international trip, one domestic…and one super local. In 2010, I went on one international trip and multiple domestic trips.

In 2021, I still traveled locally. Interestingly, in contrast to my wishes last year, I didn’t feel so compelled to travel internationally. I remember there were many icebreakers about the first thing you would do post-pandemic. I answered variations from Iceland, Arizona to see my sister, and Disneyland. And guess what, I didn’t do anything of that! Partly, the urgency wasn’t high and that it just didn’t feel cost-effective. And my sister came to the Bay Area instead!

We traveled to:

  • Lake Tahoe for several days for my birthday weekend (a surprise trip from Chris)my parents’ house for a few days, a night at Joy’s place, and Paso Robles in Central California for Fourth of July week
  • and….yes….because there was a Southwest deal, we went to Oahu for a week for Chris’ milestone birthday (it was hot and uncomfortable in the airbnb, so it was more unpleasant than it should have been, plus pandemic)
  • Next year, I hope to NOT travel for work. But who knows. Maybe New York. Maybe Arizona. And I really hope somewhere for a summer writing workshop. And somewhere for a writing retreat! Soon, I hope soon. And somewhere where Chris and I can go for fun. That is actually fun. Maybe Tahoe…that is once we get a new car…

    2021: Entertainment

    Well, 2021! You would think everything was back to normal. A bit, but still not quite. And just like 2020, entertainment helped so much to pass the time, and sometimes it reminded us that things were kinda normal.

    I recounted the most impactful entertainment pieces for me in 2014. Then I did it again for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

    Movies I Saw

    Well, we still have yet to go to a theater, except that one moment that we saw Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Oracle Park. But it reminded me how hard it was hear when there’s PEOPLE. I enjoy HBO Max and Disney+.

    • Nobody
    • In the Heights
    • Godzilla vs. Kong
    • South Park: Post Covid
    • The Mitchells vs the Machines

    TV Shows I Watched

    • Industry
    • Succession
    • Hacks
    • Wandavision
    • Loki

    Books I Read

    • The Loneliest Americans
    • Earthlings
    • A Visit from the Goon Squad (yes, I know that I was several years later)
    • The Midnight Library (for the concept mostly)
    • Crying in Hmart (less on the representation, but just some resonant scenes)

    Ways to Pass the Time

    • Baking bread
    • Watching. So. Much. TV.
    • Trying to write something, but end up not being happy with it, so it just sits on my computer
    • Telling Chris to clean up
    • Work on yet another personal project, usually something related to the wedding (yes, even now)

    Technology

    • Spotify (for some reason, after nearly a year, I didn’t realize that I could listen to music without disturbing other people because nobody is around!)
    • Google Home (and now if it actually listen to my voice)
    • Pixel 6 (if it actually SHIPPED)
    • Would have been Clubhouse, but the craze died quickly, I am sad
    • Discord, but it only works if you have the right community

    2020: Moments

    Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2020 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2020.

    2019 5 minutes, 2018 5 minutes, 2017 5 minutes, 2016 5 minutes, 2015 5 minutes, 2014 5 minutes, 2013 5 minutes, 2012 5 minutes, 2011 5 minutes, and 2010 5 minutes

    • When they announced shelter in place
    • When they called it at Four Seasons Total Landscaping
    • Biden winning Arizona
    • Getting accepted to Tin House
    • Getting accepted to VONA
    • Co-leading the BIPOC community at Tin House
    • Reading at a BIPOC event at Tin House
    • Workshop at Tin House
    • Getting published at Quiet Lighting
    • Reading at Quiet Lighting
    • Reading at Novalia
    • Taking a class on Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings
    • Making sourdough bread the first time
    • Making sourdough bread and it turned out well
    • Making a dutch baby
    • Birthday zoom
    • Animal Crossing and having people on the island on birthday
    • Meeting people on animal crossing
    • Getting Animal Crossing and switch
    • First day at new job
    • Eating at cafe of new job
    • New writing group
    • going to Orr hot springs
    • Getting po po big watch
    • po po funeral and burial
    • Doing The Artist’s Way
    • Taking the shuttle to new job
    • Winning trivia night organized by Becca
    • Watching lots of TV
    • Watching Tenet
    • Seeing Chris getting Tenet from Santa
    • Getting first covid test
    • Getting second covid test
    • Getting negative results each time
    • Seeing parents for the first time in their backyard since March
    • Having dinner with parents in early March against our recommendations
    • Waiting in line for House of Prime Rib on Thanksgiving
    • Having Farmhouse Thai birthday (remote) celebration
    • Having fancy eats from San Ho Won
    • Having first take home meal from Han Il Kwan
    • Having Claws of Mantis
    • Having the basque cheesecake
    • Giving a Pecha Kucha at work research summit
    • Writing and workshopping How to Grieve essay based on my experiences in the pandemic and Po Po’s passing
    • Reading a truncated essay of that at a Minor Feelings reading

    2020: One Word

    One Word. Encapsulate the year in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2020 for you?

    From years past: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

    The one word that captures this year:
    Grief

    Maybe it’s because I am writing two prose pieces that have to do with grieving. One about how my grandmother passed away last year and its effect (and primarily its lack of effect) on me. The other to do with things I miss that will be gone and things I don’t miss. With grief in the pieces’ title, that word is so omnipresent.

    It’s ironic, though, because I typically write these entries about a word that is uplifting from resilience to understanding. But how can I really summarize this year? If the pandemic didn’t happen in the way that it did, I probably would say something like comfort or authenticity or truth, because of all the feelings that I can truly be myself since I am at home so much without worrying about what other people think of me. And yet.

    I grieve for the loss of the businesses, for the loss of art, for others’ hope and dreams dashed. And at the same time, I know that I am comforted by so many things—I am so free, but that comes out of being in a privileged place and how can I say this in the face of tragedy? How can I say that I am so glad not to have to hug when everyone else is falling apart due to no touch? How can I say that I love sleeping in my own bed when businesses, cities, countries are decimated by the lack of tourism? I am troubled because I am one person and I can’t celebrate my own happiness in face of so much despair. It feels inappropriate. And yet. There’s a ring of truth, isn’t it?

    I hear stories of people. Everyday. The struggle of not seeing a loved one. The loss of a dream business. The slow death. They tear my heart. And yet I couldn’t shed a tear for my grandmother. The internal conflict is too much. I grieve for people I don’t know, but I can’t grieve for my own.

    Or maybe the word is numbness. I am perfectly happy wearing a mask even beyond the mandatory order. I am perfectly happy seeing nobody. I am perfectly happy cooking, cleaning, etc. on my own. I isolate myself, but everything else is still…there. I am here.

    Last year I thought this year’s word would be Gratitude. It could be. But I have been cynical of it late. Is it gratitude if it’s I am grateful that my family didn’t ask me to come to Thanksgiving or I am grateful that my family respects social distancing and mask wearing? I remember earlier sharing that as a gratitude “ice breaker” during a meeting, but it felt like a downer. But I couldn’t help it.

    Well next year, another word. I am not in dire straits, so it can’t possibly be survival. But I really hope that it’s hope.

    2020: Travel

    I mean, this is the most 2020 post of my yearly reflections. But here we go!

    How did you travel in 2020? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

    In 2019, I made a big trip to Japan and many domestic trips to Phoenix, Portland, and New York. In 2018, I traveled very domestically, mostly local for retreats in Ukiah, Scotts Valley, and Big Sur. Then San Diego for a work thing. And a trip to Squaw Valley. And a crazy long adventure through Chicago and New York. In 2017, I traveled to Minnesota for work, LA twice for “fun”, Las Vegas for a not-so-good fun, and Thailand/Myanmar! Also somehow forgot to mention Cincinnati for MidwestUX! And did I forgot to mention Phoenix? In 2016, I traveled to Finland/Sweden for my first big speaking gig, Portland for a “bachelorette” party, road trip to LA for my sister’s wedding, and Minnesota for work. In 2015, I went to Brazil for a conference, multiple work trips, and a midwest trip. In 2014, I went on multiple weekend trips, increased business trips, and found a destination for ice cream and writing. In 2013, I finished off the bulk of the travel for the Ice Cream Travel Guide. In 2012, I started the journey of a life and went to what I thought was unfathomable (in my life) — six domestic destinations and eight international destinations — for professional and personal reasons. In 2011, I went on one international trip, one domestic…and one super local. In 2010, I went on one international trip and multiple domestic trips.

    In 2020, I went locally:

  • writing retreat in Scotts Valley
  • overnight in Avila Beach, because a friend broke up with his girlfriend and his reservation was nonrefundable
  • day trip to Orr Hot Springs (so yes I did predict this!)
  • day trip to Brentwood to pick fruit
  • day trips to visit my parents…like three times
  • and a few times that I cannot remember anymore in January and February to somewhere in the Bay Area
  • Literally, nowhere.

    Around this time last year, I was in the midst of getting a new job. I did get that new job which I knew would send me to New York and potentially work-related destinations like Europe or Asia. But nothing of that sort happened. Plus there was the issue of Chris’ post concussion syndrome which meant that I had been reluctant to travel without him since things are just better with him.

    Of course, the pandemic happened. Not that I had anything planned, but I hoped to visit Phoenix to see my sister (barring that issue with the BIL), visit Spain and Japan for work…and having gotten into a writing workshop, Portland. And who knows what else! Part of me is grateful for the pause, because I had begun to hate the idea of airplanes, a recent inability to sleep in a bed that’s not mine (I like my 600+ thread count sheets and my pillow and perfect temperature), and just the headache of planning. But still, the excitement of discovery which was the thing I enjoyed the most…is gone.

    When I think of next year, I think of hope of course. But where do I really want to travel? I want to travel to places with discovery. New York. Japan. I want to see my sister. The spots that I have always wanted to visit—New Zealand, Singapore, Korea. But really, I have no idea really. It’s all a matter of whether I want to do it in the first place.

    Top 10 Most Influential People of the Decade (to me): 2010s edition

    I did it then, so let’s do it again!

    I am surprised that I had put down the former manager at Method for my last list. Interestingly, I didn’t really talk to her after I left Method. Beyond a short sweet moment where she actually supported my Kickstarter and a brief attempt for consulting, I only saw her life pass me by from afar.

    So let’s see. It should be easy to name 10!

    Okay, after more than an hour, it really isn’t. Unlike my previous lists, the names couldn’t come easily. I looked through my contacts, people I talked to on Google Hangouts and Facebook messenger, email, elsewhere. I wonder if it’s because I have a more cynical view of people now unlike the optimism that I had 10 years ago. Also, like most people, I now reject the idea of celebrity and influencer culture. I don’t believe that a single person should be obsessed over. And yet, who really influenced me? Or is it just entities rather than individuals?

    10. 45
    Because you know that he doesn’t deserve a name. Before the election, I joked about him winning, thinking that I would move to another country if it happened. Of course, it did happen, but I did not move. But it made me rethink what my purpose was in work and life. Like could I really make a difference? And the type of people I wanted to surround myself with? It made me…as they say…more woke. It made me more aware of the things that I say and do that could affect others. It made me question how I wanted to treat others and how I wanted to be treated.

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