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Another year around the sun, another list of life happenings.  Here’s 24 things that have happened in the year before my 24th birthday.

  1. Got to revisit London, and explore parts I hadn’t visited with another Alex who I knew through my good friend Elizabeth, and our shared interest in Radiohead.  I only found out other Alex was going to be in London the same time as me a day or so before I left—I’d originally planned on doing the trip alone the whole time.  We spent a lot of time together and got to share lots of food that I wouldn’t have been able to really do by myself.  Not what I had planned, but I’m glad it happened the way it did.
  2. Treated myself to an afternoon tea experience fit for the upper echelon of society at Claridge’s.  I still dream about finding an English Breakfast tea as full and rich as Claridge’s special blend.  This definitely set the bar extremely high for any and all future tea experiences & solo dates.
  3. Successfully navigated my first significant rail debacle, even if I did totally forget to submit a claim to be refunded for my originally cancelled train.  You win some you lose some.
  4. Got to reunite with Alana, an Australian friend I met on a walking tour in Munich during my first Euro trip in 2017.  She was doing a year abroad at uni in Stirling and was able to come meet me when she saw my IG stories.  Super nice to catch up with her!
  5. Visited Scotland for the first time and had a few other subsequent firsts:
  6. Partook in some pretty serious solo day drinking as part of a gin tour with Edinburgh Gin.  I was the only person there alone and probably got judged a fair bit as a solo female at noon gin tasting but hey I learned a lot and definitely got my money’s worth
  7. Tried Haggis for the first time and was pleasantly surprised.  The idea of haggis never bothered me, but as with most UK food I had my doubts about how flavorful it would be.  I ended up getting haggis with black pudding mash and peppercorn gravy from Makars Gourmet Mash Bar and it was quite tasty.  The black pudding cubes in the mash were great, kind of reminded me of Taiwanese pork blood rice cakes.
  8. Visited the Scottish Highlands and connected with Zeblene, an Australian MBA student at Oxford.  Got to hear all about Oxford culture, and while it kinda seemed like she tried to dissuade me from pursuing it it kind of made me want to go even more?  
  9. Moved to a house in Downtown San Jose in February 2020 to be closer to work.
  10. Got to spend a bunch of quality time with my good friend Isabella and try a bunch of really great restaurants together, namely Pho Hanoi for excellent pho with handmade noodles and Abhiruchi for south Indian food and super tasty dosas.  Looking back on this, I’m really glad we got the opportunity to physically hang out so much and eat so much food together in the before times.
  11. Went to my first ever presidential rally (#FeelTheBern) with my new housemate Aidan and felt cautiously optimistic about the future
  12. Enjoyed a month and a half of a <20 minute walking commute to the office before Shelter in Place started and I temporarily moved back home because SIP’ing in a ~1000 sq ft house with <100 sq ft of personal space without AC during multiple heat waves didn’t seem particularly appealing
  13. Had to cancel 2 trips I had planned and was really looking forward to, one to New Orleans with Sydney and another to Italy (Rome/Florence) with Elizabeth.  In all my other # of things before # posts, there’s been a lot of focus on travel experiences, but this year not so much.  I’m pretty bummed, but I also recognize the amount of privilege I have to have been able to a) travel as much as I have and b) this be the “worst” way COVID has impacted my life
  14. Picked up digital illustration as a hobby and made an instagram for my portraits.  Got really into making collages in Photoshop, and it may be the only way I post on my regular instagram going forward.
  15. Got deployed as a Disaster Service Worker and did manual labor at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley for 3 months.  Got a lot closer with a lot of my coworkers and helped support families experiencing food insecurity in a super tangible way.  Lived in San Jose again.
  16. Participated in Black Lives Matter demonstrations in San Jose, and made some of my first donations to community based organizations and bail funds.
  17. Filed my first ever workers comp report because of a humiliating slip and fall injury—I completely ate it in front of a bunch of my coworkers and an entire national guard unit. 
  18. Got to spend a lot of quality time with my San Jose housemates and have a lot of really meaningful heart-to-hearts.  I’m really grateful for those grounding late-night conversations.
  19. Had to move back home because my San Jose housemates were no longer willing/able to live in San Jose.  I would’ve liked to have stayed, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to be paying SJ rent when I didn’t need to physically be there for work.  Also, the landlord ended up being a total asshole so it’s probably best we cut our losses when we did.  Definitely very grateful to have such a supportive family close by that’s willing to rehouse me for the time being.
  20. Closely followed my brother’s bicycling journey across the United States
  21. Celebrated 3 years working as an Environmental Inspector for the City of San Jose, even if the last few months haven’t had a whole lot to do with my actual job duties.  As I’m writing this, it’s been about a month since I’ve resumed conducting actual environmental inspections.
  22. Decided to take a class on Modern Fiction through my local community college and work towards getting an Associates in English and/or Liberal Arts for fun.  I’ve really enjoyed the class so far, I felt like I was getting into a bit of a rut with my leisure reading and this has helped expose me to novels and short stories I wouldn’t have chosen on my own.  Feels nice to be in an academic space again and be validated for my writing, too.
  23. Helped clean up Coyote Creek and pulled a ton of weird trash out of the waterways that flow into the San Francisco Bay.
  24. Voted in the 2020 Presidential Election #SettleForBiden
a twenty-something photographer & solo traveler based in the San Francisco Bay Area

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