An Amateur New Year

This winter I went home to California for two straight weeks. Like the obsessive planner that I am, I made a Google doc spreadsheet to make sure that my holiday time was optimally maximized for seeing family and friends, eating incredible food, and restoring my body from the brutal end-of-year work dump.

Immediately following a lovely Christmas spent with my mom’s side of the family — cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that I hadn’t seen in almost a year — my roommate AC and her boyfriend SN swung by to visit my hometown. I took them to try the best California burritos around (carne asada, pico de gallo, french fries, and magic). We toured the awesomely extravagant Christmas decorations in a nearby neighborhood and had a mimosa brunch for prices that are only possible outside of New York. We also dined with my parents and were probably the rowdiest table at dinner.

My dad was going to leave for Tahoe in a couple of days so between bouts of errands and checking out my mom’s exercise classes, he taught me about waxing skis (peppered with life lessons). I made sure to soak up as much California sun as I could.

On the 30th, J flew into Sacramento. We met up with friend and former coworker AM for our new favorite hobby: rock climbing! We went to Pipeworks, which has a completely different vibe (and was much emptier) than our usual place in New York. I love the exposed brick and plethora of plants, not to mention the place is dog friendly! It was also cool to use a different belay device and try some new walls. Afterwards, we got pizza and beer at this new beer hall, Federalist, with some old friends.

That night, on New Year’s eve, J and I were so exhausted that we ended up falling sleep by 10pm. At 11:50pm my alarm rang, we wished each other a happy new year, and then fell immediately to sleep again. Needless to say, it was incredibly romantic and memorable.

After New Year’s day we drove to my grandparents’ home. We ate fabulous Milpitas dim sum and my PoPo taught us how to lose at mah jong.

J and I took a day trip to Pacifica, where we considered going down to the beach (apparently it’s a steep slope where your only aid is a rope tied to a spike in the ground). Not prepared for the downward slide in our traction-less shoes and eventual scuffle back up, we soaked in the beautiful views from the top of the hill.

For my last night in Sacramento, I shared an incredible dinner at Mother with J and my parents. For dessert we dined on fantastic, unique sweets and snacks a friend had brought from Japan (including gourmet Kit Kats and chocolate-covered shrimp chips!).

As always, leaving my parents was heartwrenching. I’m not sure when I will be back in Sacramento, or when we’ll all be together again. I, for sure, am not the best at keeping in touch, having meaningful phone conversations, and being there for my parents as they’ve been there for me. But it’s something I’m going to work on this year (more about New Years resolutions in a later post!). As my dad says, just a little bit every so often and one day you’ll be an expert (that was heavily paraphrased, but you get the gist).

The last part of the trip was the flight back, which involved a surprisingly wonderful 4-hour layover in the Long Beach airport. The last time I was at LGB it was rinky-dink cement block that looked like it was built in the sixties. This newly renovated airport had huge windows, relaxing outdoor seating, and glorious palm trees. It was a much-needed final hurrah and recharge before we flew home and were met with this:

This city is incredible but sometimes the weather makes me question my sanity.

Happy New Year, amateurs! How did you start 2015?

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