Friday 19 January 2024

Farewell 公公

Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo

One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au
Until we meet again

Sunday 7 April 2019

2019 Resolution

Hey everyone, I'm back! It has been a really (really) long time, and so much has happened in the past year (plus) that I've neglected this blog. I'd like to come back and share a few of the things I've done (big work trip to MX being one), but that will have to wait for another day. At the moment, I'd like to share my New Year's Resolution for 2019:

Read more books: at least one chapter a day, one book per month.

I skipped January, but have been doing a pretty good job since then. I'd like to give a brief review of each book I've read to date.
Feb 2019:
Give & Take by Adam Grant
A fascinating book that Troy loaned to me, it challenges the notion that being nice can be detrimental to your professional success by reviewing different case studies that the author researched. Having recently become a manager, I found the thoughts to be very interesting and quite aligned to how I'd like to do things. I highly recommend reading this book! Furthermore, I listened to an interview with Adam Grant on the Dave Chang podcast and will definitely be looking into more of his work in the future.
March 2019:
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
What an entertaining memoir by one of the most iconic food (and travel) presenters of the last couple decades. I thoroughly enjoyed the peek into the life of chefs as seen by Tony in his formative years. I had started this book years back and got distracted. This resolution, coupled with having Tony pass away sadly last year, drove me back to the book and I'm glad I've finally finished it. I'm thankful for all the stories Tony has left us with, but deeply saddened there must've been so many more that he will never get the chance to share. May those who's lives he's touched carry on his legacy. RIP Tony.

Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
It troubles me that a book written so long ago, and filled with such scary possibilities can still echo prominently in today's world. I picked up the book with the intention of just getting some background info before starting the critically acclaimed TV series and ended up being drawn into the dark world that Atwood created. May Gilead never become a reality and may there always be good people to protect the liberties of all.
April 2019:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
An American classic which I first read, and thoroughly enjoyed, in high school. I decided this would be a nice book to go back to and see if it still resonated with me after all these years. I'm glad to report that I found Fitzgerald's story of the Roaring Twenties just as captivating now as I remember it being in the past. Such vivid imagery (Dr Eckleberg's eyes and that green light come to mind) coupled with interesting and tragic characters (poor Gatsby). I've still never seen any of the films and I think I'll keep it that way to avoid Hollywood sullying my own imagination. :-)
May 2019:
Thirteen Orphans: Breaking the Wall by Jane Lindskold
Oh boy. I was given this book by Cindy (inside joke) and I must say it's pretty remarkable that this lady crafted a fantasy novel based around Mahjong. This isn't really my kind of novel, but I did really enjoy the world building that went into it and how an ancient Chinese game using tiles was the source of even more ancient magic. I was most disappointed that there was all this build up and a less than satisfactory conclusion that ended in a cliffhanger. Guess I better go find the next book...or not.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
An interesting book that looks into some really successful individuals (and even some groups) to delve into the circumstances of their success. It showed that while determination and hard work played a significant role, sometimes fortunate opportunities can come about due to situations in the surrounding world. For example, many of Silicon Valley's titans came of age right at the time where computers became easier to use and more commonly accessible (at least in the academic world). The biggest thing I learned from the book? You need about 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert. Well, I better get on it!
June 2019:
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Another classic and truly one of my favorite books. I love the satire, dystopian scenario, fake religion, and crazy characters that weave together to form an engaging story. Vonnegut organized the book into short but impactful chapters that keep you moving briskly through to the climactic and apocalyptic ending. A book I will surely return to time and again, it serves as a poignant (and entertaining) reminder of the awesome and horrible capacity of mankind.

Mālama Honua: Hōkūle'a - A Voyage of Hope by Jennifer Allen
Back into the non-fiction realm, I read this book about the journey of Hōkūle'a, a Hawaiian voyaging canoe, which undertook an around the world sail from 2013 to 2017. The purpose of the voyage was to instill responsibility in "Mālama Honua" (caring for the Earth) and to share the inspiration which Hōkūle'a represents: a reconnection with traditional culture that started in the 1970's through the rekindling of non-instrumental navigation practiced by ancient Polynesians. Growing up in Hawaii, you can't help but be exposed to the Hawaiian culture and though I never actively pursued it, I cherished and admired the chances I had to learn and participate. Reading this book reawakened that connection to Hawaii, to home, despite my now living thousands of miles away. I felt very emotional at times as I read about this amazing journey and the phenomenal people involved. Making this book even more special was that I was gifted the book by family friend Jason Patterson, an apprentice navigator who sailed parts of the trip on Hōkūle'a. I had the privilege of seeing Jason and his family when the canoe was in Auckland in 2015 (right when I first moved here). Anyways, a really inspirational book that captures an amazing journey around the world, reinforces our responsibility to the planet, shares touching stories, and even touches on the history of what lead up to where we are today with respect to the Polynesian renaissance. Plus, the book features phenomenal photos!
July 2019:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
I had been wanting to read this since re-watching Bladerunner (The Final Cut) and seeing Bladerunner 2049 in theaters a couple years ago. I found that I appreciated the familiarity of setting the book mostly in SF (compared to the film choosing LA). I loved the film's stylistic choice to adopt film noir aesthetics and themes and see it as inspired filmmaking. My favorite moment in the book had to be the scene where Deckard administers the Voigt-Kampff test to Rachael (which the movie stayed very true to) and I felt that magical giddiness when you read something fantastic. The only thing I didn't like was the techno-religion of Mercerism which added an interesting element, but was something that I found distracting. Overall, a seminal work of sci-fi literature that heightened my appreciation of the film!

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Another novel turned into a film, and another which I saw the film before I read the book. My imagination, again, was heavily influenced by what I saw on screen. The movie will always be special for being the phenomenon it was and the brilliance of that cast. The book did provide more depth for a variety of characters, in particular Colin, Eleanor, and most of all, Astrid (and Charlie). But the book did go over the top with respect to the ridiculousness of the wealth on display compared to the film and I think in the interest of a tight and fluid story, the film struck the right balance. With that said, I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book before the next film comes out and we'll see how I feel after that!
August 2019:
The Martian by Andy Weir
The book came recommended by friends and did not disappoint. Furthermore, I actually read the book without previously having seen the film! Highly entertaining (I laughed audibly at times), exciting and played out in my mind quite cinematically. I'm eagerly awaiting finally watching the movie in order to compare my imagination to Hollywood's depiction (admittedly I did imagine Matt Damon as Watney having known that he plays our hero). Maybe I'll drop an update on here when I do?!
September 2019:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Issue 1: "Welcome Back to the Hellmouth" by Jordie Bellaire & Joss Whedon
A well received graphic novel that reimagines Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the modern era. As a fan who grew up with the original show, it was so much fun seeing familiar characters with subtle updates. This is just the beginning so there's a lot of potential for the writers to take it in a fresh and interesting direction. Surely more fun to come!
October 2019:
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Hey, I read another book before seeing the (to be filmed) movie! This sequel to CRA features the same charming and extravagant style of storytelling as the previous book. This time, the story picks up Nick & Rachel's storyline and moves it from Nick's Family to Rachel's. We also bounce around between stories centered around Astrid and Kitty Pong. Overall, I really enjoyed this sequel and continuing to learn more about these very interesting characters. I'm very curious where the film will take these stories and looking forward to how they will focus and refine the narrative as they did with CRA!
November 2019:
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
The last book in the CRA trilogy. The plot is centered around the dying matriarch of the family and all the actions of the various family members who have something to gain. It even dips into the past a bit to give more background of the grandma. I really enjoyed the early part of novel dealing with the relationship between Nick and his grandma (which was strained from the events of the previous novels). The rest of it was an exercise in reading to see how everything plays out at the end (i.e. a noticeable drop in enjoyment). Really, really interested to see if the movies will adhere closely to the events of the novel or take some artistic license. We will see!
December 2019
Endure by Alex Hutchinson
This book is very similar to Outliers (the foreward is even written by Malcolm Gladwell), but with a laser focus on running (or generally endurance sports). There's a central narrative running through the book dealing with Kipchoge's (first) attempt at breaking the 2 hour barrier for the marathon (which I'm glad to have seen he did on the second attempt). And the surrounding chapters deal with different aspects that have been studied to see how they influence human endurance. As I've gotten more into running this year, it was a fascinating read. Maybe if I get even more serious, I can apply some of the ideas I learned from reading the book. :-P
It has been a great year of reading and I'm glad I focused on it as my resolution. Hopefully it's something I can continue into next year. Take care everyone!

Saturday 1 September 2018

Month in MX 2018

Hi all. Work sent me to Tijuana for a month. I had quite a bit of fun exploring Mexico during the week and reconnecting with many friends in the States on my weekends. Check it out!

SFO bound! I can't give Air NZ enough credit for their attention to little details such as this. Definitely one of the delightful things I notice on each trip (and of course keep sharing with you all each time I fly with the national airline). The sharp eyed of you may notice that the seat (10K) is towards the front of the plane...a privilege of international work travel!

After a very restful night's sleep on the Business Class lie-flat seat, I awoke refreshed and enjoyed this delicious omelet.

One of the first things I did was to meet up with Jason & Susanna in the Mission. We got ice cream at the amazing Garden Creamery. My choices (on the cone) were Hojicha and Black sesame.

Being in the Mission and so "close" to many fantastic ice cream parlors, we walked over to Bi-rite Creamery for Round 2.

Third stop was food-free and we dropped by Imran's for a quick chat on the roof deck (unfortunately Chandana was ill and couldn't join us)!

The next morning was the 2018 Soccer World Cup Final between France and Croatia. Deryck and I got croissants (Arsicault of course) and enjoyed watching the match live. I wore my France jersey and the team came through for the win!

After catching up over lunch with Kevin, Noelle invited us up to her office for a coffee and a chat. It was lovely getting to hang out with a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge!
As an early b-day present, I treated Deryck to a meal at State Bird Provisions (1 Michelin Star). What a fantastic meal. Here are some highlights:

Red trout with vinaigrette

State Bird with provisions (fried quail -- their signature dish)

Fried rice with kim chi, short rib, and mushrooms (my favorite from the evening)

The next day, I ran an errand to Ikea and snapped this pic. It's an inside joke if you've seen Terrace House: Opening New Doors.

I also made the pilgrimage to Apple Park to glance at HQ.

Last day of the pre-work portion of the trip, I enjoyed a Kouign-amann (again Arsicault) for breakfast before departing for the airport.

Fare thee well SFO. See you again (soon).

Good afternoon San Diego!

First day at the FPH Tijuana office, we went out to lunch for tacos. I present to you Taqueria La Fiesta.

My order was 2 Tacos Especial (the ones on the left with Shrimp and Birria - stewed beef, and the one on the right an Adobada). All delicious. Also, 2 tacos would've been plenty.

Day 2 at the office was a Friday and I ended it a little early to head back to the US. Over the weeks, I would become very used to making this (always time consuming) journey across the San Ysidro Border Crossing...

Eventually, I made it to San Diego where I was obliged to eat a late lunch at Lolita's. I ordered the California Burrito (carne asada, cheese, salsa, guacamole and fries wrapped in a tortilla) since it's a San Diego specialty. Very delicious.

Coincidentally it was Comic Con in SD. While I didn't have tickets to the main convention, I had just enough time to briefly say hi to Traci & Erik and then take a quick peek at the exhibit set up for Star Trek Discovery. It featured many props used in Season 1, including this costume worn by Michelle Yeoh's Empress Georgiou character. And then I had to hustle to get to San Diego airport to fly to back to SF...

The reason I went back was to watch the Rugby Sevens World Cup, which was taking place that weekend at AT&T Park. Here's the Men's All Black Sevens team warming up for an afternoon match.

That evening, we were privileged to witness the NZ Women's Sevens team win the Final and be crowned World Champions!

And in the aftermath, we caught sight of (retired All Black) Keven Mealamu and asked for a cheeky selfie!

And on Sunday, Deryck and I popped down to Levi's Stadium to watch a preseason match between Manchester United and the San Jose Quakes.

And on the way to SFO to catch a late afternoon flight back to San Diego, we watched the Men's All Black Sevens team win the Final and be crowned Champions (via streaming).

Back at the office during the week, I decided to try the legendary FPH MX cafeteria. All of the above (pan fried chicken, roasted chilis, rice, refried beans, tortilla chips, mini quesadilla and salsa) cost < US$5. Amazing flavor and value.

That night I apparently was hungry and went to a food truck for a late dinner. I saw on the menu an option to "Prueba todo" (which means to try everything), which I interpreted as a way to sample a few of the different items on the menu. I did not realize (until it was too late) that it meant I literally got one of EACH item on the menu. I was so full after this meal. I'm happy to report that I finished everything.

A few of us took a day trip up to Orange County, CA to visit one of our suppliers and on the way back to MX that evening, I stopped in Irvine for dinner with Claudia. It was great catching up over some yummy Paella!

At the end of the week, I had more travel plans (catching the theme yet?). With time to kill before my flight out of San Diego, I visited Balboa Park. Just my luck, it was a special night at the San Diego Museum of Art with free admission. First up, Caged Pie by Wayne Thiebaud. Love his style and color palette.

Beastly Beestinger by Alexander Calder. Yup, sure looks like a Calder.

The Shadows by René Magritte. There's one of his common motifs: a pipe. (More from Magritte to come)

I also had a wee bit of time to catch up with my former FPH colleague (and fellow American) Jake! So happy I got to see you and Jess in your lovely home. All the best and hope to see you soon.

Okay, so this is one picture that I'll use to describe a whole I am on approach into LAX. I had a tight connection (< 1 hr) because I had used reward miles to book my connecting flight (to SFO) and I was ready to run from gate to gate. Of course, the gates end up being in different terminals so as soon as the door opened I started sprinting. I got to the next gate breathing heavily with about 15 minutes to go before departure and...the door was already closed! (So frustrating as they knew there were a couple of us coming from this other flight). Anyhow, I go to customer service and they inform me if they rebook me, I would have to fly out the next morning to my final destination, PDX, via Denver...and I would arrive in the afternoon with only a couple hours to spare before I would need to be at a wedding (instead of my scheduled morning arrival, via SFO). That would be unacceptable so I made a quick decision to rent a car one-way and drive from LAX to SFO to make my connecting flight the next morning. And I was in my rental car and onto the 405N by Midnight. 6 hours later, I pulled into the SFO rental center just after sunrise and then over to the gate with a bit of time to spare before the SFO-PDX flight departed. Phew...what a long, sleepless night on the road, but I made it! TL;DR I HATE LAX.

The obligatory PDX carpet photo. Glad it's a picture of my feet and not of my tired face.

Josh came to pick me up from PDX as planned and we decided to do a bit of sightseeing before I got too tired. First stop was the beautiful Multnomah Falls.

Breakfast was a stop at Pip's Original where we picked up a half dozen each of a variety of flavors. Really yummy. They also serve fantastic chai.

Lunch was from 808 Grinds for some awesome, broke da mout' food! Josh and I shared this kalua pig and mochiko chicken plate with a side of furikake fries and butter mochi. We didn't finish this all (we just had breakfast shortly before) so we packed it up for Josh to take home.

I snuck in an afternoon nap, then I got dressed up for Steph and Evan's wedding! After a concise ceremony, we had a drinks break before dinner. Here I am hanging out and catching up with Troy (L) and Molby (R). Also, one important note, there was an extreme heat wave in Portland that weekend and it was over 100˚F in the afternoon...yikes!

Then it was dinner time. They sure picked out a delicious menu!

And then cake cutting! Congrats Evan & Steph!!! (Someone was excited for cake)

Post-wedding Photo Booth shenanigans with the Prometheus crew.

Post-wedding, I met up with Josh and a couple of his friends for a visit to the Multnomah Whiskey Library. I don't believe I've ever been somewhere with such an extensive selection of spirits available. Truly remarkable.

Since I'm in Portland, I gotta get some ice cream right? We dropped into Ruby Jewel Scoops and I was not disappointed. I sadly cannot remember what flavors I got. Just trust me when I say they were delicious.

Thanks for being a great host Josh. I hope I can come back to Portland sometime and spend more than just a weekend. It's a great, weird city.
Lastly, we grabbed an early dinner at Imperial. American food using local ingredients. Quite delicious:

Grilled artichokes (a seasonal specialty)

My first taste of the Impossible Burger (plant-based meat substitute). I will say that I didn't think it tasted quite like meat, but it was very satisfying and "meat-like" i burger form.

Friday 29 September 2017

Cali Visit (J&M Wedding)

Hello my dear reader. Please enjoy these pics (and a few non-pics) recapping my brief (but amazing) trip back to California in August/September.

Let's start at the airport. No lounge this time, but I got to hang out a bit with Mark before the flight and we opted for some pre-flight Macca's. Good old Georgie Pie!

I've mentioned it before, but I'll mention it again: I really do appreciate this little detail.

Spicy Asian Chicken. Nothing spectacular, but tasted okay and sounded like a better option than "beef pasta". Best part of the meal had to be the Kapiti Black Doris Plum ice cream.

Back at SFO and, of course, enjoying their interesting and engaging exhibits. This one depicted United's close ties to Hawaii throughout its history of flying.

After a sleepless night in a tent in Los Padres National Forest (no thanks to wandering animal sounds), Grant & I set off to look for signs of wild pig in the pre-dawn light. We saw lots of coyote poo and a couple deer, but no signs of the specific animals we sought.

We covered a few miles and several hundred feet of elevation with no luck. Once the sun got high enough, the temperatures soared and we took a break for food and to seek shade. Around mid-afternoon, we set off again to search one last pre-determined area. When we found no recent signs of potential pig activity, we made the call to pack up and head back to civilization (i.e. LA). Our first hunt may not have resulted in success, but we learned a lot and will apply the knowledge towards future hunts.

Pre-dawn LA from Angeles National Forest. We went deer spotting with much greater success than we had in Los Padres. Mercifully cooler weather, but swarms of Canyon flies really reduced the level of enjoyment. Good, preliminary reconnaissance prior to the start of deer season.

Being back in civilization, we decided to make the most of the weekend and met up with Judy and some friends for lunch in Little Tokyo. I opted for the Ikura (salmon roe) cold udon from Marugame Monzo. Simple and flavorful. Not pictured, the delicious tempura soft-boiled egg I ordered as a side.

Next up, Black sesame mochi ice cream from Mikawaya (the brand who popularized mochi ice cream). So yummy.

Then, I got a "Koko Churro" roll from Dulce. Based on their popular Tapioca Roll (crusty exterior, soft/chewy interior), this adds coconut sugar and cinnamon to give it that extra sweetness. Really yummy and something just a bit different.

And finally (at least during our Little Tokyo eating spree), Hojicha soft serve from Midori Matcha Cafe. Pretty legit if you ask me. Their Matcha soft serve tasted amazing too, but I'll give bonus points for the Hojicha variant being less commonly available (*spoiler* foreshadowing).

Later that evening, Grant, Judy & I had a lovely dinner at Bone Kettle in Pasadena. Amazing broth, flavorful meats and generally good food with friendly service. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pics. I did, however, get a picture of our post-dinner dessert from the neighborhood favorite: 21 Choices. I went with their Organic Peanut Butter flavor. Simple and tasty. I'm not overly sentimental about LA, but I've missed 21 Choices so much!
On Monday morning, after a quick bit of archery practice at the range, Grant dropped me off at BUR for the flight back up to SFO. Just before checking in, I managed to grab a quick bite and chat with Traci. So glad we could catch up since it has been such a long time since our last! Oh, and if you happen to like comics and podcasts, check out her great podcast: Comic Potluck!

Back in SF again, I met up with Sue & Ant at the Ferry Building before embarking on a quick, afternoon tour of some of the city's landmarks. After a drive down Lombard Street, we made it to the Painted Ladies. You may recognize them from the opening credits of Full House.

Seeking something different for Sue & Ant to try, we first attempted to go to Burma Superstar on Clement St, but faced a 45+ minute wait (not something us hungry people fancied). Instead, we ended up around the corner at Cajun House for some good old fashioned seafood boil. House fried rice, Cajun shrimp and Lemon butter Crab legs. Yum.

The next day began with a stop at Tartine. While there, I had to indulge in a Morning Bun. Incredible.

On our drive down to Facebook for lunch, Sue and Ant got a hold of my phone and changed my wallpaper to this. Charming. :-) After an intensely filling meal, we visited Stanford for a quick campus tour including stops at the Rodin Sculpture Garden and the Memorial Church.

That evening, I met up with Jason, Susanna and Ed for dinner in San Mateo. After discovering (to our disappointment) that Bonchon doesn't open on Tuesday nights (yeah, really), we ended up at Koja Kitchen for their Asian fusion fare. Again, good food and great company.

The next day, I took the BART out to Berkeley for an awesome breakfast and catch up with Brent. I wish we had more time to chat, but he had a busy day and I'm glad he set aside a bit to spend with me. Anyways, after that I met up with Deryck and Kevin for some lunch and we ended up choosing to go to the Tartine Manufactory. Man, their baked stuff tastes amazing.

For dessert, I picked out a slice of their Tres Leches cake (since I already had a morning bun the day before). It did not disappoint. Oh, and we ate this before actual lunch since they served it to us first. Oops.

After Deryck returned to work, Kevin and I met up with Jason for an early afternoon scoop at Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous. I tried their fantastic black sesame. Very nice.

And then, Kevin and I finished the afternoon at Urban Putt (indoor mini putt). We completed the "Pink Putter Challenge" by playing the course with their shortest available putter (the pink one) and got our photo taken to be put up on the wall. Gangsta.

And at the end of the day, I had dinner with the F&P gang (and those associated) at Fish in Sausalito. We managed to split the Kiwis on the left and the Americans on the right. Good times all around.

The next day began with a Ham & Cheese croissant from the amazing Arsicault Bakery. Legit.

Then, I went back to my old 'hood for lunch at Los Gallos with the old work crew. Al Pastor tortas = yum. Great seeing all the Abbott folks even if just for a little bit.

After that, I spent a bit of time hanging out with Nick at the local Starbucks talking story before heading back to the City. Then, onward to dinner at old favorite Izakaya Sozai with Deryck. Get ready for some food pics. We started with the Agedashi tofu. Delicious.

Next, we got the Shishito peppers. Always a nice dish, and one I haven't had in a while!

Then, grilled skewers! Pork jowl on the left, chicken meatball on the right. Tasty.

My main dish: Salmon Sashimi, Ikura and Okra Ochazuke (rice with tea). Very yummy. I just wish I had a slightly bigger portion.

Finally, dessert: fried mochi, azuki (red) beans and vanilla ice cream. They ran out of their Jasmine tea ice cream (supposedly good), so I'll have to try that next time!

We made it to Friday! Deryck and I decided to check out ‘āina for some local kine food in California. We started with their housemade "Spam" musubi. Safe to say, the fanciest version I've ever had.

Next up, Guava jelly filled malasadas. Pretty damn good, I must say. And super visually appealing.

Deryck chose the Chicken katsu with udon "mac" salad and an omelette as his main dish.

I went for the Short Rib "Loco Moco" with a rich mushroom gravy. Supa ono!

After lunch, Deryck headed back to the office and I went to check out the SFMOMA (my first visit since their major renovation). A few of the things that caught my eye included this installation, "Gutter Corner Splash: Night Shift" by Richard Serra.

And of course, I enjoyed seeing a couple of Wayne Thiebaud's paintings which I hadn't seen before ("Canyon Mountains" on top, "Flatland River" below).

That afternoon, Liz, Sue, Ant and I headed to AT&T Park to see the Giants take on the Cardinals. On Star Trek Night no less (bonus points if you can spot Locutus in this picture).

All smiles early when the Giants had the lead. And, of course, rocking the appropriate color on Orange Friday.

Obligatory Gordon Biersch Garlic Fries while at AT&T.

Pre-wedding Tacos at Nopalito in the Inner Richmond with Sue & Ant. I opted for the Tacos de Pescado al Pastor (and a Horchata, because why not). Nom nom nom.

The F&P gang back together again to celebrate Jess & Mark's nuptials. The Barn made for a stunning reception location!

The First Dance. Congrats you guys!!!!!

The OG Flatmates (i.e. Me & the Sisticles: Angela and Jess). What an awesome night!

Since I'm here in the Bay, my trip would not be complete without seeing my various Hānai Families. That started earlier in the day with a lunchtime visit with the Inouye/Lees and the Inouye/Wongs. So glad I got to see everyone (and meet Benji)! Then, a quick catch up with some old former Abbott folks, Chrysbe, Harman, Nic (+ Justin & Reilly). Finally, dinner with T, Amy, Troy, Evan, Sonya, Lori, Bernie, L, Cindy, and Brooks (oh, and how can I forget Buster at the bottom center). Miss you all so very much!!!

NZ spoils me with some seriously delicious ice cream, but I still miss the homemade amazingness of Cindy's ice cream. Hojicha (!), Green Tea, and Strawberry this time around. So good. Thank you so much for the ice cream (and whisky cake) Cindy!

All good things must come to an end. The last day came and went so quickly that I apparently didn't take any photos. I had breakfast/lunch & boba with Deryck, Brad & Patti at the surprisingly tasty Burmese restaurant Mingalaba in Burlingame. Then, dinner with Deryck, Sue, Ant, Nick, Jessie, and Evelyn at our favorite, Fat Wong's in San Bruno. Afterwards, Deryck, Sue, Ant & I went to the airport where I did a bit of luggage reshuffling, farewelled my brother, and chilled with Sue & Ant before running to my gate to make my flight. Then, back to NZ I went...

Thanks so much to everyone who spent a bit of time with me on this trip, particularly Deryck, Grant & Judy for the accommodation. Much Love and Aloha. See you all again soon.