I used to write these New Year reflection posts but its been a long time. This year I was inspired by Dare Obasanjo’s Mastodon post about the “Wheel of Life” as a structure for how to evaluate the past year. Coupled with the recent resurgence of this blog, I bring you the following reflection.
Friends and Family
I reconnected with some folks that I have not seen or talked to in a long time. I met Brian in DC after 12 years. I hung out with Nathan a lot, went to SJ Earthquakes games and many dinners with Manuel, did some QBRs with Scott, spent some time hacking on Proceemo with Steve, got some inspiration from Edith, had some great conversations with Omar, kept learning from Joe and Tyler, took another prom photo with Zena, had dinner with Aaron, saw Tom twice, popped into NYC to grab a drink and some advice with Hector, saw a baseball game with Tad, spent some quality time with CJ, had whiskey and dim sum with Dan, saw Unni in SF and Philly, had the perfect Jerusalem bagel with Eric, I saw Nick and family in Montana, had Hot Pot with Frank in Toronto, met Sophia and Raymond in my favorite Brooklyn food court for chinese food and ice cream, Danced in Oakland with Jason, hung out with Elaine and Moi a few times over yummy chinese food, saw Rod and his family at Peking Duck House, I laughed for hours with Jordan and Rickey, and had another awesome trip involving boats with Kevin and Le to Victoria.
I spent quality time in Cincinnati, feeling grateful for the Breeze Airways direct flight that makes traveling back there less painful. I was able to see Yuri and Nigina several times, we played a lot of slots and look forward to better luck next year. My nephews turned 3 and 4, my grandpa turned 91. I took a lot of pictures where I am hugging my mom this year. I got to spend my 35th birthday in Montreal with Aosheng and my parents. We were able to pull off a surprise visit to Aosheng’s family in China to celebrate his birthday. Capturing the moment when he surprised his mom at the dance class was so special.
I remain the luckiest person on Earth, deeply enjoying the adventure that I am on with Aosheng through space and time.
Went to a bunch of SJ Earthquakes Games, was especially nice to spend time with Manuel.
Went to 4 concerts, this was way less than the one per month plan we were on the previous year but they were all wonderful: Jason Moran, Caroline Polachek, and Black Pink in SF and Kim Petras in NYC.
We ate so much good food this year. Highlights were:
- Ping’s Bistro in San Mateo, pork knuckle 🤤
- Sandy’s Muffaleta in San Francisco, best sandwich in SF.
- Mama Huhu in San Francisco, Try the banana oatmilk ice cream.
- Mr. Jiu’s in San Francisco, perfectly cooked roast duck.
- Mr. Fish in Toronto, cute and delicious.
- Hopscotch :’( - shut down, went two days in a row for the last hurrah.
- Akikos, made it to the fancy omakase place across the street to celebrate 2 years of not smoking.
- Went to La Banquise in Montreal and Barney Greengrass in NYC in honor of Anthony Bourdain.
- Best fried chicken of my life in Xi’An.
- Tai Er 太二, went three times in China and once in Flushing, life changing pickle fish. 多喝热水!
- Sichuan Mountain House in Flushing
- Xi’An Famouse Foods and Zhong Zhong Noodle in Brooklyn.
- Red Fish Blue Fish in Victoria BC, some of the best unpretentious seafood ever.
Celebrated 2 years of quitting smoking (and counting!). It has been especially rewarding to see some of my old posts where I write about wishing I could quit smoking as far back as 2008.
I had a goal to exercise every day this year. I made it pretty far into April before needing to skip a day. I am proud that I never skipped a whole week. 53 weeks and going strong! Best part of this was taking super long walks. My favorite one was taking the 38R to Lands End and then walking back home along the coast. It was just over 11 miles and took me 3.5 hours.
I cooked so much food this year and took my cooking skills to a whole new level. Highlights for me were making a master stock braising liquid, starting a batch of Sichuan style pickles, Tea Eggs, and learning how to make a perfectly crispy scallion pancake.
I made some real progress in Chinese. I studied a little bit every day this year and my vocabulary grew significantly. I want to take the HSK level 1 test in 2024 to make it over the milestone of elementary proficiency.
I wanted to read 52 books, which is my normal goal, but fell short and finished the year at around 39. Once I started seeking out intentionally short books in the last few weeks of the year I realized that I was hacking the system which defeats the whole purpose for me, so I gave up and am excited to start again this year.
You can see my entire 2023 reading log here. Some of my favorites this year were:
- Beijing Comrade by Bei Tong - Rare LGBT Chinese fiction and a heartbreaking story.
- Consider This by Chuck Palahniuk - Inspiring book for aspiring writers.
- (re read) Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain - I listened to the audio book version of this. It was wonderful because Anthony reads it. He is missed.
- Listened to a ton of David Sedaris - overall very good but realized that I can only take some much “twee” at a time.
- Principles by Ray Dalio - philosophy on how to approach your life and work.
- Eat a Peach by David Chang - also listened to him read this, fascinating peek into the mind of a brilliant chef.
- (re read) Last Lecture by Randy Pausch - inspiring, heartbreaking, still brings me to tears. Don’t leave your 20s without reading this book.
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer - finally finished this book that Kevin gave me. Literally changed my life and has led to me keep a daily journal to prevent life from turning into one big blur.
- Invisible Planets by Ken Liu - great collection of Chinese Science Fiction.
- Soul Boom by Rainn Wilson - a surprisingly powerful book by someone I didn’t ever think to take seriously. Gave me a lot to think about, still thinking about some of the ideas months after reading.
- Trip to Monterey was healing, we saw so many stars.
- Aosheng left for China in February. We spent a few days in Vancouver together which was really special.
- Tralev - I knocked out a few more capitals, only two to go!
- Dover, DE
- Lansing, MI
- Bismark, ND
- Pierre, SD
- Helena, MT
- Popped into DC and caught up with Brian for the first time in many years. I was sad to See Mazza Galleria also shut down. I wanted to visit Gerald on the way back from Deleware but made it to the cemetary about 20 minutes after closing.
- Rode in a Roomette on a train from from Chicago to Cincinnati for the first time, bittersweet arriving in Union Terminal since it is a shell of its former self.
- Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal for my Birthday. Highlights were:
- So much good food
- seeing the gayberhood from Queer as Folk
- St. Lawrence Market
- Riding Street Cars
- Montreal -> turning 35, so many amazing pedestrian zones
- Reno, Tahoe. Pyramid Lake
- Pyramid Lake is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I had a spiritual experience starting into the lake.
- Trip to LA for our anniversary.
- Keith Haring at Broad
- Grand Central Market
- Dinner at Kato
- Many trips to Cincinnati, for all the regular reasons
- Victoria, BC with Kevin and Le
- Lisbon Portugal for Dagger Company Offsite
- New York round 1, discovered XFF, discovered FLUSHING <3
- Chengdu, Nanchong, Xi’An, Shanghai, Saigon for 20 hours
- New York round 2, just cant get enough
This was a real rollercoaster.
- I escaped an imploding startup, learned a ton of valuable lessons, I’ll write about these more someday.
- I dreamed of starting a company, built a much stronger friendship with Karthik. We’re not finished yet.
- I found my people at Dagger, feels good to be home.
Overall it was a fantastic year. I took a ton of photos, had some amazing experiences, ate delicious food, traveled the world, and spent time with people I love.
I was born in the year of the Dragon, so I hope 2024 will be an especially good year for me.
Some Goals for 2024
- Keep exercising regularly, reintroduce 8 counts into my life.
- Read 52 books, I’ve already finished one!
- Pass HSK Level 1
- See more concerts.
- Take lots of pictures.
- Write more.
- Laugh once per day.
- Travel as much as I can.
- Spend quality time with family and friends.
- Vest some stock options :)
Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
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