This past Sunday I spent the day visiting my good college friend Irene in her hometown. I hadn't seen her in a year since the last time I visited after I'd graduated undergrad, and now not only has she graduated as well but she's also on her way to the Bay Area to pursue a PhD!
When Irene and I returned from viewing Kubo at a nearby cinema, we spent a couple hours chatting, drinking lots of tea and water (I was and still am having sinus and throat issues), and baking and eating Korean sesame bread. Then her brother came home with his girlfriend and Irene's mom made dinner for the whole family and two guests, a meal which included fried rice and homemade sweet potato and satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato) chips.
It truly was the best day. Just three days prior I'd met up with another college friend who's about to move far away and embark on an new journey of her own, and Sunday was another day that made me recognize how many brilliant and compassionate human beings I have in my life. A simple, uncomplicated day full of candid conversation, laughter, food, and small gestures that reminded me, Hey, there are some extraordinarily kind people out there. And I'm blessed to know some of them personally.
To top it all off, Irene gave me a few souvenirs from her two months of traveling around Asia this summer! She wrote me a lovely note (if you don't know already, Irene is good for a well-written, thoughtful and sincere note), and included with it some Japanese candy, a sage seed, and a cute little ram-shaped ceramic pot to plant it in. "It's good to have something to take care of", she explained. She's very much into the outdoors, vegetables, herbs, gardening and the like, so it was a very Irene-like gift to give. And I appreciate it so much!
Thank you Irene and family for your warmth and top-notch hospitality. You are phenomenal people and deserve nothing but all the best things. And good luck in grad school, Li-chan! I'm sure that you'll love the Bay and that eventually it'll love you back!