it's the winter solstice and i'm already nostalgic about autumn


last week, a foggy berkeley morning

i am currently sitting next to the heater amongst boxes, alone in our apartment in san francisco. this morning, thomas and i woke up early to get coffee before work. we watched the rain fall and roll down the window while sinking our teeth into flaky, buttery pastries. i thought about what it would be like to fall in love with a city like this.

life has been a whirlwind spinning me in circles on pointed toes. i can’t wait to slow down and sift through all these photographs and scraps of writing. but until then, you can find me dancing tangles into my hair.


the last few months

this summer was different from the typical sticky southern californian one that my skin is so used to. no — this was a summer of office air conditioning until sunset, sleepy accidental naps at the park, coffee-hazed domestic travels, and dreamy, slow-motion laughs that only come from constantly being surrounded by friends.

even though most of our mind space was filled with the stresses of development roadmaps, product market fit, traction plans, investment rounds, and more endless jargon... for just a few seconds in between, it felt like youth again.



one day in kyoto

26 hours of transit later, i found myself on a nighttime shinkansen to kyoto, watching the city lights dance around the darkness.

i slept soundly in a little attic room of the home of a older woman named keiko, who, because of my jet lag, spent a lot of time with me in the early morning sharing breakfast and watching japanese television. a lot of it consisted of celebrities commenting on visuals of most delicious food in tokyo. something was strangely familiar and comforting about the slow morning. we watched the sunrise and laid our eyes on a snow-laden kyoto -- the first snowfall of the year. 

at 7am, i bundled up in five layers of clothing and made my way to the station to catch a train to fushimi inari, the shrine of 10,000 red gates. the cold chill of the air clashed with the warmth of my breath.


it was so quiet. all you could hear was the sound of your own footsteps, nearby cats softly whining at each other, and the aching of snow melting in the morning sun. 


i left at around 10am, when the entirety of inari mountain began to awaken with people coming to hike, take pictures, and pray. because the day was still young, i decided to fulfill a year-long curiosity and revel in my love for train rides. with some plum-filled onigiri from 7/11 packed in my backpack, i made my way to nara - a 1.5 hour train ride away.  


the stay in nara was short, and the stay in the deer park was even shorter. watching the deer bite at my coat and push me around for food with their shaved antlers was heartbreaking. after walking quite a distance, i found a little deer resting by a tree alone; i sat by her and pet her for a while before making my way back to the station to go straight to arashiyama's bamboo grove.

i took photographs for large groups of families and happy couples and felt a pang of loneliness amongst the endless crowds. i kept my eyes up where the leaves began to blend with the clouds and saw the bamboo sway a slightly.  


, travel

by the sea in la gi, vietnam

i spent two days in a little beach village about two hours from saigon. it was quiet, marked by dreamy morning landscapes, hair whipping around my face on long scooter rides, bustling markets, and meals inspired by the sea. 



on my second day in la gi, i rose from the floor mattress after three hours of sleep and rode a scooter eastward towards the sunrise. on the roads at 4am were entire families, friends, siblings, individuals, all riding scooters, all heading towards the beach. people came to soak in the sea, exercise on the cool sand, and play ball games that i didn't understand. the sky was a blue gray haze and the air was damp from the night. the sun was still hiding behind a curtain of clouds.

as soon as the first yellow rays began to reflect in the water, the entire beach emptied and the village streets began to yawn. 


a year in photographs 2017



the year starts off with almost running out of gas in southern utah. i flew to vietnam for the first time and struggle with feelings of belonging. i met the unfamiliar faces of my step family, then cried at the airport when i had to say good bye. 



matthew and i went to british columbia, driving along slippery slopes, skiing in cotton candy snow, and basking in the sunset reflections in the white mountains. i discovered my paranoia of bear tracks in the snow and rattlesnakes hiding in dead logs while hiking by myself. i also discovered how amazing tim horton's is.



the superbloom came to california and i've never been happier.



i was on the road sporadically - a wedding in nashville, a poker tournament in reno. in between, i fell in love with the colors of spring and hated everything i created.



i turned 26 alone in a tree house in argentina.



it was summer, but my skin barely touched the sun. a sudden urge to go to zion overcame me, so matthew and i set out to utah... only to have the symptoms of a kidney infection overtake me during one of the most dangerous hikes we've been on. i cried all 9 hours home and curled up in bed for days.

i crossed "hike angels landing" off my bucket list. 



i spent a lot of time outdoors and equally as much time reading political books and articles. i felt hopeful and hopeless, but mostly uncertain about what my role was.

a four inch scar now runs along my right shin from drinking too much vodka, looking at the stars, and tripping over a cement block.



my family released my mum's ashes into the sea and i am upset by how anti-cathartic it is. i filled my apartment with chrysanthemums because it helps.

later in the month, we saw a sliver of the solar eclipse and it was magical. i added "witness a total solar eclipse" to my bucket list.



i cut my bangs just in time to head over to europe for two weeks. sarah, thomas, & i drove around the south of france, then ate our way up to milan, vienna, and prague. i saw gustav klimt's paintings at the belvedere and it helped add rich colors back into my work.



i went back to vietnam to visit my dad who suddenly moved away in the summer. i explored more of the countryside, spent a wonderful few days with my ex-step family, then flew over to thailand to get my scuba diving license.

after a month of sleepless nights working, homesickness began to spread in my bones. i was exhausted.



i worked a lot. i felt lonely. it felt like the world was on fire.



the southern californian fires filled my lungs with a hint of smoke and ash. i thought about how i am not where i want to be, but i am probably exactly where i am supposed to be. i threw away my maps searching for happiness and surrender to the fluidity of existing.