As we lit fireworks after midnight, I found myself mixed with emotions. I regard myself as aggressively balanced, so it surprised me to feel both deep sadness and hopeful expectation as twenty twenty-two began. It only became clear after looking back at twenty twenty-one in photos that I realized what I’ll be missing and be thankful for.
Charlene was chatting with my brother and me one late night two years ago. She was great about coming up to Portland to visit family between (or because of) adventures and I always try to get some time with her.
We were stewing around the dance of dating and relationships. It was a thoughtful discussion and I remember being confident that someday I would travel to California for her wedding.
20 years ago today, Grandpa Gene passed away. I was at work in Wilsonville for my MECOP internship at Mentor Graphics when I found out from Kevin. I left work immediately to go to Po Po’s house.
My mom cried a little when I first arrived, but then put on her strong face to take care of all the arrangements. His body had been already been taken from the house. Most of the rest of the day was a blur. I do remember that there wasn’t much for me to do, so I went out dancing at the Viscount that evening. It felt weird to be out dancing. He was my first time someone close in our family passed away.
Grandpa Gene taught me multiplication early in my childhood, which gave me confidence in math to be ahead of most of my peers.
He took Jack, Kevin, and I on trips to OMSI by bus because he didn’t drive, but we would spend the whole day at OMSI (back when it was next to the Oregon Zoo). I frequent OMSI with my kids today.
He taught Kevin, Jack, and I how to play bridge. We played that for hours with him. It’s an amazing card game mixing strategy, luck, and teamwork. He mainly taught us so that he could keep us from doing stupid stuff around his house like blowing up dog crap with fireworks we got from our dentist visits.
He loved parks. I remember going to parks often for family outings playing frisbee or badminton. He loved tennis but I never got a chance to play it with him. Though I wonder if it’s the reason I enjoy ping pong.
He was the one with a flash and a SLR camera taking family photos, back in the days with film and prints. Now, we all have cameras on our phones to capture our family adventures and share them on social media or text messages.
Thanks Gong Gong for the gifts from your life. They are still blessing me 20 years after.
Originally posted on our “Cousins from one Gene” Facebook group in 2019 and edited for new time reference. I wanted a permanent place for this memory on our blog.
One of my coworkers bought a drone for inspecting rooftops. Unfortunately, he crashed it and when he reported it to the manufacturer, they kindly sent him a replacement. He was shy to fly again and asked if my kids wanted to a drone. They might, I thought, but I was more interested.
Originally, it was just for a week or two. Maybe a month. Or a few months. But I returned to the office 15 months after Oregon closed down because of the pandemic. Not wearing a mask for the first time was abnormally normal and normally abnormal.
When Kadie didn’t get into the International School of Beaverton, it triggered the beginning of our ongoing house hunt. Our neighborhood middle school and high school have low ratings and a reputation for disengaged students. When we looked at our finances, it didn’t appear that we were able to move immediately, so we chose to home school Kadie for her middle school years.
Which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A year after, when we started looking at houses again, the pandemic took over, and the other two kids transitioned into distance learning at home. When school started back up in the fall, all three kids were home schooled. Our home started feeling a bit cramped, we were stuck with ourselves, so we decided to try searching for a house again.
We did it. We made it through 22 epic movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the kids. Ever since the first Avengers movie in 2012, I impatiently waited for the right age to share them and hold back all the spoilers. It’s been a long, long time.
Naming is hard, but it’s also important. A name is a communication tool that can quickly form a bond of understanding when it’s done well. It might even spark some humor, respect, or admiration if done very well.
A name doesn’t have to be original. Sometimes, making a clever association is a good name. Other times, a play on words is a great name. Here are a few names I’ve come up with that make me smile.
A year unlike any other. Three hundred and sixty six days with reasons of what to be grateful for, reminders of what not to hold tightly to, and recognition of how connected we all are.