Summer 2017 was full of incredible events! Though it’s the busiest time of year for my role, I was lucky to share meals, celebrate friends, and reunite with family to keep me energized right up to the end of teacher training. The next three posts will string together the highlights for each month. As the days get shorter heading into September, I’m having a great time revisiting our warm memories. Missing you all!
1st June- London: To kick off the month, Nick Wong visited London prior to his EU tour with his family. It’s been a big transition year for him so it was incredible to get some time to share reflections and next steps. Plus we tried a restaurant that he’s been interested in for a while: St John’s Bread and Wine (near Spitalfields Market).
We walked Brick Lane, Kingsland Road, Regents Canal, and Essex Road, all the while catching up on life after Ssam Bar, and the goings-on in NYC.
It was also a real treat that I was able to share a meal with the Wong family later that evening to catch up with his broddah and with Mr. and Mrs. Wong. We actually had double dinner- Ottolenghi first, and then Poppy’s Fish and Chips as a follow up! Now you know where he gets his love for food!
7th-8th June- Manchester: Training for Summer Institute was a top priority in early June. Though the majority of the days were spent in a conference room, I looked forward to exploring Manchester after completing professional development sessions.
I took a morning run with a group of PDLs/LDOs through a lovely park on day 2, and hit up a gym session on the final night with my colleague, Zoe, whose circuits felt like that of a personal trainer! I kept up with reading A Little Life between taking notes, and answering emails.
My colleagues planned a night out for our final day of training which was a great time. But when asked why I was leaving the bar early, I shared that I was heading to St Ann’s Square to pay my respects for those killed at the Manchester Arena. This created an exodus to the square. You could feel the emotion of the space. The intense sadness of the tragedy. Flowers, balloons, candles and messages to the victims were thigh-high. Each of us took in the length of the square. We waited until the last person had taken the time they needed, and walked back in reflection. One of my colleagues said to me ‘Good idea on coming here… that you wanted to make this happen. With everything that’s been frustrating with work, I’m sad it took this to remember that we’re all ok.’ I completely agreed. We are so lucky.
21st- 23rd June- Paris: I still can’t believe I was able to say ‘I’m going to Paris for a few days for a wedding of one of my dearest friends’. Congratulations to The Grays! Corey and I were so happy to celebrate your love in the City of Lights. You two were gracious hosts and you have some incredible friends and family. Plus, check the pictures –they looked fabulous!
The first night was an easy boat ride on the Seine which was a nice way to spend time meeting friends and family. On this warm summer night, we waved at locals sharing beers and wine on the edges of the river. Dinner was on our own so we revisited one of our favorite restaurants, Le 404, with friends Reed and Lauren.
Paris was experiencing a heat wave at this time, but an outdoor ceremony was a must with the Eiffel Tower as the perfect backdrop. Tracy and Andrae shared their own vows, and looked incredibly happy. For a part of their ceremony, they had all guests bless their rings with one word as they passed them around to us. Words like ‘love’, ‘joy’, ‘passion’ were spoken over their rings, and I thought it great that my word was ‘growth’ and Corey’s word was ‘understanding’.
We had a very French dining experience- definitely delicate and delicious at the same time. Holly and Junior shared their speeches as well as the mothers of the bride and groom. Then– very organically–each guest started to share a small speech about Tracy and Andrae. It was clear how much everyone thinks the world of them as individuals and as a couple. Corey pushed me to share my sentiments by clinking the glass when he thought I might chicken out. My heart was pumping through my chest as I hadn’t prepared anything to say, but I would have missed that opportunity if it hadn’t been for him, and I am grateful for his perspective on that. (Trace, if you’re reading this, I love you so much that I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to say everything that I feel about how wonderful you are without writing it down!)
Tracy and Andrae hosted the after party in their honeymoon suite of a room. Close friends became even closer as we played Heads Up, broke baguettes (broke bread), drank rose, and talked music, politics, race, gender, poetry and love until the wee hours of the morning. I’m not sure the exact time but around 2am, we realized we needed to get out of their room, but we continued our deep conversations about life until 4am in the lobby! It was a perfect way to celebrate these two since their relationships with close friends are clearly built on thoughtful exchange.
Congratulations Tracy and Andrae!
27th June- 6th July- Back to London: Ginny and Jamie flew out to London to start their summer vacations! It was special that Jamie just finished her 1st year of teaching, and that she would celebrate her birthday in London. It was also a significant trip since Ginny was transitioning to a new school and new home.
We loved seeing Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe. It was a modern take on the story with elements of drag, 70s disco, and musical ballads! None of us had seen a show at the historical theater so it was a great birthday-eve celebration for Jamie Lynn.
Lynn Bynn’s birthday featured a Tamiko-Forrest-Original Pub Crawl starting in Angel at the Narrow Boat for fish and chips and Camden brews. We walked along Regent’s Canal to Shoreditch for a pint at the Ten Bells. We strolled Spitalfields market and Brick Lane but Jamie was keeping herself accountable while shopping: no purchases unless they had a place to live back in Oakland. This limited us to mainly food which was fine by me!
We shared some sour beers at the Earl of Essex and tried a scotch egg (see above). Our final stop was the Queen’s Head where we had a late evening of philosophical conversations: financial woes and awareness, standards about beauty and weight, mixed families and above all else- love.
Of course, no trip to London is complete without a meal at Lahore, late-night kebabs, and egg sandwiches from Sainsbury’s. We also snuck in an afternoon tea at The Renaissance Hotel Gilbert Scott Restaurant (booked by Ginny’s roommates). Corey figured out how to get us the afternoon tea menu even though we were told upon arrival that they couldn’t seat us. By the end of the afternoon, we’d gotten free champagne and 15% off of our bill! Spells to the rescue.
I was tickled that I was able to introduce Danielle, one of my dad’s former students, to Jamie at the Island Queen- a local pub that Ginny stumbled upon during her walk to Regent’s Canal. Separately, Jamie and Ginny took on London landmarks at their own pace when Corey and I were at work. You also have to ask them for the photos and stories of their trip to Amsterdam on 2nd -5th July as well. I know they loved Vondelpark and a small cafe with yummy potatoes.
For a final meal, we headed to Berber and Q for smoky shared platters of cauliflower and chicken and a bottle of Alicante wine. I was so happy to catch up on life from this year and that Jamie visited London for the first time. Every day felt like an excuse to celebrate.
Their trip kept me sane during the start of teacher training, and I’m grateful for their kind words and challenges to my mindset. Having family visit is just what I needed at this time.
Their trip is actually why the title for this post came so easily. The phrase ‘Lovely Jubbly’ is an expression used to share one’s delight or approval. Apparently, the phrase was made famous by ‘Del Boy’ the main character from long running English sitcom ‘Only Fools And Horses’. It’s a show about brothers who sell dodgy goods believing that next year they will be millionaires (some British pop culture for you). Corey argues that ‘everyone says it‘ while I’ve never heard someone use the phrase in London–other than to say ‘no one says that unless maybe they were a geezer from the 80s’. Either way, it is a way to describe my feelings for the month of June so I’ll allow it!