Some time has passed since I left my home away from home. Here are my last shots I dug up before coming to New York -- a smattering of usual faces from my daily routines -- work and weekend market trips. Beijing will forever be the bustling city maintaining its charm through the haze and the horns. Thank you Beijing. Your faces, streets, and sounds are forever a part of me :)
Our lives are made up of routines. The routines quadrant being: seemingly sporadic, seemingly consistent, actually sporadic (which seems less of a routine), or actually consistent. Routines can be defined by something that happens on a scheduled basis—some more frequent, others maybe only a few times. I routinely make myself a cup of Jasmine tea every morning drinking it from the same mug before drawing on my eyes. I also feel my cat child four times a day (twice in the morning, and twice in the evenings…chubs). A new seemingly sporadic routine I’m working on is welcoming change into my life and working past the initial discomfort. Seemingly sporadic as the changes have all been unique, but the process of engaging in the change has slowly become more familiar.
I believe routines serve as the constant in our lives to help us quantitatively understand ourselves better; when we are allowed adjustment of variables to gauge what makes us feel what makes us happier, stronger, indifferent, and of course equally important, less happy.
Upon completion of my latest project, I’ve had the chance to spend some time in Seattle — exercising a combination of old routines and new ones picked up the last few years. While I’ve also brought old routines to Beijing, this was the first time I had consciously brought new routines back to Seattle, which led to bringing a new feeling of routined contentment. I used to tell myself that home is where your heart is, but I think it's something you take with you along the way.
While this was my first Christmas away from home, this was also the most sun-kissed one yet. When Sandy and Kevy J found I wouldn’t be able to take Christmas holiday due to my project, they decided to bring themselves to me by working out of the MullenLowe Profero Office in Singapore. How many times do we get to say coworkers took 8 hour layovers just to spend some time with us over Christmas? When we grow to love the ones we spend so much of our every day with, we are gifted the luxury for our work to be so much more enjoyable. How lucky am I to have found a team I can call my family.
During our time together, we managed to hop on a ferry last minute to Indonesia to Bintan Lagoon & Resorts [puzzling people when we arrived among the usual families and romantic getaway spot with our trio relationship (Was I their wedding photographer? Was Kevin the odd man out of this lesbian relationship? Were we… RELATED?] Thank you guys, and thank you MullenLowe Profero for making another family for me.
My time traveling between Chengdu, Beijing, and now Singapore have left me feeling restless at times. But while my surroundings have been ever changing since this summer, having those close to my heart always bring me back to a sense of stability.
I first met Sandra briefly 2 years ago at a Drink & Draw competition. While she posed comfortably on stage with her pizza box, I drew nervously below. I had a rumbling inside my bely that this might be the beginnings of a friend crush, but wasn't sure how to proceed uncreepily. So alas, as I watched her flip through the drawings, mine included, and make judgement, I decided to play it safe and lay low, positively unoffendingly. A year later, I find myself sitting next to her at work, having raised 3 pet fish together (RIP Sandsy, Dandry, Dandy), and spending our weekends drawing at our favorite cafe. Many of our favorite memories come from the unplanned friendships, or the subsequent findings or quick thinking on our toes. For example, when the Beijing Pizza Festival has a 2 hour wait, and you end up stumbling across a 60RMB all you can eat pizza buffet at Gung Ho Pizza with one of your besties, not to mention two for one beers.
I never would have thought that a part of the Great Wall of China would be a place I would ever consider familiar, but alas...after almost 3 years it is! And while I've gone up many times with my dear friends, this was the first time I was able to go with my sister, Iris. 8 years in difference can seem like quite a gap when you're young, and sometimes when you're old too. I am lucky to feel the gap closing in as time goes on. As my dad once said, may we grow closer as we grow older. I'm very much looking forward to the years I have ahead with you Iris. Thank you Ba Ma for setting me up with this one ;) And thank you to the whole gang for a lovely Saturday afternoon.