Sunday, December 20, 2009

"The time has come," the Walrus said

Your girl is coming home.

For providing me with the enlightenment of a world unknown
and the ignition to find more magic,
thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

home away from home

carlyn's apartment

pumpkin pie filling from scratch

manther and her milking boots

carlyn did mama johnston proud

candied yams, willa's specialty

thanksgiving will always be my favorite holiday

our international guests' first thanksgiving



courtesy of s. ram

denis and eugen, carlyn's sweet roommates: keep her safe, you two

the rhine

our last stop

pointing to her small town of vallendar

her small town of vallendar

in cologne to visit laura

american invasion

our wonderful hostess...who loves california

lovers' locks on the bridge

our first christmas market, painfully charming


who can resist

never gets old

miss you already

Vallendar, Germany had a substantial population increase when Willa, Samantha, and I visited our sweet Carlyn to celebrate my most beloved holiday, Thanksgiving. With thoughts of things-missed-from-home becoming more vivid with the arrival of the holiday season, I found my girls' enthusiasm to create an entirely homemade feast fit for royalty incredibly reassuring. And quite the feast it was. Phenomenal, really. For the rest of the weekend, Carlyn herded her little flock around the quaint town and eventually to the big city setting of Cologne wherein our hearts sang as we sipped spiced wine, nibbled on market savories and sweets, and took in the twinkling sights like one big multiracial, jet-setting family. We really could have been together anywhere in the entire world and still have been just as elated. And that is something for which I will be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

in spirit


You are a beautiful, hilarious, and kindhearted girl, my SiLala. Being your sister goes beyond any measure of happiness, and I wish you endless giggles in your fifteenth year.
I love you forever.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


little did we know where this sign would take us


a visit from the sun

our tour/life guide, gino

one of many wine cellars

a peak at our samplings

our samplings

castello di verrazzano's kitchen made two veggie eaters very happy

willa's surprise weekend getaway? le grotte de frasassi, world famous caverns!

my first stalagmites!

my first stalactites!

grotta grande del vento which can apparently hold the milan cathedral

my little spelunker

absolutely unreal

i thought this passageway was a joke at first...not a joke.

they refer to this one as an organ


the happier i am, the more asian i look. i'm really happy here.

couldn't dream it

vittorio, who renamed us vilma and sylvia

all natural

trying to do it justice

vittorio hosing down my boots

like two bats in a cave

memories in real-time

It goes without saying that my studies abroad have really been a compilation of less-than-textbook ventures, resembling more of a playfully rampant series of vacations with the apple of my eye, Willa. One of our latest trips found us in the Chianti region for my first wine tour at the charming Castello di Verrazzano winery. In the presence of good company, food, and a warmly lit hearth, we managed to savor much more beyond our emptied glasses. Continuing the weekend's sparkle, Willa schemed a surprise adventure for Saturday, having me meet her in the deserted town of Genga, a five hour train away, with no further instruction. Once again, my mischievous little scamp worked her magic and granted me a wish only she would be wondrous enough to materialize. We explored Le Grotte di Frasassi, a wildly ravishing system of caves, littered with whimsical limestone formations, tunnels, endless twists and turns, and giant stone ballrooms with ceilings ever-reaching towards the unreachable surface. And for a moment there, inside, sitting amongst the boulders, draped in an immensity of unthinkable blackness, with the echoed whisper of trickling water serving as the only remnant of sound, I smiled one of the most earnest and unrestrained smiles I have ever had. Thank you, Vilma :)