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Monthly Memories: June – Appreciating Friends

June was a month dedicated to friendships. I spent time with friends that were from various parts and phases of my life. Most were friends from college, the years right after college, the Samba troupe and work, but I did contact childhood and high school friends as well. I got to know friends better, help friends move, make things with friends, eat with friends, go to museums and new places with friends, and thank friends.

EDUCATION

This month was a vacation from all my classes; dance, improv, and ASL. I’ve been using the Portuguese learning app on and off this month. Many weekends were really busy so sometimes I would miss the opportunity to talk to my dad but even when I do it’s sometimes difficult to switch away from English since it is so easy. With my sign language, people at work approach me and talk to me in ASL which is really great for my practice of the language. It’s heart warming when deaf clients and staff who are fluent in sign language want to talk to me because it shows that even though I’m not fluent they feel that I am fluent enough to connect with them and have a conversation. They remind me how much I don’t realize I know. With my sign language knowledge I can get to know others I would have not otherwise been able to get to know and be a part of their community instead of an unreachable outsider. So even though my class is done I can apply it practically the real world.

TV SHOWS, BOOKS, MOVIES, MUSIC, GAMES

Movies I watched this month were Divergent, Insurgent (where I was very distracted by the male lead), Captain America, and The Last Unicorn. I have watched The Last Unicorn several time before, possibly almost ten years ago, but I forgot how deep it is. There are some great quotes in that movie like “it’s a very rare person who is taken for what he truly is” and “there are no happy endings because nothing ever ends”. A lot of the movie’s dialogue act as metaphors for deeper understandings of the ego, mortality, regret, loss and the human condition. It’s beautiful, sad and refreshingly full of truth. This movie was like a poem that I felt thankful for how it unexpectedly made me think and feel so deeply.

Shows I watched were The Legend of Korra, Roots, and Bee and PuppyCat. Bee and PuppyCat blew my mind with color, quirkiness, campiness, oddness, creativity, happiness and imagination. I love this cartoon’s style and girly color theme and the details that create this strange and cute little world. I also love voice of Bee.  It is so unexpected and gravel-y. There’s a certain realness, rawness, vulnerability in her tired, lazy, humble, homey voice. If her voice was a stereotypical high pitch and soft princess voice it would make the show too typical and uninteresting. Her voice is as cute and strange as the world she lives in and is part of why the show feels so unique to me.

I also watched a couple TED Talks about language learning and how US culture and Central American culture differ in their children’s outlook of the future. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this but I watched plenty of Katy Perry and Beyonce music videos as well.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

This month I realized how important it is to exercise regularly to prevent me from having sick days. Exercising everyday helps my immune system, digestion as well as preventing menstrual cramps. I had a sick day that most likely could have been prevented if I’d kept on track.

I also remembered how sensitive I am to caffeine. I accidentally had a mocha that wasn’t decaf and I was nauseous for hours. My brain was spinning and aching and I felt so jittery. I knew it would be a push to have a decaf mocha (green tea can even make feel a little jittery at times) but to accidentally forget to decrease the caffeine brought it to the next level. Strictly teas for me and my max is green, or black on a rare and special day.

There were a couple days I hula hooped at the park and remembered to give myself structured rest for my back on the floor for 20 minutes. I love these things. Why don’t I do these things more often? I think I was spending more time with friends those weeks so my health was not as high as a priority. Everything has its wave.

WORK

At work with the groups I got to see how they volunteer to maintain the gardens at UCSF hospital, experience the Lighthouse parade for the blind, and volunteer with Mission Cultural Center. With my one on one client she had a mani/pedi, a long session with Siri to make Siri recognize her as Daenerys from Game of Thrones, several days of candidate research, and wedding present making time. It was also a month where I gave her the second most favorite gift she ever gotten in her life; a cozy pink and rainbow unicorn hat with yellow star ties. It was second only to Santa’s sleigh bell that she got for Christmas when she was 8 years old. She warned me because everyone will be sick and tired of that hat since she will most likely wear it nonstop.


It was my birthday this month, which I will go into more detail later, and on the day of my birthday I decided to not take the day off. I had already made big plans on the weekend but didn’t have anything planned on the day of my actual birthday. I luckily worked during a cooking class day that day and the class decided to have a mini celebration. They made me a fancy icecream sandwich and sang happy birthday to me. That totally beats being off from work and being home alone trying to figure out what to do with myself. It was really sweet of everyone.


FOOD ADVENTURES

This month I’ve been making breakfast sandwiches with either egg or tofu and sauerkraut, spinach, marinara sauce, nutritional yeast, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sun-dried tomatoes.

In cooking class we made veggie burgers from scratch, polenta lasagna, bruschetta and bean soup.

This month was a month of junk food. I got Funyuns and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I also ate caramel dipped pretzels. And I cannot forget the señorita bread my friend shared with me and my other friend. It literally melted in your mouth. Between the three of us we ate 25 of them. They were flaky, buttery, warm, and custardy. Perfect for three people with a sweet tooth.

A great find this month was Bread SRSLY. It’s a sourdough gluten-free bread that’s better than regular bread. It’s sticky, moist, chewy, soft on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. It is really great toasted and comes in a variety of flavors and forms. There are the loaves, sandwich rolls, and dinner rolls and some of the flavors are classic, kale, and poppy seed. The main thing is the incredible texture of this bread. It’s pretty impressive.

With that bread I got creative and bought apricots, cheese, cherries, and marinated garlic and fava beans to decorate the bread. Along with those savory and sometimes fancy Italian items I also got gnocchi. Eating fancy with the housemates is something I strive to do more often. Eating together is a warm and cozy not to mention tasty bonding experience.

The one restaurant that was the most impressionable was Hamlet. Wow. I went there for brunch and I wasn’t prepared to be as impressed as I was when all the dishes were laid out upon the table. American breakfast seems simple enough but here it was complex with color, flavor, and a subtle eclectic twist. Fried green tomato benedict with squash blossom, poached eggs, hollandaise and hash browns was so exciting and tasty. This was also true for the baked eggs puttanesca because of the capers, olives, and basil that added to the rich world of savory goodness. I am ready to go back and try the shrimp and grits and the dungeness crab scramble!

Talking about crab, I had the best crab cake melt sandwich ever at Crepevine! I recommend it to everyone! It has caramelized onions and dill aioli! It is amazing!


And I cannot forget about my tea experiences! I went to a boba tea place called iTea and tried a jasmine green boba tea but it had a really interesting tofu custard thing in it! It was smoothe, filling, and not too sweet. I really liked it because of how new it was and the texture it added. It made it feel like a healthy, protein rich desert!


SAN FRANCISCO ADVENTURES

This month was filled with color, especially because it was pride month. I went to Fort Mason on a chilly windy, day to prepare for the Pride Slide, a giant rainbow slip ‘n slide. Afterwards I had the opportunity to see the parade from the roof of fancy apartment.


I went the SFMOMA for the first time in years! It has possibly been over 6 years at least and the museum is huge! The MOMA has been under renovation for a long time and this month it finally opened. A friend who I met from a birthday party a couple months ago who lives a block away from me invited me to come with him. I really enjoyed looking at several of the photography exhibits, especially the pictures Nicholas Nixon took of his wife and her three sisters once a year for 40 years. I have seen and heard about this project before but I really took a moment to look at those women and see me and my friends in their faces, my past, my future. I really felt time passing and the developmental phases the women were going through. I wondered why they posed the way they did and what changed their attitude and the way they related to each other from year to year. I also wondered why did they stop taking the pictures after 40 years. It was very mysterious.

Other places I went to were a couple parks in the Dogpatch, a workshop craft store, El Rio, Blackbird, Hot Cookie, Toad, Stow Lake, Badlands…

…an art gallery in the mission…

…Mission Comics…

….Dog Eared Books, Needles and Pens, Rare Device, Serendipity…

and a parkour meet-up at a high school. They were all ninjas and I was a mouse hiding my granny jumps.

I also saw a guy walking a bunny along Market street.

At Stow Lake, right when I was squeezing hand sanitizer into my hand a bird pooped in my hand. It was just the start of weird coincidences. That same day I woke up dreaming of creating a poetry book and later in the park I saw a fortune cookie fortune on the ground that basically told me to write a book because I have a charming way with words. A moment later I found a flier for a psychic reader who happened to have the same name as me. This was all while helping a friend emotionally and after the phone call from a friend trying to convince me to go to med school and become a psychiatrist which I mention briefly in the People In My Life section. I liked what I was feeling that day and it seemed almost magical, like there was something in the air.


PEOPLE IN MY LIFE

I spent time with a lot of people this month, hence why the theme of the month is friendship. It helped that it was my birthday which I will go into more detail in creative projects. Some other social experiences I had this month was helping a friend move to neighborhood close to mine, discovering a friend recently moved to a house a couple blocks away from me, making brunch with my coworker friends, celebrating a friend’s birthday at Blackbird, playing Rotten Apples with my college friends, calling a friend and learning her dad has cancer, going to a coworker’s house for the first time, saying goodbye to a coworker friend who was moving back home, my mom’s birthday, my childhood friend’s birthday, my high school friend’s birthday, introducing my work friends to my samba troupe friends, going to a Chinese tea place and walking around the gourmet ghetto with my friend from college, and listening to a friend trying to convince me to become a psychiatrist because he never met a group of people as similar to me as the group of people he met during his psychiatry rotation during med school.


I also spent time getting to know a couple who went to Camp Grounded but happened to live near me. We went out to brunch, the farmers market, and observed plants that we passed by since one of them was learning about science of plants and their structures. They also taught me an amazing game called 5 second animal. It’s a game where one person is the judge and says animal while everyone else will have to draw it on a Post-It note by the time the judge is done counting to 5. The judge will then pick which drawing is their favorite and whoever gets picked wins that round. It was like improv, Pictionary, and Apples to Apples. I enjoyed how the short time frame equalizes everyone’s ability to draw and disinhibits everyone to enable them to draw. It made me have to think quick and try different strategies to prioritize like maybe I should always make sure to draw a face on it or the main characteristic or maybe I should draw only the outline of its body. The game is really creative and I love how each round it’s a surprise to see everyone produces. The drawings are so cute and funny. It made realize how easy it is to jump in and draw something and how anyone could potentially create something with only a little bit of time or hardly no time at all.

One of my coworkers went to Brazil and I felt a little bittersweet about it because I was happy to vicariously see familiar and nostalgic scenes from his pictures but I also felt guilty that I wasn’t there. I haven’t visited my family there in 4.5 years! That is too long! I want to go there before it turns into 5.5 years. It makes me feel sad and anxious because I can’t take those years back and everyone is turning grey and getting old. My dad advised me not to go during the World Cup or the Olympics because there is too much people and chaos, but that’s not an excuse. It’s so easy to get sucked into the comfort of everyday life and let time pass by quickly from week to week, month to month. I just need the willpower and the guts to go again.


CREATIVE PROJECTS

The biggest creative project I did this month was create my birthday party. I went to Cliff’s Variety store, Daiso, the One Stop Party Shop, and Party City for decorations, costumes and party favor shopping. I was in awe at Party City. You can find everything there. I love how the aisles were color coded and theme coded. They had costumes, games, party favors, cutlery and dishes, candy, balloons, thank you cards everything! I felt I was thrown back into my childhood of going to DZ Discovery Zone and pizza parties at the roller rink. It probably helped that strictly early 90’s party music playing including “Let’s party like it’s 1999!”. The theme ended up being a rainbow Hawaiian Hello Kitty theme with some unicorns thrown in the mix. Since I didn’t have any space besides a kitchen and a bedroom where I live, the party was going to be held at one of my closest friend’s house. It was a house, however, that I had never been to before because she and her husband just moved there the week before! Her offering her fresh home and moving to the Bay Area was the biggest gift ever! Not only was it a creative process to decide where to have the party, what the theme would be, what to buy, how to decorate the house and what to fill the goody bags with, but also how to design a scavenger hunt! That was a really fun and adrenaline-rushed process because I thought of the game design and all the tasks last minute during crunch time the night before. Here are some of the things I made my patient, fun-loving, openminded friends do:

Find two orange dinosaurs. Take a picture of them doing the last move in their choreography.

Find a hacky sack and put it on your head without your feet touching the ground.

Find a clown nose and put it on someone’s nose.

Sneak up to someone and make a halo of bubbles around them.

Find the origami paper and to the best of your ability make an origami butterfly and give it to someone. Take a picture of the butterfly landing on their shoulder.

Find someone to face paint your face something in their favorite color.

Find something pink that I bought at the dollar store that might hold something inside it worth more than a dollar. Peek inside and take a picture of what you find.

Make a friendship bracelet and give it to someone you know but haven’t seen in a long time.

Try to tell someone something by only using meowing and gestures.

Make a face with inanimate objects and put a costume piece on it. Put on a costume piece on yourself and take a selfie with it.

Have someone throw a piece of popcorn in your mouth and take a picture of it on your tongue when it lands.


For each task each team had to take a picture of proof that they had successfully completed task and collect a letter that was hidden near where they found the items to complete the task. Then the two teams had to come together to arrange the letters to unscramble a secret message. That was a little too hard. I needed to give them hints for that one. My first created scavenger hunt was elaborate and ambitious and at times confused my friends but it was worth it! They more than deserved the sweet victory of their over-stuffed goody bags!
Besides the scavenger hunt there was a book exchange, a story performance, tarot card reading, Mad Libs playing, Theo James decorating, cream cheese cupcake baking, origami making, costume wearing, and Scooby Doo music playing. It was fun, spontaneous, hilarious, and stimulating for sure. I enjoyed seeing how everyone got along with each other. The whole reason I created that party was to give my friends a fun experience and spend time basking in their joy.


Later on I wrote thank you letters to each friend who attended. Along with those I also participated in creating an Awesome Box for each of the four women who started the Samba troupe I was a part of last month. An Awesome Box is a box filled with cards that are decorated with pictures and messages from people who appreciate you and what you have done.

June was bright, warm, colorful, festive and cheerful. After going to Camp Grounded the month before my groove went astray in terms of the daily habits I was trying to foster including, exercise, doodling, writing in my moment diary and what I eat, and practicing Portuguese. This month was a true vacation that was socially dedicated and focused. It was the month of my first self-organized party and of one of the best birthdays I’ve had for a long time. Here’s to the good times shared in June!

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