I’ve got to begin the month of August with some MAJOR shoutouts!
First: Congratulations to all of my parents for starting their retirement this summer!!! I’m very, very excited for you, and I look forward to hearing about your adventures in this new chapter.
Second: Congratulations in advance for all of the wonderful news, weddings, and babies that make me smile from ear to ear! You have to read to the end of the post for updates about my incredible friends.
This trip to California was one of the most relaxing I’ve ever had. We spent the first week loading up on lots of family time. For our first dinner at home, my mom surprised Corey with an early birthday celebration since he’d be back in London for the 19th. The next day (Sunday), the Forrest women celebrated Marie Adele with Auntie Caryl, as my cousin Eric is getting married in September. Monday, we had lunch with my mom, Barbara and Corey D at a Caribbean joint in Old town, but it left a lot to be desired (we tried, Eula!).
For Corey’s final night in Oakland, Miya and I booked tickets to the Battle of the Bay game so that Corey could see his first game at the A’s stadium. The entire Forrest crew could cheer for every play since we’re a mix of Giants and A’s fans. (Daisuke was asleep by the 3rd inning I think!)
Then it was off to South Lake Tahoe at Zephyr Cove. Time to celebrate one of my oldest and dearest friends, Brian. He and Meggie tied the knot on 4th August, and I had the honor of officiating their ceremony!
They both looked incredibly happy, and the lake resort was such a pretty setting for their ceremony, even though there were worries the front row might get taken by the waves. Auntie Marlene gave the most touching speech I’ve ever heard at a wedding- so strong and so thoughtful. Eric’s follow up also made me beam with pride as the Kozono clan held it down with back to back championship speeches. We hit up the photo booth, did some gambling at Harrah’s and Corey had a dance off with a 12 year old cousin of Meggie’s. Yes, he went super hard in the paint to show this middle schooler how it’s done.
Forgot to mention, that the day before the wedding, we enjoyed the outdoors. My mom, Corey and I got in a hike across the state line, and everyone enjoyed the lake on such a warm day.
Following the week of merriment (or marry-ment!), I decided to take things as they came. No crazy scheduling and driving all over the place. Just hanging out and meeting up when it made sense. This meant that I spent a majority of my time with my little Papas (Daisuke). I learned his schedule fairly well, and even watched him on my own for a trip to Children’s Fairyland, a park that we went to as kids. We picked tomatoes, read books, and played at both grandparents’ houses, and I got to see swim lessons at Mills College one morning.
When schedules did align, it was the best. My wonderful girlfriends, Miho and Lisa, met up for drinks at Lake Chalet. How are they both in Oakland?! It’s so powerful for me! Lake Chalet is a spot that sits right on Lake Merritt, and has a great dock with outdoor seating for happy hour. I was lucky enough to catch Lisa’s soon-to-be husband, Jared, there as well to catch up with them as they’d just picked up their marriage license.
Never a dull moment with my SLHS crew either. Caught up with Joc and Jessi at MUA for Jessi’s bachelorette (yassss!!!), and saw Jen for a Sparky’s lunch. Double bonus, I got to hang with Monica, Jessi and Jen for another evening where we shut down some cocktail spot called Plum bar?
Even though we spent some quality time in Lake Tahoe, I was really happy to have more time with Auntie Marlene, Meggie, Brian, Eric and Gary. Auntie Marlene hosted a pasta dinner one night, and Meggie, Brian, Gary and I had drinks around Old Town on another evening. We talked about everything under the sun, and I felt so energized after our hang out. I jumped on the bandwagon for BK and Meggie’s book club. The goal is to read titles listed on the incoming freshman lists for major universities (namely Ohio State, Meggie’s alma mater). I’ve just finished Hillbilly Elegy, the first one on deck. Eric and I caught up at a spot on Grand, and after two hours of talking realized we never ordered a beer. Auntie Marlene also came over to a dinner at my mom’s where we compared dishes we’d made where we added msg or just regular salt. Our Chinese-American inspired meal included pork meatballs, peppers stuffed with shirmp and home made scallion pancake. As I hoped, all gatherings kept us up talking late and sharing ideas about what we’ve learned so far about growing up and making sense of our experiences.
I’m pretty sure I ate avocados, pho and Mexican food in rotation every day. Corey ate about three burritos in the first 48 hours of being on the West Coast. Jamie and I had large bowls of beef pho for a sister to sister lunch on International, and my mom and I had back to back bowls in Richmond and then in Oakland. On the way back from camping, we had a bonus get together with Oonaugh and Uncle Jamie in Fairfax at Avatar’s Punjabi burritos! So good! I also snuck avocados whenever I could- on salads, on bagels, and sometimes right out of the skins with a spoon.
More family time: The Forrest/Black/Tremblay/Jaffa clan met out in Santa Rosa for a summertime reunion, and Ginny came by my mom’s house to talk art projects, and about her feelings starting her new school year. Corey, Auntie Sue and Auntie Caryl were able to witness the longstanding relationship that I have with the owner of Tsuru sushi since I’ve been eating there since I was 15 years old! I biked with my dad and mom-Marilyn up to Cull Canyon, and I also can’t forget the nice evenings having dinner around San Leandro and then sitting in the family room on Covington street just talking about life.
Camping with Daisuke, my Dad and Miya made my heart melt. Going back to Samuel P. Taylor where we camped as kids was just as magical with the next generation. We went down to the creek to wade and throw rocks. We visited Hearts Desire beach where Daisuke practiced more rock throwing, burying his feet in the sand, and blowing bubbles in the water. We took bikey-blue for a spin around the redwood trees, and we told stories around the campfire. My dad shared some old scrapbook gems that were recently recovered, and Daisuke and I also reenacted the stories of Abiyoyo and Anansi the Spider at least three times in one evening. That’s the energy that a s’more can give you.
Miya hosted a retirement dinner for two of Logan’s Hall of Fame teachers who’ve just retired. We sang songs from our childhood and yelled over-zealous commands at Alexa, Jose’s google contraption. We also spent a day in SF at the Giants game, complete with a visit from Lou Seal! Anthony, a former student teacher of my dad’s, also works at the stadium, making it a really special day for my dad.
The eclipse was on my last full day in California, and it made for such an adventure. Barbara came prepared with the glasses, colanders and tools, while Miya found a spot with a wonderful playground, and mom and I packed the picnic lunch. Daisuke was pretty oblivious but that’s allowed since he’s so cute!
My mom cooked a masterpiece for my last meal: Lamb shanks with pilaf and salad. Miya and Daisuke made pie like the kittens who soiled their mittens, and Jose and I …well, we just ate it all up!
I recognize I can’t really stop gushing about how grateful I am for the people I love. I know I am not doing this post justice by sharing quick summaries of this month but I know this post is already so long and we have more life to get back to, to share, and to make social change. I’m just happy I have so many people to stay strong with! Thank you for making my trip home an incredible one.
Celebrations for Friends!
Addie is the 2017 Harriett Ball Excellence In Teaching Award Winner (and she’s pregnant with a baby girl)
Weddings: Anson got married, Eric and Marie are next, followed by Jessi and Monica, and then Lisa and Jared! So much love and joy and dancing is ahead of us!
Babies: I ran into Adarius in the Trader Joe’s parking lot and got to meet Benjamin (Benji) on my last day! It was a sign since Kris and I hadn’t been able to hook up earlier in the month. Also, Courtney, Alison and Sayuri – my girls from NYC- have new little ones, and Eula is due in one week (8th Sept!).
Erica and Brian have such a homey-house in Soquel, Kori Chen’ s coffee is selling at Farmer Joe’s, and Rich and Sam are engaged (ok, they’re in London, but I heard the news when I was in Cali). I love the people we love!
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