Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Louisville & Crespi, 10 Years Later

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I traveled halfway across the planet for my 10 year HS reunion. I figured I'd rather go than regret not going. And I promised Marie. I couldn't let her and Noelle face the crowd alone.

Problem #1. I had nothing to wear. My HK closet is small and nothing was appropriate. My shoe collection here is tailored for walking and not the impractical kind I so adore. And nor did I have time to go shopping for clothes, shoes + accessories... and I couldn't very well introduce myself as being in the fashion industry if I looked like a schmuck. Oh yeah, and dropping the almighty dollaz on a last minute plane ticket kinda took the wind out of my wallet sails. But somehow, with a lot of help from my mum, I pulled it together.

Of course everyone wants to put their best foot foward at the reunion. And especially after graduating with 100 other beautiful girls from the valley... you gotta be ready to get cut. If you didn't know me back then, I was pretty dang weird. I was a theatre rat with bad skin that looked like a boy. I was hella awkward and hella dense, and like many of my friends from back in the day, we are proof that Ugly Duckling Syndrome is totally valid.

Problem #2. I'm dangerously close to my all time peak weight. I was developing good habits in early spring. Eating a lot of fruit and veggies, hitting the gym regularly and even attempting a spin class when... the very next day, I bust my ankle and put myself out of commission for months. Yep, I was a good 15 or 20 pounds over my target weight, which for the record is nowhere near my all time low weight, but what can you do? Besides, I figured my fabulousity factor was pretty high, and if I walked away from the reunion feeling crummy it didn't matter cause I'd be boarding a plane to go far far away the next day.

But it didn't matter. I'm pretty dang happy with where I am, and unlike all those beautiful people I hated and adored in high school... I didn't peak in the late 90s.

10 years huh? I combed over the last decade, thinking about what the heck I've been doing since I last saw most of these people. For many of us, the last time we saw each other was in Cancun immediately after graduation, and, well, we're lucky we all came back safe and sound.

In my brief history of the last decade, I moved to Tucson, lived in the football stadium for two years, graduated cum laude with a degree in Media Arts and a thematic minor in Culture, Education, and Techonology... a minor I made up which basically allowed me to take a slew of classes I wanted to take and still graduate a semester early with the help of a professor I was in love with, moved back to LA to work in TV for 5 years and traveled around the country for two of them, engaged by 22 (::GASP::) to my high school sweetheart and current American hero, lived in Silver Lake for three wonderful years of eastsiderness and a brief stint in Spain, and right around the time of the writers strike when I was contemplating a job with the government or publishing or waste management, I had the opportunity to take a job in Hong Kong, and was overseas 10 days later.

Yeah. All this stuff was going through my head and really I just wanted to get it over with so I could get back to the Hongk.

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The weekend of reunioning was kicked off with the Louisville/Crespi mixer at Soups on Ventura Blvd. I didn't know too many people from Crespi outside of the theatre geeks, and my pals were spread out through the classes of 1996, 97, and 98 anyway.

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Me, Noelle, and Marie got together for dinner to ease our way into the night, and wrap our heads around what was actually going to go down.

We were a little nervous as we crossed Ventura to get to... who knows what. We walked in, it was packed, and I was immediately put at ease when I saw Jenn and she told me the nicest thing ever. Jenn is insanely tall, was a volleyball player, and I remember her as being flawless. Definitely more mature and pulled together than I was as a teenager. We weren't even tight, but I remember her gorgeous prom dress that she got from Melrose... that's right folks, I remember EVERYTHING.

So Jenn tells me this story. Our first semester freshman year, we were in a theatre class together. She was nervous and really shy, and we were partnered up to do some exercise, and she said I made her feel at ease and was really nice to her. Ok, this I actually do not remember, but I was really touched that 10 years later this is how someone remembers me. And I was so proud of myself for being a good person at 13!

Mushy stuff aside, it was time for wine. Lots and lots of wine.

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Marie and Caitlin.

Marie is, as you know, my life partner, but did you know that on two occasions when she had to work at Ruby's, I filled in as her role of the bum, transient, hobo, whatever, in 42nd Street? It was one of the funnest roles of all time. The year prior, Caitlin and I were double cast as Samuel in Pirates of Penzance... but our voices were so weak that our director teamed us up as pirate twins and we performed together.

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That's me and Ashley, who was definitely my HS BFF. Distance and circumstances kept us apart, and I take responsibility for the big mistakes, but there was one occassion a few years back when she was in a bad situation and called me, and I'm really glad that she did. We shared a love for music, theatre, everything pop culture, we could be wacky and laugh and it all made sense to us. I didn't get to chat with her long because she and Deirdre headed off to Big Bear or something.

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As you can see, I spent little if any time talking to any of the dudes. The few guys that I did know were not there, but I had seen many of them the year earlier at Zeus' funeral.

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Ok so maybe there were a couple of dudes worth talking to like Feathers. Bless his heart.

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And Pelligrini. A good kid. Pelli and many of his Crespi classmates grew up to be firemen. I don't know what you'd say about us Lousville girls since we run at all extremes.

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It was a facinating bunch, but the bar was terribly loud and it was hard to chat. When it was closing time we went tried to go next door to Pickwicks but they wouldn't let us all in, so there was some after party and that was my cue to leave.

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Survived part 1 of the reunion. Hiyyyaaah.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reunioning 2008

I am challenging myself to get caught up to current events by August 1st.

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I was home for a week before the big HS reunion. Sadly I didn't have enough time to see everyone, and I was working especially hard because a trip to China was looming over my head. So while I was home I was working on LA time and HK time. I didn't push too hard to see a lot of people b/c I was home about 6 weeks prior. There's just simply not enough time to see everyone, and not enough time to spend with the people you miss most. So I put it in everyone's hands to now come visit me!

Always a priority is the Cougar.

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She will not be joining me in Hong Kong, and it really saddens me when I think about it. But it's in her best interest. The flight out here would be so painful for her. They don't recommend drugging your animals because they'll wake up halfway into the flight and freak out. And can you imagine not taking any potty breaks for a whole day? I did pay for her export license and had all the paperwork taken care of when I first got out here, but as time went on I realized it just wouldn't be fair. Besides, I'm never ever home, and now that it's summer she'd have to endure a stuffy little apartment. It ain't right. Well, Pepper will be coming home soon and they will be best buds again.

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And sweet, sweet Samantha.

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And my Sophie Dog.

I made a quick trip to the orthodontist, and while in the hood I enjoyed my favorite all time breakfast. An Alice's Egg Sammy.

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And spent a little time with my gal pals Lorelei and soon to be mommy Julie! Baby Abigail could be here any moment... actually, I'm guessing she's already arrived so I better give Julie a call!

After the ortho, I had some time to kill, and also got the news that the trip to China had been CANCELLED! I was so thrilled that I ran over to Lorelei's with a couple of beers. It kinda felt like I never left.

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Also necessary was some alone time with my life partner. We had a nice dinner in Studio City, chatted away, and sung our hearts out to old tunes in the car. Yeah, it felt like I never left.

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However, I was not missing the triple digit temps.

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I took my time cruising whenever I could. To enjoy home and with every corner flooded with memories. Like where I held a second job when I first started TV.

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And right down the street where Pepper last worked as a civilian. Where he drove a forklift off the loading dock... where he dumped the rubbish after I puked in his car.

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Korean food with the parents.

It went by really fast and a lot of stuff was going on. Julie was about to burst, Erin had moved in to a ranch with her BF, Sarah and her BF were moving in together, and later that night... Part One of the HS reunion!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Going Going Back Back to Cali Cali

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In my previous post I mentioned I was this close to not being able to make it home for my HS reunion. Before moving to HK, I PROMISED Marie I'd be home for the reunion, and it was a pretty decent excuse to come home.

As the date was approaching, I became lukewarm about coming home again, because I was just home weeks before... because plane tickets really hurt the wallet... because work was really overwhelming and it didn't feel quite right to leave... that was until the possibility came up that I might not be able to come home. That made me completely determinted to make it happen. And it did. Bought a plane ticket maybe 36 hours before boarding. OOOUUUCCCHHH. Yeah, that one hurt the wallet, especially because if I had bought the ticket a day or two before, it would have been 1/3 or 1/4 of the price.

I was relieved and thrilled, and when that happens I tend to throw down. Friday night went out with the regular crew in the pouring rain, drank myself silly, woke up at 8:00 AM on a friend's couch (not realizing I had fallen asleep there), saw my friend sleeping on his hardwood floor, realized I didn't feel too good, and instead of hauling it home to get ready for my flight, I fell back asleep! Woke up again at 10 AM and busted a move to catch my 12:30 PM flight. It was a close one, but thankfully HK airport and transportation to it is so efficient.

Before I knew it, I was home, and it was Fathers Day. We got my dad some crossbow attachment for the WII.

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That night I went to Silver Lake to hang out with my old hood peeps. The drive over there was gorgeous as I watched the sunset in my rearview. Traffic was perfect because the Laker game was on and it took me no time to get to the old hood.

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Mmmmm Gingergrass!!

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And of course, it's not summer unless you're having a Hefe at Red Lion.

I really, really really miss Silver Lake.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wine Tasting Wednesdays

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Sometimes it's nice to have friends in the wine industry :) My friend Chun Ling works for Force 8 Wine Cellars, and once a month they hold wine tastings. May was French, and June was Italian. This picture was taken after the wine tasting, at a wine bar right down the street. Another two bottles of wine never hurt...

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Our host Chun Ling. She's fabulous. I love Chinese/Hongkongese peeps with British accents.

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Me n Powers with the best shirts on the block. He loves Chinglish shirts... Shirts that Hongkies make in English that make no sense. His says: The best and most typical at its best war made before premium quality. Aevi Strauss!

This was kind of a special night for me because I'd been planning to go to my HS reunion since before I moved to Hongkie, and right before the reunion, one of our clients decides to make a trip to China the week I was supposed to be in LA. June was a pretty rough month in the workplace for me because stupid people were making stupid decisions and it would have been easier if I was taking care of it in the first place instead of cleaning up their mess after the fact.

I figured out a way to make it work by moving my trip to LA up one week, but in order for me to make my HS reunion I'd have to be in China one day late. I called this client... you can probably guess which brand... in the middle of the wine tasting to plead for one day off in China.

After a few glasses of wine, I step outside to make the call. Please please please, I begged. Turns out, it was cool... as long as they had someone else there on Monday to translate for them. OMG, I was FURIOUS!! You dumb, dumb POS. They were counting on my perfect Cantonese and Mandarin to get them through their trip to China. She obviously does not have producing skills! I can't even say my new address in Cantonese. Well, it worked out, I got a laugh, and then I drank myself silly and played in a park until 4 AM. I was going home!

Sebastien and me trying to break in to the Man Mo Temple on the way home.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dragon Boat Races!

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The weekend of Macau/Air Supply/Dragon Boat Races was definitely a history making one in my book, and fortunately it was a holiday weekend too!

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I was invited to hang out on the MoFo junk by my Vietnam traveling bud Cora. Her company is Morrison and Foerster, and her email address extention is seriously @mofo.com! I'm so jealous.

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Woke up early on Sunday to head down to Stanley, which is on the south side of HK island. After 45 min of calling and texting, I was finally able to wake Daven up, and we shared a taxi to the races.

After the flood earlier in the weekend, and a bit of a drizzle in the early AM, we were finally blessed with a beautiful day. Otherwise I would have turned right back around! It was really cool though, the teams had great uniforms.

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Yes, all the big names were there... Yahoo, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Bank of America... and since I only work in panties, it's a good thing I have friends in the big leagues.

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This one was my favorite. It says, Hotelies: Doing it without reservations.

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I watched MoFo's first race from the beach, and then we headed to the MoFo junk.

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The Bloomberg party was where it was at.

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The Junk boats are tied together along the "racetrack" so people can eat, drink, dance, and watch their teams compete. You can also hop from boat to boat.

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Finally, the MoFo junk!

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Philip didn't want to get sunburned.

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At somepoint everyone left to explore other junks, and I just wanted to hang out in the sun. My ipod was hooked up to the junk's system (I have learned to always bring the ipod) and I blasted Air Supply. I'm not sorry.

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Its the Centurion. I wonder who rolls on that boat.

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I got some video of these kids. Chinese boys on the bagpipes... who knew?! They were actually really good, just facinating to watch.

The races were over, we made it back to dry land, and wandered to the pubs in Stanley. Had some drinks with the crew, then went a few doors down for dinner with my new friends Caroline from Belgium, Neeta from San Diego, and Monika from the OC. SoCal represent!! By the time dinner was done, the sun was down and it was madness on the Stanley waterfront!

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Stanley is never like this. It's very quiet, peaceful, and a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Central. So, it was very exciting, and kinda felt like we were in Europe.

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Another dude who wanted to borrow my sunglasses.

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It was seriously badass. I was not prepared for its BAMFness.

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This guy was also not prepared.

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The ride home was quite an adventure too. I think there was some singing involved on the upper deck of the bus. Hands down Tuen Ng is my favorite HK holiday. If this is your speed, you should seriously think about visiting next year! My dad is really hoping to enter our company in the races... YIKES!