Tiffanie and I celebrate twenty years of friendship this year. We first bonded over a mutual love of singing in a local children’s choir, and saw each other through all the awkward childhood transitions, into adulthood. I like to think that we’re wiser and more mature now, but sometimes when we’re together, our obnoxious silliness still tends to seep out and betray us. From the girlish crushes of our young days, to now a greater understanding of what love really means, we celebrate the whimsical melodies of life–at once both turbulent and soothing.
I had lots of fun photographing this dear friend with the man who’s made her so happy, and wish them joy as they journey into the future, hand in hand.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since our last food post. Life has been so busy and it’s been hard to find time to blog these days.
Tiffany was craving tacos, so we spontaneously decided to go grab lunch at The Taco Stand in La Jolla. We chose this place because it serves al pastor tacos and it’s a lot closer than Tacos El Gordo.
The Taco Stand
621 Pearl Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
It is, perhaps, a bit silly to write on and share our third anniversary photos when the fourth will be upon us in just two months time. However, I suppose this will be more of a reflection on the direction our family has decided to take. The past year has contained so many drastic changes (or more accurately, a complete 180 degree shift) that sometimes we look at one another and wonder how we got here, and what our lives even looked like before all this.
Precious Hannah was born on April 28, 2018 to Jesse and Erica, and already she is the object of love and devotion from countless people. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but from the moment of her birth, Hannah will be surrounded by several villages, full of people who are eager to nurture and spoil her.
In the blink of an eye, she has already graced this world for one month, with a whole lifetime stretching before her. She loves her mommy and daddy, and listens intently to grandma’s soothing voice. She enjoys listening to the Totoro theme song, and rocking in the rocking chair. During our newborn shoot, she slept soundly through multiple changes of hands and clothes, but her favorite spot seems to be in her daddy’s arms.
There are 153 million orphans in the world.
I have heard this number numerous times in the past. It showed up sometimes on my Facebook feed, often followed by some heartfelt plea for more workers in the field. It was preached from the pulpit, demanding recognition, shouting with urgency. “Think of it: 153 million children without families. Think.”
And yet the numbers never gripped me. It was a foreign problem, one that did not affect me and so did not insist upon my attention. As Stalin famously said, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” So I closed my heart to it, dismissing it as a problem meant for someone else. After all, what could I do in the face of such overwhelming numbers?
I watched this young lady grow from a squalling newborn into her teenage years. Looking at her now, I wonder where all the time went. As cliche as it may sound, it feels like only yesterday when she would trail after me, a tottering three-year-old, or an eight-year-old blurting out life truths far beyond her years.
Now she stands upon the cusp of adulthood, only a mere two years before she leaves her youth behind forever. I feel a twinge of bittersweet nostalgia as I recall all the years we have spent together, two cousins bound by blood, then true friendship, always feeling as though time has passed much too fast. But I am proud of the mature young lady she has become, one with a depth of compassion and sensitivity that makes her seem far wiser than her number of years.
She walks in radiance, crowned with the sun.
With the resurgence of superhero films, we see individuals with mighty powers and special abilities make war against evil and injustice. We see the bad guys lose, and we cheer. The day is won! Justice prevails!
Then we go back to our ordinary lives, where evil doesn’t always look like one guy in a purple suit. Sometimes it’s hidden behind banality—hidden deep within human hearts.
I like to think of myself as someone fairly considerate of people with disabilities. Growing up with my mom taught me that. I was a Good Person. Tiffany Chu: Fearless Advocate of Disabled People. Or so I thought.
But on the last day of our retreat in Shanghai, our team proceeded to quickly scramble out the door of our towering apartment complex; we had an appointment to make, you see. The subway station was an offensive two blocks away, and we had to get there. As our physically handicapped friends tottered behind, we physically capable beings stormed ahead, heedless of their struggles to keep up. I stole glances behind me, even as the distance grew between us—a painful reminder of the differences we had worked so hard to close over the past few days. But what did that matter when we had a subway to catch, an appointment to keep? I was torn between the desire to also keep up with the rest of the group, and the nagging thought that we should slow down and wait for them. I thought to myself, “It’s ok, they’ll catch up when we get there.” Then continued on my way.
Sometimes the greatest things in life are simple: a intimate gathering of loved ones, a celebration of love without all the fuss and frills of a large wedding. This is where you can look into the eyes of each person standing beside you on a momentous day, and remember every face shining with happiness for you. Sometimes love doesn’t need to be a grand display to be beautiful. Sometimes all you need is the small presence of that special community that brought you together.
On August 3, two lovely souls became one, surrounded by the people that have supported them through the ups and downs of any committed relationship. On that day, they pressed their fingerprints upon the first page of a new journey, together.
North Park in southern San Diego has become known as the hipster foodie paradise, with cute new shops and restaurants springing up throughout the past few years. These places often provide unique backdrops for photographs, inviting artistic Instagram users to come and snap some truly adorable pictures to decorate their feeds with. One such cafe joining the ranks is Holy Matcha.
3118 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104