I wasn't quite sure what exactly to call this post. "Life changes, " or "New beginnings" seemed a bit too fluffy and somewhat trite, like a Lifetime movie of the month title. And a dish name certainly would have been inappropriate, since well, I haven't cooked a single in the past two weeks now, so no recipes shall grace the text of this post today. (And god forbid I recycle any old recipes or stock photos from storage!) So you can see where I am going with this... I just want to let everyone know what I've been up to, that's all, along with a bit of exciting news!
First, the most noticeable piece of change is that I am finally going white! Background color, that is. No more gloomy grays or browns, though they did make my photos instantly pop. Summer is upon us, so naturally there will be more colors in my photography, and more lighting to go around, so no need for the dark colors anymore. It was about time for a change.
If you've been wondering if maybe I had dropped off the face of this earth for the past two weeks, I am here to assure you that I have not, but maybe only off the face of this country. I was in Beijing with my parents, tending to some family issues. Three weeks after my grandmother's passing last month, my grandfather suffered a massive stroke in China and passed away on May 21. A tragedy, nothing less. It was some of the darkest times of my life thus far, of my family's also by far, and we are still reeling in the aftershock and grief of it all. My aunt believes his passing was somewhat linked to the deadly earthquake of Sichuan just one week prior, since many Chinese believe that natural disasters are portents of bad news to come. Personally, I have a feeling that after 60 years of marriage, like they had this year, losing your best friend and partner can really break a heart, and a person. Whatever it was, I will miss him dearly, his grace and presence, his strength of character, love of noodles and ice cream (not together), and will carry on his legacy of writing and of learning about anything and everything. One of these days, I will dedicate a recipe to him, but as yet, I don't feel ready to write about him in length nor share my fondest memories.
As of this weekend, I am no longer a Baltimorean. I moved out of my small and well-lived in apartment on Saturday. Standing there, it hardly seemed the warm and cozy space that I had called home for three and a half years.
I said goodbye to the beautiful views, and mostly to my little kitchen where once, a very different me had set foot, and after numerous experimentation, failures and even more successes, a new me, the me now, was moving out and forward. I turned in my keys and didn't look back. It was the only way I knew how not to get all weepy about this big change.
I will be quite the busybody this summer with many travels planned, so stay tuned for some jet-set culinary adventures. Here's a preview- I can promise you tales and photos from a wedding in Napa Valley (and hopefully a trip to the French Laundry), another wedding on Long Island with forays into NYC, a few visits to San Francisco, a first-time exploration of the great city of Rome, and then a week-long gallop through the island of Malta. And of course there will be no shortage of weekend hiking trips to the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah mountains, and maybe a nostalgic visit or two back to Baltimore to stay with friends.
Ok ok, so what is the really exciting news? Well, the reason I moved from Baltimore, a city which has grown on me and which I've come to call home, is that soon I will have a new home, and blogging life, in San Francisco! I will be starting law school in August there, living and no doubt, eating my way through the city! Of course, as you may know, Mr.S is already there for his new job, so my partner in crime, my meal companion, will once again, be by my side. We were really quite lucky to both end up in SF, as neither of us really had planned on ending up in the same space! Sure, we crossed our fingers and toes as he went on his interviews and I did my applications, but we were never really sure we'd both make it to the Bay area, a place that we've grown obsessed over, for the food, the people, the climate and culture. I'm telling ya, it's fate.
With the many ups and downs that life has taken me on these past few months, I feel somewhat akin to a rag doll (but with better hair). I'm lucky to have my family and those people who really love me by my side, or just a phone call away. If not, I always have my journal and a pen, if only to scribble something down. I feel like a different person than I was one and a half months ago, maybe more morose at times, but definitely more mature and self-aware, with a different understanding on life and my family.
Life is really too fragile not to cherish what you've been given, the great gifts of loved ones and your talents and strengths.