Saturday, June 29, 2013


Ever since I landed Stateside and my luggage was stolen, I've been trying to find some of my old Mayle pieces and other pieces that got away.  In three months, I've done a pretty good job, though I know it will take time to replace my Federicka in the Amalfi print, which I wore all the time in Southeast Asia. I will forever associate that dress with long days at the Phnom Penh markets, small dinner parties at Gayla's house, chatting on a rooftop in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown, and walking Silom in Bangkok.  Sigh.

One piece I recently found was this green dress.  I've wanted it for years.  I may wear it to my rehearsal dinner this week.

I've finally chosen a dress for the wedding, but I'm tempted to throw on my Mayle Pina instead.  It is a small wedding in the meadows after all.  Wildflower bouquets.  The Rocky Mountains in the background.  Call it my Plan B.

These days, you'll probably see me talking to myself, saying, "This is a small, simple wedding."  Then, I end up fielding questions about last-minute guests, last-minute catering changes, about things to do in Colorado, etc.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Found while walking: summer.

We spend a lot of time walking in this city.  It's too easy - all these cobblestone streets and tiny little row-homes. 

During one of those weekend walks, we came across the Smithsonian Zoo.  It was free, so we continued to take a stroll through.  I haven't been to a zoo since I was a kid.  Oh wait, that's a lie!  We came across one in Kazakhstan, which was so sad that I must be trying to block it out of my memory. 

This zoo was much better, though I still have mixed feelings about zoos.  We walked by pandas sleeping, river otters rolling in the water, lionesses perched high above the peering crowds, and a thirsty elephant. 

Summer is everywhere: the flowerbeds in front of the brick row-homes are blooming, and the parks are green, covered with wildflowers.  But what's kind of magical is that, during our night walks, we see fireflies floating above grassy lawns.  Did we have fireflies in Portland?  If so, I never noticed.

Yesterday afternoon, as we were walking back from Georgetown, we came across a small chocolate shop, Fleurir.  I bought a cup of their strawberry basil ice cream.  It's probably the best savory-sweet ice cream I've had in a while. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Habits, pt. 1

For those days when I don't have to attend a meeting that requires dressing up, I have reverted to a work uniform, which takes most thought out of dressing: same old shoes, same necklace (more or less), and either a dress/shift or rolled up jeans and a top.  The last photo is of a shift I made during my last Cambodian tailor trip. I found the silk, just two and a half yards, at my favorite Toul Tumpong (Russian Market) stall.

My first day at work, my boss took me to coffee and, as he went over the obligatory introduction to the organization and human resources policies, I asked about dress code.  He said, "We don't care what you look like at work. We only care about your brain."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wedding dress ennui

via ?

This isn't my wedding dress, but, when I still lived in Asia, when I decided that my favorite Cambodian dressmaker, Monika, would be creating my dress, this was my inspiration.  I cannot remember now who makes this dress, so if someone knows, do tell.

During my last trip to Phnom Penh in December, I spoke to Monika about how much silk and lace I needed.  I even searched for materials in Bangkok, but did not find anything I really liked.  I thought I had several months to complete this task.

But a job came up in Washington DC, and I jumped.  And then, somehow I got the job, and I moved. 

I'm not very excited by the wedding dresses I've seen.  Actually, I am so disinterested in the choices.  It may just be because I've procrastinated and I'm running out of time.  Am I suppose to be in love with my wedding dress?  Isn't the more important thing that I'm excited about everything else, the man I'm marrying and our new life together?  (Being excited about both would be great.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Random thoughts on a June morning.

  via Thann
  • I'm working from home today.  I over-exerted myself this week by running around and then auditing an evening course on climate at the law school.  I'm flat out.  
  •  I feel like I have more of  a footing at work now than I did in March, but the nature of this work still feels strange some days and so much comes at you so fast.  I'm with a good group of people, who are passionate about their work, and that helps.  I've also accepted that this adjustment will take time.  Another thing that will help is that, earlier this week I connected with a community in Africa, who I will be working with on a project. 
  • I blame my Swiss-obsessed colleague in Bangkok for my slight obsession with Thann, a natural skincare line from Thailand.  I picked up a few things from the Aromatic Wood line while in Bangkok.  And a few weeks ago, Ethan's best friend sent me a little gift of Thann hair condition and oil as a thank you for letting him stay at our place. 
  • I received an email from a colleague in Bangkok.  Two of my appeals, one of which involved a Cambodian man, languishing from HIV, whose appeal had been on hold for 4+ years, were successful.  It was a good email to receive.  These refugees and their families will now go through the resettlement process and hopefully leave Thailand, which is not a favorable place for asylum seekers. I imagined the Cambodian man and his family, including his children, moving to Australia or some Scandinavian country.  I tried to imagine what their new lives, what opportunities the children would receive, what their new homes would look like.  I remember this man's daughter, who I met during her visit to Thailand from France.  She had cried and cried to me, calling her father a hero, and expressing her fear that he would die in Thailand without a home.   
  • In one month, Ethan and I will be married and in Turkey.  I find it hilarious (and super annoying) that I, who have lived in and gravitated towards some variation of white, eyelet, cotton, lace dresses (as everyday wear), cannot now settle on one dress for my wedding day.  I've discovered that I'm just not a bridal gown kind of bride.  I've ordered a few things, which will arrive this week.  I hope they work out. I keep telling myself that the dress is not what matters. But, Filipino relatives are known to scrutinize like mad. And I'm not completely impervious to that pressure.  
  • Yesterday, Ethan and I received a very generous gift in the mail, which has largely paid for our upcoming honeymoon. I was floored by the kind act, washed over by this overwhelming feeling of gratitude. We're simple travelers at heart, but I think we may try one of the fancy hotels on the Bosphorus as a treat.   
  • Tonight, Ethan and I are going to chaperone the 9th grade class prom.  It's my excuse to wear my new Mayle dress and red lipstick.
  • I received a call from my sister this week.  My mom had fallen, hit her head and broken her clavicle.  I'm relieved she's okay, but I'm starting to develop a fearful reaction to phone calls received in the night.  This year, I've received too much bad news that way.
  •  For lunch, I'm going to saute the pancetta I bought at the Italian market, with onion, garlic, tomato, and kale.  I wish I had chickpeas...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fancy hash

In Thailand, I had one colleague who had recently moved back to Bangkok from Geneva, and she loved everything Swiss.  I recall one meal we had: rösti (potato cakes), salmon, a dollop of some delicious cream -crème fraiche, maybe?

I woke up this morning craving those fancy hash browns, so I set myself to grating, adding some sweet potato to the mix, and buttering the pan, though I've been told I should be using goose fat, unfortunately not an everyday staple in my fridge.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Harpers Ferry

via NPS

Ethan's parents are in town, making them our second batch of visitors since we've moved to DC.  To get away from the city, we took a short train ride to Harpers Ferry this weekend.  We took a walk along the Appalachian Trail.  I saw fireflies for the first time in my life.  I am such an urban child.
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